Forgiveness and Healing from Emotional and Physical Scars – My Journey to become a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt

Healing from Emotional and Physical Scars - My Journey to become a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt

On Saturday, December 2, 2000 at NAGA, the North American Grappling Championships (a competitor of Grapplers Quest –, I was dangerously spiked on my back and neck from an illegal slam at the hands of Randy “The Savage” Rowe. I had a tight triangle locked on during the first round of the North American Grappling Championships hosted by Kipp Kollar in Danbury, Commecticut. I found out later from Randy Rowe himself that it was an orchestrated “hit” on me from competing promoters, Kipp Kollar and Jamie Levine.

The emotional processing of something of this magnitude was extraordinary to deal with. I couldn’t imagine the level of evil was possible in the world. Rather than suing the promoter and embarrassing the sport, I internalized the injury, pain and damage and began to campaign for tournament promoters worldwide to BAN SLAMMING. Even NAGA followed by banning slamming after we publicly disclosed all that occurred. I’m confident that the campaign saved lives and prevented unnecessary suffering. Accidents can happen, it’s a contact sport, but grappling isn’t a striking sport and slamming can be a violent strike, just watch Quinton Rampage Jackson vs. Ricardo Arona in Pride.

Sadly, during the slam at the conspired hands of Randy Rowe, my T-9 and T-10 were immediately crushed and nearly pulverized when the weight of both our bodies folded my spine in half. The neurological shock was overwhelming and it was the first time in my life that I was knocked unconscious.

During a deep meditation yesterday, I relived the moment when I was being taken away on a stretcher with Randy Rowe videotaping me laughing and
Creating a quasi-highlight tape from the incident.

I remembered the X-Ray technician at the Danbury Hospital in Connecticut asking me to slide from the stretcher to the X-Ray table – and I couldn’t move. I had a 2 minute experience of being fully paralyzed from the neck down. I panicked and asked the technician to help me.

That was a scary day – it was a long journey back to realize that I needed to emotionally heal from that old injury.

The subconscious fear of “getting hurt again” was released, because I finally faced the emotional repressed memory to it’s fullest, forgave my perceived adversaries and move on with my life.

I nearly lost faith in humanity, but I didn’t, I never will. We can never lose faith in humanity, because there is more LOVE in the world than EVIL. We cannot let acts of evil turn us evil or cause us more suffering in life. If we hold onto anger, resentment and emotional pain, as the Dalai Lama
Says, “it’s like throwing a hot coal at your enemy – it’s YOU holding the coal who gets burnt.”

Remember, compassion and understanding leads to forgiveness, forgiveness releases and heals emotional scars and you become free of the pain of the past.

I competed randomly at Grapplers Quest in 2011 just to challenge myself.

I started my true physical healing process back at Yoga nearly 3 years ago and rediscovered my deep love and need for meditation 2 years ago and NOW…I’m finally back training martial arts THIS week – it’s been a LONG road to recovery, but I’m finally ready to step back on the mats, confidently, ready to have my ego and fears smashed and subconscious mind retrained. I forgot how much I loved training and how important it was to my life after being injured. I internalized the injury and it became an emotional scar. Every day, in every way, I’m getting better. The BEST time of my life was when I was teaching, training and living the martial way. I’m back on the path…the tide has turned, I’m coming back HOME!

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