Tuesday, February 15, 2011


One of the things I love about martial arts is their ability to inspire and uplift.  Recently, I was sent this video, and I thought it a very moving story.  I think you’ll also find it so. 

Military combat veteran Tyler Anderson is a neophyte Brazilian Jiu Jitsu player, but like all of us he’s found it has affected his life in positive ways.  Tyler is the winner of the Purple Heart, having lost his leg to a landmine while serving his second tour in Afghanistan.

However, rather than allow this loss to hamper him in any way, he pressed on, retaining his active lifestyle and positive spirit.  As the video tells us, Tyler found his calling -- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  He found the art via an amazing instructor, Luis Pantoja, and the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that helps injured veterans.  Tyler and other vets like him use BJJ as form of rehabilitation and even empowerment in their new post injury lives. 

Interestingly, these folks are adapting Jiu Jitsu to their unique physical conditions.  As amputees, some techniques don’t work for them, and they must adapt their BJJ to fit their individual situations.  They’re not letting anything hold them back. 

Moreover, in a sense, they’re helping BJJ to evolve.  Remember, the Gracies developed BJJ to suit their individual physiques (they were smaller and weaker than most others around them).  These military men are doing the same thing.  That’s exciting and may take BJJ in a whole new direction.  My guess is, we’ll be seeing scores of new grappling techniques from these wounded warriors; they’ll be moves that work specifically for them but may also be possible for people without the same physical challenges.  I’m anxious to see what will happen as these guys continue their training.

Hats off to Luis Pantoja, Tyler’s trainer, and to the Wounded Warrior Project for providing this service to our heroes in the military.  These veterans were serving us, it’s awesome that others can now help them.  Check out .   


  1. How awesome is that! This post made my day brother! Thanks so much. Mikey D here. I check your site everyday and I am never disappointed. For all those guys who think bjj is merely about "winning or losing" they need to check that video out. Thanks.

  2. I am moved to tears. For every time I've moaned and groaned about being smaller, weaker, have short fat legs whatever... this really puts it in perspective. Thanks Francisco. :)

  3. Thank you for posting this. What an inspiring and amazing story.


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