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Chris W.

Chris W.

I’m nominating Chris W. since he exemplifies the true meaning of this sport. He is humble and hard working. He is dedicated to this craft even as life presents him with obstacles. He shows up to help, never asking or expecting anything in return. He is quiet and often over looked. Chris is only 25 years of age. He is from a generation, where many of his peers are living at home, going through the motions of life and extending their adolescence. Chris never had that option. I wasn’t sure if he would be willing to share his story. I’m glad this scholarship has given him the forum to share how BJJ has impacted his life.

My jiujitsu story started when I needed it most even if I didn't know it at the time. I was 19 years old and had moved out of my parents’ home after several years of my parents addictions, abuse and everything that came along with that for a long time. I took my first chance to get out and moved with friends to West Chester, Pennsylvania. I could not find a job and I lived in a home with about 12 other people. I lived off of anything I could find to eat or whatever anyone brought home that night, and was borderline homeless. Growing up as a wrestler and with my home life made it easier for me to deal with that kind of hardship. Sadly my dreams of wrestling in college never came to fruition even with getting accepted into schools. instead I was just trying to make it day by day. One day I walked by a jujitsu gym Alliance, run by Alex Britto. The sport intrigued me after watching it, it looked a lot like wrestling but I had no idea even what the Gi was used for, or the crazy positions these men were getting into. I started training and fell in love, excelling right away. I did not have any money to pay tuition so 
Alex made me a deal that I would clean the gym twice a day and I could train for free. In addition to that Alex would take me grocery shopping, give me rides to doctors, helped get me to find a job at a local restaurant and helped me to find a room to rent to get out of my living situation. There is no story of BJJ without Alex Britto. He has played a huge role in my life and BJJ story. After four months of training, I was competing as much as I could even flying out to California to compete at Pan Ams and did well. I was at Alex’s gym for a little over two years. As no story has a perfect ending, I ended up meeting a girl and having a child. We needed to move from the area so I could get a better job and take care of my responsibilities. I continued to train but many of the gyms focused on MMA and very little jujitsu. For about 3 years I had a few MMA fights and still compete in MMA today. But I do not have the same love for the sport as I do with jujitsu. After some time I separated with my son’s mother and have been in constant court battles.  It has been a strain emotionally and financially but I've never steered away from caring for my son. Today, my current fiance and her daughter, who I’m caring for as my own, since her biological father is not in the picture. We are a family of four. My life ever since has been about my children and doing whatever I need to do for them. I have found my way back to wrestling and coaching a high school wrestling team. I hope I can give a little of what I received from my time in the sport. I have been bouncing around from MMA gym to MMA gym and about a year ago finally found a strictly jujitsu gym named Revolution run by Jamie Weaver a Robson Moura affiliate. I am now back to training strictly jujitsu full-time which has rejuvenated my love for the sport. Under Jamie I received my long overdue purple belt. Revolution took me in when my previous gym closed. The coaches stepped in to train me and corner me for a fight that was already scheduled. This gym has become my second home. That is a brief story of my jujitsu journey and my life but I am only 25 so I hope to have many more chapters. 

People say it all the time but I can genuinely say jiujitsu has literally saved my life. I was taken off the streets by one of the best men that I have ever known out of the kindness of his heart. There is no telling where I would be in the world or what I'd be doing without him or jujitsu. Jiujitsu still helps me everyday. I think about it while I'm working, from the techniques of the week to visualizing my next competition. Jiujitsu is a huge reliever of stress. One thing jujitsu has done for me is to help me trust people. After some of my life experiences, I've had its been difficult to get close to people and open up. I had become somewhat socially awkward. Sometimes the biggest thing in the world is just sitting there on the mat after a roll and your coach asking you how you're doing or how are things at home. I would consider anyone I train with, a brother or sister even if we are totally different from each other outside of the gym. Jiujitsu has not only changed my life it is in every essence my life and my dreams.

I've never been the kind of person to ask for help or even talk about myself in a positive way. I’m even having some trouble writing this. But the truth, is everyone needs help from time to time. Raising two children, having a home and everything that comes along with it is already a financial strain.  Its a lot harder to train and pay for training/gear like it is for other guys my age without the same responsibilities. I would love to travel and 
compete at the biggest tournaments in the country and throughout the world. Anything could and would help tremendously but just the recognition of this would mean the world to me.

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