Chicago jiu-jitsu instructor's 'instincts kicked in' when he took down 7-Eleven theft, battery suspect

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A Chicago jiu-jitsu instructor successfully detained a theft suspect during a scuffle in a convenience store last week. 

Idriz Redzovic, owner of Supreme Academy of Jiu-Jitsu in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, put his unique skills to use on June 16, when Christopher Cruz, 30, allegedly walked into a 7-Eleven on West Lawrence Avenue stole food from off a shelf, and left briefly before walking back inside and punching a 19-year-old store employee. 

"My instincts kicked in," Redzovic, a third-degree Gracie jiu-jitsu black belt, told Fox News Digital. "I just grabbed him and … took him to the ground, flattened him out like a pancake, and then I started to put him in a … jiu-jitsu hold in a position called gift wrap I'm twisting arm control."

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Redzovic was buying slushies for his six children at the 7-Eleven when the incident unfolded. Security footage and a Facebook live stream of the incident show Redzovic taking Cruz down and holding him in a secure headlock without hurting the suspect.

The instructor emphasized that he "did not hurt" Cruz because the "whole position" he pinned him in "is controlled."

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"Jiu-jitsu is such a beautiful art that I don't have to apply pressure. I could read a temperature gauge, right? If I had to hit him, I would hit him. … I could have easily escalated … into a chokehold, into an armbar, into another situation. But I had it under control."

Redzovic learned the practice while growing up in Chicago. Learning jiu-jitsu kept him out of trouble and prepared him for crime incidents like the one involving Cruz. He mentioned a previous incident in which he had to use his skills to stop a juvenile from stealing his vehicle.

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"I grew up in the streets of Chicago … and my mom [was] working two jobs since I lost my father. I've been in a lot of like street fights," he explained. "I was able to learn juju itsu. Before, I didn't know how to fight. … My mom didn't get home until 12. I was an 11-year-old kid, you know?"

Idriz Redzovic has 22 years of training and owns the Supreme Academy of Jiu-Jitsu in Lincoln Park.

Idriz Redzovic has 22 years of training and owns the Supreme Academy of Jiu-Jitsu in Lincoln Park. (FOX32 Chicago WFLD)

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Martial arts taught him that "you can fight without hurting somebody," he added.

The Chicago Police Department confirmed the June 16 incident to Fox News Digital. Cruz was placed into custody after Redzovic detained him at the 7-Eleven and charged with two misdemeanor counts, including one battery charge and one retail theft charge under $300. He has since been released. 

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