Getting to the root of the problem seems to be the headline crusade which touches on the year in review for our martial arts community in 2013. Negativity has without question surfaced rapidly in the BJJ and MMA community and has brought everyone to a standstill, pondering the burning question “Where Did We Go Wrong?”
Promoting its campaign against the ongoing corruption “Mixed Martial World" demonstrates the marksmanship in raising awareness of the many moral values that the core of martial arts stem from.
In this exclusive interview BJJ Legends sits down with co-founders Bret Perchaluk and Jessica Leigh as they share with us their mission with the organization in Bringing Mixed Martial Arts back to its roots.
First off, let's start with how you both got into Jiu-Jitsu and your training backgrounds?
Bret: I got into BJJ when I was wrestling in HS. I found a gym near my house and I went to check it out thinking they were teaching wrestling, but in reality they were grappling and I fell in love with it and haven’t stopped training. Since then I have trained with, trained, and competed against some of the best fighters in the world. I’ve done tons of other martial arts as well; I’m a Judo Black Belt, Japanese Ju Jitsu Black Belt and a Brown Belt in BJJ under Master Roberto Traven, I’ve studied JKD, Krav Maga, and did Kung Fu when I was a kid. I also boxed and Wrestled through College where I was on the Rider University Division I nationally ranked wrestling team. I am also a Senior Defensive Tactics Instructor for the government and work with and teach special operations personnel.
Jessica: First I will start by saying I’ve been in love with martial arts for a long time. I started out working as a ring girl at local promotions in the NJ/NYC/PA area and fell in love with the art that I was watching. The truth is, I was always fascinated when fights went to the ground and couldn't understand why people would boo. All I saw was the beautifully executed techniques in the art of BJJ. I got more involved in the sport by working for top MMA apparel companies, helping handle some of their marketing and learning more of the sport from that angle, but I still didn't have the guts to actually try it for myself. That all changed when I met Bret. I would go to all of Bret's competitions and practices and just watch in awe. Bret saw my love for martial arts, as well as the reality that this isn't a safe world anymore and the need to know self-defense is extremely important and so he encouraged me to start training. I love practicing BJJ and getting to try and surprise Bret with sweeps around the house.
Bret Perchaluk was born in 1984, He stands 5'7 and fights at 165lbs. He started his path in martial arts when he was 6 years old. His mom enrolled him in Kung Fu classes 3 times a week. From there he wrestled in high school and went on to wrestle Division 1 varsity at Rider University in New Jersey. He received his Judo black belt January 2012 from Rodrigo Artilheiro, who is a coach on TUF Brazil, and Judo/MMA coach at Xtreme Cotoure out in Las Vegas. He got his belt issued by USA Judo thanks to Olympic Legend and Coach of the 2012 Olympic Team, Jimmy Pedro. In 2012, he placed 3rd at the IBJJF NoGi Pans. He also has MMA experience.
He still remembers when he saw the first UFC with Royce Gracie in 1993. He thought that learning Jiu-Jitsu would be good for self-defense and a fun new sport to compete in. In 2001, he enrolled at the progressive fighting systems academy. Currently, he's back at a Traven gym, Combat Sports Center, training under David Oliviera. Bret received his brown belt June 9th 2012 after competed at the Mundials in California as a purple belt. “David and Traven gave me my Brown belt, and it was a huge honor and something I had worked hard towards.”
Bret can’t really say what he does for the government, just that he’s done it for a while now. He teaches and works in the field. Says Bret, “I have been all over the world for work and not to anywhere nice yet. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed for them to send me to Brazil.”