We Defy BJJ Seminar Benefitting Veterans
By Vellore Caballero
We Defy – Bringing BJJ to Combat Veterans
“Prove them wrong.” This is the mantra of the We Defy organization. It fits perfectly with the overarching goal of the Texas-based non-profit. Their goal is to take combat veterans–many of whom have debilitating injuries–and teach them BJJ. To empower them to prove wrong those who would doubt them. It encourages soldiers to continue on forging ahead in life without letting the things that happened to them in combat slow them down.
The face of the organization is a man named Joey Bozik. Bozik is a triple amputee and a blue belt in Jiu Jitsu. His journey through life, including his study of martial arts, serves as a reminder that life doesn’t have to stop because of physical limitations. As a combat veteran myself, I can absolutely speak to the value of this type of training when it comes to reintegrating back into society. For me, the Easton community was integral to having such a smooth transition (relatively speaking).
Easton BJJ Seminars
A few weeks ago, we put together a couple of events with We Defy so that Easton could show some support for this organization. First we had a Randori in Castle Rock. Students from all over came out to roll with Brian Marvin of Renzo Gracie Houston and make donations. Then the following day Brian was at the Easton Centennial Academy to lead a seminar along with Easton Black Belts John Combs and Alex Huddleston. Each of them took roughly an hour each to show some of their favorite techniques.
The seminar was well attended. Additionally, many people generously made donations in spite of the fact that they were not able to make it. We put on the seminar and randoir to raise funds to support the overall mission of We Defy, and on that front we totally succeeded! Thousands of dollars were raised to help bring more soldiers off of the wait list and allow them to begin training. We Defy spends roughly $2500 per year for each scholarship awarded. This provides kimonos, training, and even private lessons in some cases.
Returning from combat is a really difficult transition for many, many veterans. Organizations like We Defy that look to put veterans in contact with positive, uplifting Jiu-Jitsu communities, are doing reintigration right. Jiu-Jitsu is exactly the kind of medicine that can help make that transition back to “normal” life much easier. We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of this movement and look forward to doing more to help. Thanks to all of the Easton students for making this possible and for supporting our veterans!