— Written by By Cindy Cyr —
Growing up, Chuck Rylant was driven to become a real‐life hero.
Not having a healthy father figure in his life, Chuck sought out male role models, which ultimately came through the fictional characters he saw in movies. He was naturally drawn to action movie heroes of the eighties such as Sylvester Stallone in Rambo, Bruce Willis in Die Hard, and Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon, and these heroes were his inspiration throughout a traumatic childhood that was filled with chaos.
In and out of foster homes when he was young, Chuck grew up on welfare and in government housing projects from the time he was born until he was 16, at which point he moved out to live on his own. Continue reading “Chuck Rylant: How Jiu‐Jitsu Led to the Hero of His Story”
Garth Taylor was warming up, preparing for his fight at the Tijuca Clube in Rio de Janeiro.
It was the day that brown and black belts were competing in the World Brazilian Jiu‐Jitsu Championship.
Garth noticed a commotion as paramedics fought their way through the crowd to get to one of the fighters.
“It was insane how many people were crammed into that venue,” Garth said. “There was a guy who needed serious medical attention, but the medics couldn’t even get to him because it was so crowded.”
When medics reached the fighter, he was unresponsive.
“We were standing there about ready to fight as they worked that guy up and put him on a board,” Garth said. “There was no exit down there, no way to get him out because the crowd was so big and nobody would move.”
Another crew of medics stood on the second tier of the stadium, unable to get to the ground floor.
“They crowd‐surfed him on a stretcher and took him out of the building,” Garth said.
Garth stood there wondering what had happened but later learned the fighter died during his match from a heart attack. As Garth watched all of this unfold, he tried to focus on his fight for the world championship. Continue reading “Garth Taylor: A World Champion’s Fight for Self Discovery”
John Marine and his friend filled a shopping cart full of booze, but as both were 16, neither was old enough to buy liquor.
“We grabbed the gallon jugs of Jack and vodka and ran for the car,” John said. “He cracked a bottle of vodka. I opened the whiskey and we started pounding.”
John had just broken up with his high school girlfriend, and his friend’s girlfriend had just announced that she was pregnant.
“That first breakup was traumatic,” John said. “It was devastating, because I had so many other issues from my childhood that I hadn’t made good with. Losing my first girlfriend was just way too much.”
The more they drank, the more they feed off each other’s depression. After enough alcohol, they got ahold of a long rubber hose and then picked up a couple of friends for a road trip to Magic Mountain.
“We were out of our fucking minds when these guys hopped into the car with us,” John said. “They could tell something was up, but they were a little nutty too, so everybody could have expected us to be a bit off.”
Before picking up the last two guys, John and his friend had already agreed that after their night of partying at Magic Mountain, they were going to connect the hose to the exhaust and gas themselves. Continue reading “John Marine: The Child is the Father of the Man”
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Nicolas Gregoriades left his home in South Africa and arrived in London with only a couple of hundred bucks in his pocket. After trying another gym, he eventually discovered Roger Gracie’s Jiu‐Jitsu academy.
When Nicolas knocked on the door, a tall but unassuming kid answered. “This guy doesn’t look tough at all,” Nicolas thought.
“He looked like a regular dude,” Nicolas said. “He had that foppish haircut and was kind of pale. I thought these crazy fighters were supposed to be tan, Mediterranean‐looking guys.”
Nicolas had some no‐gi grappling experience and had been submitting a lot of guys at home with kneebars. One of his friends knew of Roger Gracie and heard Nicolas was visiting the academy.
“If you kneebar that guy, I will call you ‘sir’ for the rest of your life,” his friend said.
“My kneebars are amazing,” the overly confident, 20‐year‐old Nicolas said to his friend. “Jiu‐Jitsu guys don’t know kneebars.”
Roger was gracious and welcomed Nicolas into the gym during their lunchtime class.
“I’ll never forget that day,” Nicolas said. “There were only four guys in class, so I asked if I could spar with him.” Continue reading “Nicolas Gregoriades: unlocking the root of all fears and neuroses”