Grappling with Issues: Our place in the fight

Black Lives Matter, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Breonna Taylor, Criminal Justice Reform, George Floyd, Grappling, Martial Arts, News, Racism, Sports -

Grappling with Issues: Our place in the fight

It is often preached that martial arts improve people in a variety of ways, bettering communities around the world. But what happens when martial arts forgets about the people that make up marginalized groups within those communities? Classes and training rooms throughout martial arts are made up of people from all walks of life. Unfortunately, the loud actions of some are tainting the idea that martial arts are for everyone.

Grappling with Issues looks to uplift the voices of marginalized groups within the martial arts community while working to provide support as challenges continue to rage across the country. In a variety of ways, some of the loudest voices in the industry push dangerous narratives that run opposite to the norms everyone should experience as a human being. Whether it is from their own misunderstanding, with a lack of an informed opinion or an outright ignorant disdain, many of those voices are gaining steam and popularity. Rather than participate in meaningless social media arguments, Grappling with Issues will develop and utilize its platform to help those that are in the most need.

Our first initiative saw the launch of the Black Lives Matter rash guards to raise money for The Innocence Project. As of May 30 we've been able to raise more than $700. The Innocence Project works fights for criminal justice reform and leverage DNA testing to overturn sentences for those wrongly convicted. To date the Innocence Project has helped overturn convictions in 367 cases, 70 percent of which involved defendants that are people of color. This work is needed in marginalized and low-income communities as they are often at the mercy of unjust justice systems.

Grappling with Issues is committed to bringing the balance needed when discussing social issues within the martial arts community and beyond. Caring about the wellbeing of those that share space with you on the mat does not make you “weak” or a “beta male.” Those toxic narratives need to go while the working to uplift the communities martial arts claim to represent.

Grappling with Issues will do its part.