Obstacles and Hurdles are common challenges every practitioner has to encounter being involved in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. While some of these problems appear difficult to overcome it is how an individual stands in the face of adversity that reveals their strength and character through it all. Since the dark day of June 29 2011 Frank Edge has been in a long constant battle against his diagnosed condition with Cancer. More bad has come out good during these trying times but through it all Edge has remained strong which has received a lot of attention and support in the fight community which Frank was open to touch on in this in-depth interview with us at BJJ Legends.
BJJ Legends: For those that are not aware of your condition could you describe the type of cancer you are diagnosed with?
Frank Edge: I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer. I was told I had stage IIIC and it was a rare mixed germ cell.
BJJ Legends: To your remembrance is there any explanation as to how you came down with this disease?
Frank Edge: No there was no explanation however Doctor’s asked two questions and that was did cancer run in my family and did I have an undescended testicle as a child. There was no cancer in my family to my knowledge however many in the family seem to remember me having an undescended testicle however it was never documented.
In essence Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial arts system that contains a vast supply of knowledge for a practitioner to learn from. Its influence is unparalleled as the lessons acquired during one's time on the mat are directly transferable to life outside the dojo and competition arena.
Correlating two very diverse professions Ryan Beauregard’s personas as a BJJ martial artist and EMT has created a unique transferable lifestyle that's provided major assistance in both career sectors.
Like so many individuals have testified without question, “Jiu-jitsu Changes Lives” and Beauregard's involvement in it is no exception. Starting his training in 2005, Ryan Beauregard was just another figure making his rise through the competition scene while also using BJJ as a vehicle in his personal growth. The journey to betterment would reach a major pinnacle in 2008 as Beauregard’s years of dedication would allow him to reach a feat unheard of for an American jiu-jitsu practitioner during that time period by winning the BJJ World Championship as a brown belt.
Beauregard would continue to flourish, obtaining his black belt in 2010 from long time instructor Demetrius Ramos going on later to build his own legion of grapplers with the running of his own academy Team Beauregard Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. To say the least Brazilian Jiu-jitsu has made a profound impact on Ryan's life.
There is a wide range of personalities you will come across being involved in martial arts. Some individuals leave a bad taste in your mouth raising awareness of ignorance that festers in our community, while others will leave an everlasting impression of the positive people enriching our art and the world today.
Not too long ago I got the opportunity to meet an extraordinary group of individuals who take acts of kindness to a whole another level. Taking a break from Southern California I decided to pack my bags and venture to Denver, Colorado. In an effort to make the best of my experience I decided to compete at a tournament there while also hoping to get some great training at an academy.
Known for its outdoor activities and the famous gold rush Colorado is also known for having some great BJJ teams one of which happens to be the Relson Gracie Jiu-jitsu Academy Colorado run by head Instructor Steve Hordinski.
It wasn’t that long ago when a new fightwear company burst onto the martial arts market scene placing itself in the endless superhuman race to demonstrate its strength to service the BJJ community with their products.
Soaring high off the successful release of its debut kimono The Assassin, Jotunn Fightwear’s phenomenal introduction has already established themselves as a rising standout company looking in constructing its own lane toward greatness.
Picking up where they left off from the stealth like approach they formulated with The Assassin Gi model, the second edition to the kimono series “The Samurai “ offers not only a clean look for the serious jiu-jitsu athlete but also displays Jotunn’s daring in being innovative, versatile, and different with the creation of all its products.
Taking the gi out of the artistically designed Netted bag you will notice clearly that the Jotunn Samurai kimono goes in a totally different direction than the crystal-weave classic-like concept the Assassin gi offered customers.
The past 3 weeks has been a rocky moment for the BJJ community. From rape allegations to ethic/moral beliefs it clear that this is a sad and intriguing moment for everyone involved in BJJ. Emotions have definitely erupted over the past weeks causing a serious separation in two classes almost like a religious war –lol- which pits the proud 97%ers against the almighty 3%ers.
For those that don’t know what these #’s mean let me give you a brief synopsis. (don’t worry I will be unbiased)
3%er- is one that strives to reach his highest potential at all cost. In our world it is those competitors who aspire to be world champions with no other obligations but toward himself and his ascension in the ranks.
97%er- a person who isn’t concerned with glory or gold medals but more centered toward personal growth. They carry a strong since of “martial art values” which upholds the standards of those who love the martial arts, and train to build strong Character, for Sport and to develop skill and awareness for Self-defense.
