Roman Rodriguez grew up learning how to protect himself, but he probably didn't expect he would need his martial arts skills after leaving class Monday.
According to Mass Live, when he left the martial arts studio, Rodriguez saw about eight teenagers surrounding a younger boy.
He knew exactly what was going on.
The boy, 11, who also has mental disabilities, was being bullied.
"When I saw the situation, it immediately bothered me. I saw he was crying," Rodriguez told the Web site.
"Everyone should be appreciated for who they are as a person, not made fun of," he added.
Rodriguez walked over to the other teenagers and told the main aggressor to leave the boy alone, hoping to avoid a fight.
"I told them I didn't want any trouble; I just wanted to walk him home," the 16-year-old said. "This, I guess, provoked him."
The instigator of the group, who was only 14 years old but much larger than Rodriguez, threw a punch.
Rodriguez's training kicked in. He knocked the teen down and restrained him.
The defense technique worked as hoped. The alleged bully ran from the scene with the others following close behind, threatening to stab or shoot Rodriguez on their way.
Rodriguez then went inside to tell his dad what happened, and when they walked back outside, the 14-year-old had returned to the scene.
The boy reportedly returned with a large kitchen knife and his mother by his side.
"I witnessed this kid's mother encourage her son to stab mine. She was instigating a fight," the father said. "My first reaction was to protect my son, but also to avoid any kind of tragedy."
Luckily, officers arrived within minutes.
The 14-year-old was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and his mother was charged with disorderly conduct.
Rodriguez's dad says his son simply did what he taught him to do.
"Just as I taught him, he defended someone who couldn't defend himself."
The 11-year-old boy Rodriguez saved later gave him a certificate of recognition to thank him.
*Mass Live contributed to this story.
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