This letter send from Afghanistan touched me and I want to share it. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community is a community that is tighter than most. What I find surprising is the reach of the community. Also if you have friends who train and are currently serving or about to be deployed let them know that training is available.
Hello from Afghanistan....
I just read your words in BJJ Legends about the New Year’s Eve rape. From here in Afghanistan, I hadn't heard about it at all, and to be honest, I'm not very plugged into the BJJ community yet anyway. But I have to say.... I'm crushed. I guess I'm not so naïve that I think there are no douchebags in BJJ. But it still sucks soo bad what happened. And esp by people in the BJJ family. I read that it's similar to getting caught in a choke. I have no real fear of it when I get caught up and choked, because I totally trust my opponent to release me when I tap. I trust my BJJ family.
Over here, we're nothing special. All of us at the very beginning of our journey. But trusting each other in a choke or armbar etc, has brought us closer as a small family here.
The trust feeds the family feeling, and the family feeling feeds the trust. And because of that I think maybe we grow in our BJJ better. Let alone the violence & mental anguish of the act, I can't imagine the absolute betrayal this poor woman must have felt (still feels) from her BJJ family. the confusion, the shock, the betrayal. It just turns my stomach to think about it.... It's all just sad & disgusting.
Patrick Whelan Born & raised in St Louis, MO 1 of 4 kids, rowdied around a lot. Played lots of diff sports growing up. Joined the Coast Guard at 17, while still in high school. Joined the Air Force active after high school and worked in Electronic Warfare. Retired from the Air Force reserves after 23 years as Master Sergeant. Did Volunteer Fire & Rescue for 10 years. When stateside, white belt under Prof Marcelo Alonso at a center in Fife, WA. Now working as civilian advisor to the Afghan army on tech issues. Been deployed to Afghanistan for over past 3 years. Open FaceBook group Jiu-Jitsu Afghanistan.
Opportunities always have a way of creating an open avenue in acquiring personal attainments geared toward an individual's growth. Traveling down his own path of fulfillment Mitchell Bruner’s involvement in grappling and the military has presented him with his own share of countless blessings and adventure throughout his career journey.
A Texas-bred from Ft. Worth Bruner’s love for sports would originate from his takeoff as a High School wrestler. Wrestling the entire four year term Mitchell’s competitive drive flourished greatly as he would snatch his own share of awards and accolades grinding it out on the mats. This drive evidently would later prove to be a great asset in Bruner’s next life chapter heading into adulthood.
Upon graduation steered on a new course Mitchell was in hunt for sustaining a bright future for himself. Later obtaining his wishes with his ultimate pledge in joining the U.S Army the move further solidified the Texas Native’s seriousness for reaching his goals.
Whether it is facing a tough opponent, learning a new move, or struggling with our progression it is a common occurrence as martial artists that we are faced with difficult challenges. However, it is how we stand in the face of adversity, which displays the content of a true person’s determination to overcome obstacle.
When looking at an individual like Anthony Sanza only one word comes to mind, FEARLESS. A disabled Iraq war vet, former MMA fighter, father and husband; from his early health problems as a youth to his challenges he has face as a martial artist and in the military, to his unfortunate current battle with stage four cancer. Sanza is an individual that laughs in the face of danger and tackles any problem head on striking it down with a heavy knockout blow.