Every fighter that has ever graced the mat carries with them a primary philosophy that guides them along their endless journey. With only two years of participation in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Clark Gracie Blue belt Harryson Franz has already developed a set of principles which has benefited not only his athletic pursuits but also his life outside the gym.
With eight years of prior Kickboxing experience to his cred Franz’s transition to the art of grappling offered the young prospect a new exploration of growth in his quest to becoming a better fighter.
“After 7-8 years of training I became increasingly interested in competing in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts," Harryson told BJJ Legends. “My coaches at the time, while fully supportive and confident in me if the fight stayed standing, knew that I'd need to have some kind of ground game to be truly ready to compete. So I left kick-boxing when I was 19 to focus specifically on Jiu-Jitsu and ended up falling in love with the sport.”
It wouldn’t be long before this passion for his new found hobby would supply Franz with the essential components necessary for improving many areas of his life. Through the various scenarios he has come across each event has given Harryson a clearer perception of what this sport’s original intention was for its participants.
“You have to understand that Jiu-Jitsu is more than just a sport or a self-defense system. There's a lot more to it than just learning different techniques on the mat and winning medals in competition. What Jiu-Jitsu really is at the end of the day, is a vehicle to better your life in every single aspect.”
When it comes to analyzing the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu it all comes down to expansion. Without it there would never be growth in making the sport better. Fortunately for us there is a massive wave of talented grappling practitioners brining their own flavor to the melting pot which not only helps with the evolution of jiu-jitsu but also instills a positive influence in other grappling hopeful's progression.
Entering into the mind of Rodrigo Pagani one will embark on an exploration filled with a vast wealth of knowledge from one of the best around. As a part of the first league of Ribeiro black belts, Pagani's victories at high prestigious tournaments like Worlds and Brazilian nationals is a testament to his talent and devotion to his craft which explains his progressive rise from his humble days as a white belt to the elite black belt level.
Hailing from Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Pagani began his journey at the age of 16 in 1992. Originally geared towards fitness and the self-defense aspects his participation introduced him to a new sector of education of this mythical art form. Competing under the Gracie Humita banner Pagani's confidence began to skyrocket in his mission of becoming one of the best martial artists around.
I first started in jiu-jitsu back in September of 1992, when I was 16 years old and I’ve never stopped training. I was very skinny by that time so I thought it would be a nice way to exercise my body and learn some self-defense to become a little more confident.
Always staying hungry his dedication and passion is unparalleled. In an effort to further his progression Rodrigo would soon leave his home country which travels would take him to the United States to train with the Legendary Rickson Gracie where he would get first hand tutelage of the true essence of BJJ.
The No-Gi Worlds is just around the corner and looks to be shaping to be a great event filled with many talented competitors. Apart of this fray looking to come out on top that day is two tough competitors who need some assistance with the funding of their trip.
Fight team representatives of BJJ Black Belt Jarrod Clontz Matt Larsen's Combat Fitness/ American Fight Company Eddie Wittern and Dennis Radonvich are amongst the many dedicated athletes making the trip out here to California to accomplish their dreams of being a world Champion. Aside from them being very successful competitors in the Texas grappling circuit they are also members of the United State Army.
SPC Eddie Wittern and LT Dennis Radonvich are both Iraq and Afghanistan combat vets, and are a part of the Wounded Warrior Program here at Ft Hood. They are also my Jiu-jitsu students. They have used Combatives and Jiu-jitsu to improve their selves. Both BJJ blue belts, Eddie is also a 4 degree black belt in Judo, and Dennis Wrestled at OSU. These guys fought for our country and deserve some type of gratitude for their services.
Spending an abundance amount of time practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu comes with its share of many hurdles throughout the journey. One of the biggest opponents athletes must contend with is a faction of skin diseases consisting of Staph, Ring Worm, and Impetigo that are sure to cause serious damage to those that come in contact with it.
Aspiring to provide a strong defense to this dilemma is the Athletic Natural Care product known as “GI Soap”. Taking his tragic experience of dealing with the issue creator Marcel Oliveira envisioned a product for helping out the grappling community.
“All products are made in small quantities so that we are sure that you will get the highest quality product without having to reach too deep into your pockets,“ Oliveira said. "We want to give back to the community and help out where we can, as well as helping our athletes progress.”
The products come in the form of a 5oz Soap Bar and 8 oz Body Wash all created with mixing ingredients of tea trea oils, Olive oils, Coconuts oils and other elements to form an all-natural product capable keeping one healthy and most importantly staying in consistent action on the mat.
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.