We’ve all heard the personal testimonials from Jiu Jiteros who insist that BJJ saved their lives.
Well, now, for the first time, science is paying attention. A group known as the Stateside Warriors is taking part in the first scientific study focused on how and whether Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can help manage Post-Traumatic Stress.
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This group of dedicated Jiu Jiteros is currently located in Mesa, Arizona, but their origins started in New York City in the aftermath of 9/11. Joe Lutario, a retired NYPD officer who was on one of the World Trade Center response teams, began using Jiu Jitsu as a method of coping with his own PTSD. Recognizing its positive effects, he later started “A Fighting Chance,” a group dedicated to helping combat veterans and other first responders who were suffering the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress.
Lutario later moved to Mesa, Arizona and met Shane Sorenson, owner of Universal Kioto Fitness and MMA. The two clicked over their desire to help first responders and veterans. Thus, Stateside Warriors was born.
Kelly Weinberger is an advocate for alternative treatments for PTS, and she has been impressed with the benefits of the martial arts on PTS sufferers. Weinberger insists that the martial arts teach “directness and honesty in communication, assertiveness, ability to empathize, courage, humility, perseverance, gentleness, respect for others, responsibility, and self-improvement.”
Lutario added that his time on the mat serves as an escape from the symptoms of PTSD. He says, “We appreciate, or perhaps more important, get addicted to those freeing moments, because they are few and far between.”
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Garrick Billy, a US Army veteran, added that “Jiu Jitsu forces you to live in the moment and deal with the immediate. [ . . .] When you come on the mat, you immediately learn what you can and cannot control. It takes trust, and it takes submission.”
Given the need for additional venues for combat veterans and first responders to seek help, this will hopefully be the first of many studies that aim to pinpoint the ways that BJJ can help those suffering from PTSD.
For a full discussion of the Stateside Warriors and more details about this research, follow this link.
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