“Humans Of New York” Features Young Immigrant Learning Jiu-Jitsu

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Image Source: Brandon Stanton/ Humans of New York

The Humans of New York (HONY) project has developed a massive following over the years. Photographer Brandon Stanton has an uncanny ability to capture his subjects’ struggles, triumphs, and personalities through his photos and interviews, and while every story (and human) featured is unique, one posted today stood out to the martial arts community.

In a recent HONY post, a young woman who immigrated to the US from Peru details some of the obstacles she and her mother faced both before and after coming to the States. And then, she shares what has helped her move from merely surviving to having goals: jiu-jitsu.

Take a look at the post below:

“Ever since I was twelve years old, my mom wanted to bring us to America. She said we’d be able to reach our goals faster. At first she came alone. In Peru she had a nice government job, but here she mopped floors and washed cars. It took forever to get our papers because she wanted to bring us over legally. There were so many times she told me to get ready—but then it fell through. I started to think it would never happen. But then one year ago she called me and said it was time. I left my whole life behind. That first winter was so depressing. I had to break up with my boyfriend. I didn’t know anyone here. My English was suck. I had my own bedroom in Peru, but here I had to share a room with three people. I spent so much time crying. I watched a lot of anime. Even my cat wouldn’t play with me because she’s not very friendly. But finally in March I found a job at a restaurant, and things began to turn around. My coworkers became like family. My manager Alizee is the most amazing person I’ve ever met. And the guys in the kitchen help me with my English. There’s a gym nearby, and after work I’ve been taking jiu-jitsu classes. It’s helped me a lot. There’s one position called guard, and as long as you can keep your guard up—you’ll be alright. I feel like I’m finally in control. This morning I paid for a whole semester of classes. Last year was about surviving. But this year I have goals. The first one is to get better at jiu-jitsu.”

Hopefully this moving story helps get more people interested in the sport that brings people of all backgrounds together.




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Averi is the managing editor for the Jiu-Jitsu Times. She’s a purple belt under Andre Oliveira of Pura Vida BJJ in Costa Rica and an ambassador for Grapple Apparel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @bjjaveri.





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