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.
How did mixedmartialworld.com come about?
Jessica: Mixed Martial World came about because we became disillusioned with the martial arts community. In the last year tons of negative acts have surfaced surrounding the BJJ and MMA community. We felt the need to steer the community back in the right direction and help weed out the negative characters within our community as best we could. So the idea for a site that would promote those people living the martial way and give recognition to positives was hatched.
Bret: We want to showcase the positive side of our community. We hope to let people in on the rare side of things; the things not many people know about, and steer far away from the grudge matching and drama of typical MMA news. The site also focuses on philanthropy, martial arts education, and wellness, because we feel those things are important. We hope to eventually become a true non-profit and help the world through martial arts.
How important is it to you that the site is owned and operated by people that actually train?
Jessica: We think it’s paramount to our success and the success of the site. We have a deeply meaningful mission with this site, and if we didn’t train and live the martial way, then we wouldn’t care enough to work so hard and see it through.
One struggle that we’ve had is finding balance. How do you balance the duties of training while also promoting your message?
Bret: Well we work real jobs, and train, and workout, and have a life, and still manage to keep the site up and running.
Jessica: It comes from the fact that we don’t see the site as a chore, it is part of our daily lives and we love it. It has gotten great review and success in its short life so far, even beating out some big name sites in popularity so were really happy about that. We just want to keep spreading a positive message and hope that the martial arts community helps us achieve our goal of righting the wrong in society, starting with our community and then the world as a whole.
Are there any topics or guests that you think the grappling community has failed to report on?
Jessica: Tons! That is why we have our site and try to bring those topics to you guys. We want to show the people and topics that never get much credit but should, or the people that get tons of credit but always have to give the same old interviews because the lack of depth of most interviews.
If you could choose one article from mixedmartialworld.com that exemplifies your mission statement, what would it be? Why?
Jessica: For sure the article we did with our good friends Andre Terencio and Hannette Staack about 021 and their charity efforts in the favelas in Brazil. This is exactly the message we are trying to get out there. The exemplification of charity through martial arts!
Bret: A close second would be our article on Bushido, which in essence is the way we try and live our lives and hope to inspire others to live as well. Loyalty, honor, honesty, respect, kindness, valor, and rectitude!
How can people help support the site?
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram, read our site regularly and support us by sharing our articles. If you have any opportunities to help us out and do some good then please contact us and let us know! And more media attention always helps! Also look out for our charity efforts like our patch sale coming up soon. We hope to get tons of people in the combat sports community wearing our patches on their Gis and fight shorts to show that we all want a better world through martial arts, and ALL the money we get from the patches will go directly to charity.
Any sponsors or people you’d like to thank?
We’d like to thank Zebra Mats, Sun Warrior, and Tatami Fighwear for helping us out. Also we’d like to thank Brian Jones our resident PhD professor strong man and everyone that has supported the sites development so far. Also special thanks to Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, and Splinter! And Chuck Norris, definitely Chuck Norris!