Vienna fight club discovered by local police
You find plenty of fight videos on the internet. They are often spontaneous altercations between people who have a beef with each other.
But in Vienna, the fight which drew a big group of middle school spectators to a secluded parking area apparently was pre-planned by a fight club.
Police say on the afternoon of Jan. 13, they found a large group of 12- and 13-year-olds. The youths had gathered to watch two boys battle with each other.
“This was kind of a pre-planned thing and they refer to it as a fight club,” says Vienna police officer Bill Murray.
Vienna police broke up the fight and nabbed one of the boys involved. Investigators say the boy confessed to being a member of a fight club, the type which holds regular events.
At the American Fight Club in Vienna, they teach Brazilian Ju Jitsu, a self-defense method from Israel called Haganah Fight, and even how to defend yourself if a gun is pointed at your head.
"Mostly what we're doing is trying to teach people how to defend themselves on the street," said Bill Grinnell, American Fight Club Chief Instructor.
It's a far cry from the middle school fight club police say met behind the shopping center.
Grinnell says the big different between his fight club and what kids are doing on the street is safety.
It's a controlled environment with instructors, not so when kids are beating each other with no rules and no referees, he said. "There's a reason they have a referee. There's a reason there are padded mats."
"The other person may be hurt very badly and they don't know when to stop," said Steve Bashardost, part-owner of American Fight Club.
Vienna has its share of pricey homes and affluent residents. Some say they never would expect something like a fight club here, especially one which involves kids as young as 12.
“I would rather not have that around with kids wandering around,” says parent Beth Cooke.
Some people found it hard to believe 12-year-olds would create a fight club in Vienna. There are efforts already underway to end it.