If we're only living the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle during the time we are on the mat, then that might amount to about 10% of our weekly routine, but if we take the lessons from that 10% and apply it towards the other 90% of our life… WOW! Now we've found a way to embrace that Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle. -- Eliot Kelly
Community Service is a powerful tool used to improve the quality of living in society. No matter how big or small the service it’s contributable efforts play a major role in raising awareness for taking a selfless action in making the world a better place to live and play. The principles emphasized in martial arts are one in the same as the endless passing of knowledge from one’s experience supplies the recipient a positive outlet to enhancing their lives. BJJ black belt Eliot Kelly success as a competitor and personal growth showcases the results that Martial arts produce. Giving back Kelly has taken part in various community service outreaches with a fusion of martial arts doing his part in uncovering a solution to a problem.
BJJ Legends got the opportunity to speak with Kelly has he touches on the influence community service has played in the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu community.
When you think of community service & Martial Arts what comes to mind?
Kelly: In my opinion, most martial arts have an element of community service built into their practice. The core of martial arts is about development and growth. Conceptually, martial art is about facing the challenges we have to better ourselves and the people around us in the dojo,and applying the lessons from those challenges into our daily life off the mat. I feel the spirit of martial arts is about leading the person in front of you to a better, stronger place, and as a result of that you become better and stronger. I see community service as just that. Facing a challenge to better the people around you andhelp them grow. The result is in a better community for everyone!
How is the focus on community service used in the BJJ community?
Kelly: I think Jiu-Jitsu has an excellent reputation for including community service in their practices, and I don't think this is a coincidence. The act of training makes us humble, helps us express humility and gratitude for where we are in life. As a result the Jiu-Jitsu community gravitates towards finding ways to better the people around them through service. When people talk about living the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle, I think community service is a key component.My Professor, Marcos Torregrosa, for example goes all over to teach seminars, but he will also teach a community service like seminar to raise money for a good cause and bring awareness towards certain topics. I recently attended a roll-a-thon even in Rocklin at Professor Gustavo’s Infinite Jiu Jitsu Academy where they raised awareness and funds for Autism. Professor Claudio Franca hosts a food drive seminar every year in the fall to help feed the hungry and the price for the seminar is "food." All these Jiu-Jitsu related community service events are great examples of the BJJ community getting together to collaborate, contribute, and enrich those around them.
Being a very active competitor alongside your duties as an Instructor, what inspired you to take that role of becoming a charitable contributor to society off the mat?
Kelly: I'm still just striving to become a successful competitor and instructor... But through that process I've come to realize that the general public doesn't really understand Jiu-Jitsu and the unassuming power of Jiu-Jitsu. Jiu-Jitsu is not just a sport, it's not just a martial art, and many people refer to Jiu-Jitsu as being a lifestyle. My inspiration began with the desire to better understand and better communicate to the general public, and those involved in Jiu-Jitsu, about the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle we talk about but don't necessarily define. After lots of blogging, thinking, and talking, I feel the lifestyle we refer to isn't just about the training, but applying our training into other areas off the mat. Sam Calavitta, Gary Merlo, Tom Callos, Chad Robichaux, Marcos Torregrosa, and Adisa Banjoku are people that have helped me better understand this idea in application.The Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle begins with stepping on the mat and challenging yourself and the people around you to become better. When we take those lessons from challenging ourselves on the mat and apply them into other areas of our life off the mat, then we begin to live the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle.
If we're only living the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle during the time we are on the mat, then that might amount to about 10% of our weekly routine, but if we take the lessons from that 10% and apply it towards the other 90% of our life… WOW! Now we've found a way to embrace that Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle. Many of those lessons are basic things Jiu-Jitsu people might take for granted, patience, tranquility, humility, gratitude, communication, strategy, creativity… I could keep going! ;)
What are some community service projects you've participated in ?
Kelly: We try to host a community service related event atour school in El Dorado Hills, California every month, a self-defense workshop, anti-bullying workshop, law enforcement workshop for people to get on the mat to better understand the potential of Jiu-Jitsu. Every year I go to the local high school in El Dorado Hills to help the P.E. teachers teach their combative lesson to their freshmen class. These are events that help bring people off the mat on the mat.
Professor Chad Robichaux of Gracie Barra formed the Mighty Oaks Warrior Program, a program to help combat veterans adjust back to life stateside.Through his own experiences in marital arts, Chad and his wife Cathy have structured an incredible program to serve veterans with PTSD and Physical Trauma.
Last year students in El Dorado Hills hosted a 24 hour roll-a-thon event to contribute funding and awareness towards prostate cancer and the Might Oaks Warrior Program. This was a huge project for them to schedule, organize, network, and implement. A great example of taking the lessons and challenges from training and applying to other areas off the mat.I've been really lucky to have partnered with a few very dedicated members of the community that have helped set up scholarship opportunities at our school. In designing our scholarship program we’ve included a section on community service. Students on scholarship create their own project, on their own hours, and make it happen! In the future, I would like to be involved in creating a non-profit organization that incorporates the power of Jiu-Jitsu and community service in educating our community.
