Fighter Series: Who is Brian Kemsley?

Who is Brian Kemsley?

On November 9th, 2020, Brian Kemsley was hanging out with his girlfriend in Madison Square Park, New York.  Brian hears yelling and screaming in the near distance, so he gets up from the bench and walks over to see what was happening.


When he arrived at the scene of commotion, Brian saw a man trying to take a mother’s baby from her stroller.  While the mother defended her child, the man continued his attempts.

Despite a gathered crowd’s efforts to stop him, the man would not stop.  He became increasingly aggressive and threatened to knock her out.


Up until this point, Brian was scanning the environment to understand the situation.  He realized that the situation was escalating and quickly taking a violent turn.  This is when Brian Kemsley decided to take action.


Brian walked around the man and put him in a rear naked choke, with the intention of bringing him to the ground - not to choke him unconscious.  This was evident because as soon as both men hit the ground, Brian sunk in both hooks with his legs, above the man’s hips, and transitioned his arms to a seatbelt grip.  From a bystander’s view, both men were on the ground; Brian was behind the man with one of his arms over the man’s shoulder, the other under the man’s armpit, and had his hands connected in front of the man’s chest, crossing his legs above the man’s hips to prevent any chance of escape.  Brian said in an interview that he wanted “to keep him [the man] restrained, keep myself safe, keep the crowd safe, and also [keep] him away from the mom and the baby.”  By taking the man to the ground, he allowed the woman to safely leave the scene with her baby.


The crowd grew bigger as time went on.  When people would join the crowd to see what was happening, bystanders would tell them what had unfolded: the man tried to take a woman’s baby.  As a result, the growing crowd would get angrier and start to antagonize the man for his actions.  This only provoked the man, causing him to fight back and attempt to break free.  Controlling the man who was attempting to wrestle himself free took energy, which does not last forever.  As he felt his left leg starting to go numb, Brian knew that he could not hold on forever, so he asked the crowd to call police, to which they replied that they already had.  After controlling the man on the ground for 18 minutes, police arrived and took the man away in an ambulance.  He was later evaluated and determined to be unable to care for himself.


Mandy, Brian’s girlfriend, has said in an interview that “this is not out of character for him.  There have been instances where we’ve been traveling together or we’ve seen a bar fight, where he would step up to help somebody in need.”  


Upon entering a dispute that was taking a violent turn, Brian handled the situation in a fairly non-violent manner, reducing the potential damage to all parties involved.  He said, “I think in situations like this, if there is a way to end it non violently, we should all try and go that route. That's why training is so important. Anyone can throw their fists, but there is something very technical about being able to subdue someone without causing physical harm.”  The actions Brian Kemsley took that day serve as great examples of what martial arts training and compassion look like when properly applied and how humble and selfless he is as a person.

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