Source: Erin Herle from Graciemag
Live Jiu-Jitsu & Higher Ground team up to offer unique opportunity for at-risk youth to compete in Jiu-Jitsu
A select group of 10 athletes competed in their first gi tournament at the 6th Southwest BJJ Classic Championship in Arizona. This was all made possible by Live Jiu-Jitsu and Higher Ground teaming up to offer this great opportunity.
Live Jiu-Jitsu is a non-profit organization that aims to inspire positive change in the lives of impoverished communities through the study and implementation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. They provide opportunities for students to embrace the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu while enhancing their livelihood. Its co-founder and GMA member, Gustavo Dantas is also the president of GD Events that helped 10 students to compete at the Southwest Classic Tournament.
Higher Ground is a non-profit organization for at-risk youth in Tucson, Arizona. They have over 60 kids in their Jiu-Jitsu program, all of whom have several mental and behavioral issues.
Jansen Azarias, Director at Higher Ground writes:
“Jiu-Jitsu is a life-changing program at Higher Ground. With over 50 students practicing it on a daily basis, the mats have become a place of transformation – from bullies to leaders, from bullied to warriors. It’s a place where students who are labeled as troublemakers transform their behavior and character in and out of the mats, labeled at-risk become champions, and a place where lives are continually transformed with each day of grappling.
The 10 students that GD Events and Live Jiu-Jitsu sponsored are the epitome of this transformation. Four of those students come from the same family. When they came to Higher Ground last year, their mother had just left them at their grandma’s doorstep to run away with her boyfriend. Three brothers and a sister full of confusion, anger and hopelessness with no one to turn to. Seeing the loss of confidence and the build up of anger, we quickly plugged them in our Jiu Jitsu program. Here we saw the oldest brother flourish and see his anger from a different light. He began to realize that if he can control it and release it on the mats, he had no need to release it by fighting or shutting other people out.