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 – http://Grapplers.com), 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!

Classic Interview: Rorion Gracie Responds to Marc Laimon by Brian Cimins – September 2004

Rorion Gracie Interview by Brian Cimins, “The Gracies Respond to Marc Laimon”

Brian Cimins: Mr. Rorion Gracie, in less than 3 weeks, your son will participate in what many are calling the Grappling Superfight of the Year. How does it make you and your family feel to participate at the premier submission grappling event in America, Grapplers Quest on November 6th in Las Vegas? Any comments about Grapplers Quest events in general?

Rorion Gracie: Grapplers Quest has earned its reputation as one of the best no gi competions around and has done a lot to promote the grappling arts.

Brian Cimins: Is it true that your father, Helio Gracie will be attending this event? Will you and Helio be available for photos and autographs after the match?

Rorion Gracie: Yes, my father, Helio is attending Grapplers Quest. We always try to accomodate such requests.

Brian Cimins: How long has your son, Ryron been training for this match and what are you doing differently to prepare for Marc Laimon?

Rorion Gracie: Ryron has been doing his regular tournament routine.

Brian Cimins: What does competing against one of the best grapplers in America mean for you, your son and his career?

Rorion Gracie: If he thinks he is one of the best, he should agree to fight with no poins and no time limit. As for the significance of this fight in Ryron’s career, it it just another match.

Brian Cimins: Please comment on the following statement made by Marc Laimon, “I stopped training there (at the Torrance Academy) after I saw the Pan-Ams in 1996. I saw jiu-jitsu I never saw before, but I was told it was too advanced for me, by Rorion Gracie. It was also too advanced for his students who had been training for years. I personally felt he did not know this advanced jiu-jitsu, and saying it was “too advanced” was a cop out. So I stopped training there, and went out to find my own path and seek out what jiu-jitsu really was, and is becoming.”

Rorion Gracie: I never said to anyone that any jiu-jitsu “was too advanced,” that is a joke. I have discouraged our students from competing in regular BJJ tournaments because of its ridiculous rules. I still think that any competitor who relies on scoring points and then stalling until the time expires does so because he has no confidence in his possibilities. I guess we will find out soon enough how much Marc has learned since he went on his own path…

Brian Cimins: Does it concern you that Marc Laimon knows your style of Gracie Jiu Jitsu?

Rorion Gracie: Can you imagine if he didn’t?

Brian Cimins: Please comment on the overall IGJJF rules of the match and the following statement by Marc Laimon, “I would like to know exactly what Ryron will wear. Training for Gi and no gi are 2 different sports. He already has special Gracie (IGJJF) rules, why not tell me what I am fighting against. Imagine if you show up to the world series, and the umpire says, “Today we will play using a softball”. It is the same game, but the dynamics change dramatically. It should be stated what your opponent will wear!

Rorion Gracie: Marc, regardless of Ryron’s outfit, expect the worst!

Brian Cimins: A 30 minute time limit? Will this help or hurt Ryron?

Rorion Gracie: I wish Marc, who predicted victory, would show his confidence by agreeing to no points and no time limit. Last man standing kind of a deal, I am sure the public wouldn’t mind.

Brian Cimins: What do you think of the slamming rule? Why allow it? Do you think it will assist in the growth of the future of jiu jitsu if people get hurt, like Cameron Earle did?

Rorion Gracie: I think it is an important rule! Aside from punching and kicking, people shoud train Jiu-Jitsu on a regular basis to prepare for real fighting. Cameron (Earle) is a good fighter who made a mistake. If he learned from it, the lesson was priceless.

Brian Cimins: What would you tell people who are on the fence whether or not to attend this tournament to witness this fight LIVE?

Rorion Gracie: They should come (to Las Vegas) and see a great match.

Brian Cimins: What is your prediction of the match?

Rorion Gracie: I expect Ryron to do well as always.

Brian Cimins: Any sponsors to thank?

Rorion Gracie: Varig Airlines, WorldSize, Premier Chiropractic

Read Marc Laimon’s Interview that prompted this response here:

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