Armed robber Richard Nowling, 41, probably looked at his 63-year-old, 150lb mark and thought it was going to be easy.
But Fred Kemp was no pushover, in fact, he was a former wrestler and he wasn't going to be robbed without a fight.
He explained to the Sun Sentinel that he had just finished dinner at a restaurant near his Boynton Beach, FL home and was getting into his car when Nowling stuck a gun in his face.
Thinking of his wife's safety, he pushed the weapon away, but Nowling started to pistol whip him around the head.
He said: "He started to hit me, so I reacted from there. I got him out into the street and held his arm. I foot-sweeped him down and I was trying to get a hold of the gun. He banged me up a little bit but my main concern was the gun."
Pulling out more wrestling moves, Kemp maneuvered the suspect into a rear naked choke hold, or "sleeper hold," a popular submission technique in mixed martial arts.
When Nowling's oxygen began to run out, and he became weak, Julie Kemp, 53, grabbed the weapon —it turned out to be an authentic-looking pellet gun — and held it pointed it at him until police arrived, investigators said.
Kemp added: "He asked me to let him go when I had him down. I said, 'No, I'm not going to do that.'"
Kemp, a muscular 150 pounds started wrestling in high school before winning a scholarship to Hofstra University in Long Island, N.Y.
He coaches wrestling for the New York State Junior Olympic team and is a volunteer assistant wrestling coach at American University in Washington, D.C.
He said: "In retrospect, it's not a wise move, but it was my reflexes and I'm fairly comfortable in being able to handle myself. So I did what came natural. I'm happy that no one got hurt and a guy like that is off the street."
Nowling will now be charged with armed robbery.