MMA is violent. It is barbaric. It is a sport for desperate people with no hope and need a quick paycheck. Most people have heard the uneducated arguments, but contrary to what those who have never had firsthand experience with the sport may think, there is nothing farther from the truth. MMA is a sport based on mutual respect… discipline… and love for an art. You find people from every walk of life, from elementary school kids determined to not being bullied, to professional fighters dedicating time before the sun comes up to far after it sets because of full time jobs during the day, to the doctors and lawyers that need a place to de-stress after long days at work. What you never find when you walk into a MMA gym is people without passion or out for self-interest. What appears to be an individual alone in a ring or cage is actually a member of a team displaying the hard work of not only himself, but all of his training partners.
In the spirit of the arts, Disciple MMA Academy and Beyond Strength Performance NOVA set out to give back on November 7th as they gathered a small group of people on short notice to participate in the annual Raider Project WOD. This annual event raises awareness and funds to “connect MARSOC and USMC combat veterans to help them transition smoothly, peacefully and successfully into the private sector”. The event was a success creating an amazing team building event for the gym, but more importantly everyone felt they were able to contribute their sweat and efforts to a cause greater than their own.
Later that day, Disciple MMA’s own Pablo Garcia was looking to extend his four year winning streak as he stepped into the cage at Odyssey Fights in Richmond, Va. At 21 years old, this was going to be Pablo’s second professional fight, but Pablo wasn’t going into the fight with a clear conscious. Pablo had heard of the fundraising event going on at the gym earlier in the day and requested from his coaches to allow him to participate. Let’s put this into perspective… Only hours before his fight Pablo wanted to participate in a partner event that included over 4000m of rowing, over 900m of 200 lbs sled drag, 70 pull ups, 70 push ups, 70 box jumps… ok, you get the point. Obviously this was not permitted from the coaches, but the young man with class beyond his years decided to forego sponsorship banners and do his part by carrying out the Raider Project banner.
Pablo’s opponent came into the fight with a great deal of confidence after his :29 victory during his professional debut at Shogun Fights two weeks prior. Pablo, fighting for a cause and with passion, refused to be outdone. The fight stopped shortly after it began as Pablo finished in an even more impressive :23 second submission victory as he locked in a deep guillotine on a failed shot by his opponent. Pablo proudly displaying the Raider Project banner and gave a passionate speech about the importance of the cause with a call to action for the rest of the people to dedicate themselves to helping veterans as well.
Just as the barbarism started at the gym in the morning, it ended that night as the team gathered in solidarity to celebrate the win. Not the win of just one, but the win for all. It starts with the art and ends with a family. Congratulations to Pablo, Disciple MMA, Beyond Strength Performance NOVA, but most importantly the Raider Project and the numerous veterans they help!
My experience of this retreat comes from just that: my own story, the stories I’ve heard and accepted from others, the ones I’ve told myself over the years, I underwent brain surgery 3 months ago, and having a brain tumor removed felt like it released a host of toxic emotions that I could no longer hide from. It was like everything that I pushed down, put away in a box, and refused to talk about, was finally able to “get out.” For the first time in my life, I was forced to do nothing but sit and think, The beauty of this marriage retreat weekend was that the Raider Project pulled together a community of people into an environment where I didn’t feel ashamed of my stories. I found myself acknowledging feelings I had previously refused to think about. I found myself accepting past events. I found myself looking at my spouse and really seeing him. I found myself choosing to communicate with my husband and trust that my vulnerability will only help him understand me and love me more...
Hopefully started off the NEW YEAR right with some serious goals. Fitness is one of the most important aspect of veteran transition. We want to see you healthy mentally and physically. That's why every gear purchase supports our mission. Last year we helped hundreds of veterans succeed in their relationships, their financial, physical and emotional goals. We want to do EVEN More this year
The word Post Traumatic Stress DISORDER is ridiculous. I understand the Post Traumatic Stress part but the DISORDER? Why? Does having PTS really mean you have a disorder. Maybe to a clinical psychologists who refer to the DSM IV to diagnose a certain mental health issue it can be a disorder. However, the word disorder used for veterans can cripple your mental stability.