My journey with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has changed my life in so many positive ways, mainly because of the amazing people I have met along the way. I have made lifelong friends and have been shown a way to live life with generosity and kindness. December 14th 2012, I welcomed in to this world my first child, my son Jack. On such an amazing and joyous day for my family it was shadowed by a heinous tragedy. My son Jack shares his birthday with the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown CT. With my heart filled with joy and sadness I set out to try to help in some way. I worked on a BJJ patch project that raised almost $6,000 which was donated to the UConn Scholarship Fund for Victims of Sandy Hook. Through that project I met so many people and made connections throughout the country. One of those connections was Ian Hockley, his beautiful son Dylan was murdered on the same day I was given the greatest gift. I knew after I met Ian with his incredibly positive outlook that my focus now had a more clear vision, I knew at that point where I was going to direct my efforts. Ian and Nicole Hockley created Dylan’s Wings of Change, a foundation devoted to Dylan’s memory to help children with autism and related conditions develop to their maximum potential through a focus on sports and technology. I created Blackbelts for Butterflies to help raise awareness for Dylan’s Wings of Change, as well as honor the memory of all those taken that day.
The weekend of May 16th – 18th back in 2014, I asked my jiu jitsu brothers and sisters to embrace this effort and join me for the first Blackbelts for Butterflies Super Seminar. Ten Black belts came together from across the country and donated their time to teach that weekend. We raised almost $7,000 that went towards Dylan’s Wings of Change. Now one year later, I am proud to announce the 2nd annual Blackbelts for Butterflies on April 24th, 25th, and 26th of 2015.This is going to be our second event and we are beyond excited for another incredible weekend. Once again we have ten amazing black belts scheduled to teach this weekend from across the country. We have some faces coming back that you will remember and some new faces that you’ll be excited to meet, but overall there will be an extraordinary amount of knowledge on the mat. We’ve been working hard and have some great surprises up our sleeves this year as well!
This is an event like no other, it is not just about jiu jitsu but about change, the impact that a single person can make! We are all individuals that have the power to make a change, and when we come together as a community we become unstoppable! I look forward to seeing all of your faces and sharing the mat. I look forward to creating new friendships and bonds, and most of all I look forward to sharing an experience that will change all of us!
Make a difference. Be the difference!