Can you talk a little more about this?
Kelly: I'm thinking a 501c3 would be needed to get things going, but the idea is to create a community outreach program for people who are already involved in Jiu-Jitsu to educate others on the idea of self-defense and get others involved in Jiu-Jitsu. I might be getting repetitive, but I think getting people to live and understand the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle is important. From the challenges on the mat, we are better able to challenge and contribute off the mat. We've thought of a few names and ideas to get things moving, but I don't want to share too much just yet. Maybe another interview in the future ;)
In your experience what have you gotten out Of your charitable deeds?
Kelly: A couple sandwiches.... LOL! Just kidding... I feel my experiences have helped me better understand the arts. Definitely the art of teaching and Jiu-Jitsu, but also the art of communication and the art of organizing events. Every time these things take place, I’m humbled by the power of people wanting to help. All these experiences help me have an attitude of gratitude.
Finally any advice for people looking does start up their own community service outreach through Martial Arts?
Kelly: Yes! Seek out Tom Callos and his organization called, The 100. The 100 is a gathering ground for those dedicated to developing the community through martial arts, and a catalyst to promote many types of community service based events. Tom was the catalyst for the Penn Foundation in Hilo, Hawaii, an outreach program for the youth in the area. Another example is the "Alabama Buildvention." Where martial artists gather from all over the world to fully fund and build a home for the less fortunate. We've only done some fundraising for this community service project, but I would like to attend one of thesedays... Another great person to seek advice from is Adisa Banjoku of the Hip-hop Chess Federation. I had the opportunity to participate in a collaborative event with the HHCF and the KO Finisher down in Anaheim earlier this year, and can't say enough great things about their organization and integration, application, and communication of the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle with hip hop and chess. Most importantly, get moving! Just like Jiu-Jitsu, the best way to get started with jiu-jitsu is to get moving. We might fail at first, and many times after that, but keep moving, listen to your coach, and surround yourself with like-minded people that will embrace that Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle.
Any final thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Through the gofundme site the BJJ community raised roughly $10k from 134 donors in a week and another $10k + from the other 4 fundraisers. Thank you to everyone who helped organize, who participated, who rolled, who donated and who helped spread the word.
Joe Camacho will be laid to rest Friday Dec 27th, 2013. Forrest Lawn Memorial Parks & Mortuary Covina Hills 21300 Via Verde Dr. Covina Ca. 91724
Viewing is from 9:30 am to 12:00 noon. Followed by the service 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. They anticipate a lot of people and there is limited seating so please plan accordingly.
For those who cannot attend, you can view the service online. http://webcast.funeralrecording.com/events/viewer/5092 Memorial ID: 5092 Password: (Leave Blank)
The reception will be held at Stevens Steakhouse following the funeral from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. Steven's Steakhouse 5332 Stevens Place Commerce Ca. 323-723-9856
Any questions or support, please contact Forest Lawn at 801-528-3488
This article provided by our guest writer Tyy Withrow. Tyy runs his own blog called BJJ Paperweight. We look forward to working with Tyy more, be sure to keep your eyes out for some more articles by him! Welcome aboard Tyy!!!
It’s been a couple of crazy weeks for me and I’m finally able to sit down and talk about a seminar I was able to help out with. The “Give the Gift of a Gi – BJJ Seminars for Kids” kick-off seminar was a huge success. It was held on October 26th at Foster Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Kent, Washington. Quite a few Black Belts shared their expertise; Kris Shaw, Cindy Hales, Michelle Wagner, James Foster, and Jean Freitas. There were three different seminars for three different age groups. With this grouping model each seminar ended up being the perfect size. In total there were about 55-60 kids, which is a great turn out. Of those kids, I would guess about 10 had never tried Jiu-Jitsu including my two little nephews. The seminar they attended was their first day of Jiu-Jitsu. I credit the quality of the seminar with the fact that they both enrolled to train the next week. Yes, I’m a proud uncle.
What is the Black Friday Grapplethon? This part is pretty easy. On Nov. 29th (Black Friday) there will be a 12 hour open mat in Granite City, IL (minutes from downtown St Louis) at Finney’s HIT Squad. During this open mat will are committed to having at least two people rolling from 8am to 8pm. The event will have free food and drinks for the participants and EVERYONE is welcome. We’ll have gi and nogi grapplers, kids to seniors and every skill level will be represented.
Black Friday Grapplethon is raising funds to support to Tap Cancer Out (http://www.tapcancerout.org), a jiu-jitsu based 501(c)(3) nonprofit raising awareness and funds for cancer fighting organizations on behalf of the grappling community. Tap Cancer Out is currently raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. All monetary donations thru the fundraising page will be accompanied by a receipt and are tax deductible.
