FBI returns to suspected hijacker's gym
By Susan Candiotti
DANIA , Florida (CNN) -- Two FBI agents returned Wednesday to a gymnasium near Hollywood, Florida, where one of the suspected hijackers worked out and learned street-fighting techniques from a personal trainer who used rubber knives and taught mental harmony.
US-1 Gym owner Bert Rodriguez told CNN the FBI was asking questions about Ziad Samir Jarrah.
The Justice Department has identified Jarrah as one of the suspected terrorists who commandeered United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania.
"He was kind of a Clark Kent," Rodriguez said. "I guess he tried to act the opposite of what he was. I feel betrayed."
The gym owner said Jarrah worked out there and hired him as a personal trainer.
Rodriguez said Jarrah paid about $1,000 to learn street-fighting and self-defense techniques during private lessons and paid another $200 to $300 to use the gym between May and August.
Rodriguez has a photograph of Jarrah as a gym member stored in his computer.
Jarrah was interested in how to fend off attackers using guns and knives, according to Rodriguez and another man who trained with Jarrah.
Jarrah lived in an apartment in Hollywood not far from the gym.
"It's a kick in the pants," said Rodriguez, "that he bastardized what I taught him."
Rodriguez said one of his employees told him that Jarrah was interested in being able to train with a plastic gun but added that training did not happen.
Rodriguez said he trained Jarrah how to handle attackers, by using rubber knives -- something Rodriguez commonly does in training law enforcement officers.
"I trained him how to take a gun away and how to take a knife away," the trainer said. "He was interested in close-quarters fighting."
Rodriguez said Jarrah told him he was German and that he was in the United States studying business and flying.
He said Jarrah was in good shape, did his homework and was always prepared for the next lesson.
Rodriguez said he also taught Jarrah about Buddhism. "I taught him mental harmony. He spent hours on that," he said.
FBI agents have been to other South Florida gyms where other suspected hijackers worked out.
FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela would not comment on any aspect of the ongoing investigation.
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