In 2011, a friend of mine in Canada mentioned she was planning to join a twenty four hour ‘Grapple-A-Thon’ at Martial Arts Planet in Kingston, Ontario. The basic premise was that at least two people spar over a twenty-four hour period, with the option of also fundraising for their chosen charity. Fortunately for those of us thousands of miles away, the organisers were going to set up a live stream from the gym, meaning I could watch the action from my laptop in England.
Liz Sussan, Da Firma Kimono Company, NHB Gear, & Ingenuitek have come together to design this woven patch to represent the BJJ community being UNITED against rape and abuse.
The large size is 11"x4" and is $12 and the small size is 6"x3" and is $10. Since February, over $1,000 in proceeds from the patches has been donated to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. We've been asked by the survivor of the NYE assault to donate proceeds to the Network for Victim Recovery of DC (www.nvrdc.org) because that organization has assisted her since January with all of her needs. So we are now directing a large portion of proceeds from the patches to NVRDC. We estimate that at least 80% from each patch purchase price will be donated to NVRDC or RAINN for their wonderful survivor support and community awareness work.
Let's show how we're UNITED against rape and abuse by wearing these patches on our Gis!
Huge shout out to Da Firma Kimono Company, NHB Gear, & Ingenuitek for the production and their donation to the cause! They continue to amaze with their kindness and generosity!
LUTA is a unique fight wear company that focuses not only on innovative product design but also on their strong sense of social awareness and responsibility. As a company they share 50% of their profits with Fight for Peace International, an international organization that opens and runs academies combining boxing, martial arts as well as educational and personal development programs. The academies are in areas of the world where there are few opportunities for young people that don’t involve crime and violence. For this review LUTA sent their two most popular products: the MMA Performance rash guard and MMA fight shorts as well as their newest innovation the Laser Tech rash guard. My first introduction to LUTA was at BJJHQ when the MMA Performance rash guard was posted and promptly sold out. Luta offers rashguards, fight shorts, boxing training gear, and clothing.
From the LUTA website: Born in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Luta is a new fightwear and lifestyle clothing brand that brings together real fight performance, favela street style and a genuine social mission.
LUTA, Portuguese for fight, was founded for three reasons: 1st - There was a need for really advanced performance fightwear and trainingwear. 2nd - I wanted to pay homage to the positive energy in the favelas and the strength I’d witnessed training young champions there since 2000. 3rd - I wanted to support those young champions in communities that suffer from crime and violence, by providing Fight for Peace with a profit share in the company. Luke Dowdney
One last thing before the review. To celebrate LUTA's new US Website we've gotten a 25% off coupon code good for all purchases from the US shop! The code is: BJJVIP and will be valid until December 19th, 2012.
Exploring the competitive climate of Brazilian jiu-jitsu you will uncover that there are many athletes who are consumed with the ambition of becoming the best in the world. While most have found success from victories and medals obtained in competition some individuals have reached similar feats through their work outside the gym. Team Quest BJJ blue belt Jeff Larsen may appear to be your typical Jiu-Jitsu practitioner partaking in the sport. However outside of the Gi is a person that is documented for his noble deeds to helping those in need in his community and around the world.
Trials and tribulations always have a way of shaping a person's direction in life for better or worse. Raised in a broken home alongside his sister with his parents separated Larsen had to deal with the heavy load of having instability in the home. Growing up was not a task for Larsen. Nevertheless through the darkness would shine a glimmer of light which found Jeff channeling his pain through his participation in sports. Whether it was basketball, wrestling, or a successful run as a high school football player his involvement unquestionably instilled a positive effect in his life which miraculously also brought his family together in support of his work.
Sponsored by www.martialartsrecovery.com Crossfit Instructor Kevin Malahy of Crossfit Native and BJJ Blue Belt Lovato will be involved a great fundraiser at Fight Gone Bad 6 for a great cause.
The Challenge : On September 17, 2011, CrossFitters from around the world will come together to endure 17 minutes of one of our most grueling workouts in honor of those men and women who have given a lifetime of service and sacrifice. For 17 minutes, we will push ourselves further, challenge ourselves deeper, feel the doubt and wonder if we can make it, but then remember why we are there and appreciate fully those who we wish to honor. We turn to you, our community of friends and family, to join us by donating what you can or what you are inspired to give to two phenomenal organizations that provide immediate and measurable support without waste or delay.
The heart of an athlete can change the game. The soul of an athlete can change the world.
Reason For the Cause: To support all my family, friends, and their families in their sacrifices to keep us safe and free!
Sunday, April 17th, we raised $3000 which is a lot. Great event! Rigan and John Machado were there. There should be a bunch of pictures online of the event.
Kids Kicking Cancer is a charity that teaches Children dealing with Cancer treatments how to deal with the pain through meditation. We also teach them martial arts to help releive thier stress and build them self-esteem. www.powerpeacepurpose.com is the website that will give you info on the charity.