So several months ago my Jiu Jitsu trainer and myself were selected to be wrestling coaches at NubAbility’s All Sports Camp. NubAbility is a camp for limb different kids and teens that teaches them to be competitive against fully-limbed opponents. The mantra of Coach Sam Kuhnert and Mama Jana Kuhnert is #DontNeed2 and let me tell you, I learned this weekend that is so true!
The amount of awesome spread out between all the limb-different coaches and student athletes was amazing. There were around 35 coaches and 70 campers, and every one pushed hard all weekend!
If you don’t know what awesome looks like, see picture below:
I learned so much more about myself while working on the mats and watching all these limb-different kids just living thier lives and doing their thing. Some were amputees, and some were congenital.. Meaning they were born that way. Something I found interesting in most all these kids was the simple fact that they didn’t really have a concept of adversity. Their life was simply that, life, and they didn’t know any different. These kids normal we call adversity, their everyday we simply can not understand.
What I didn’t see anywhere was self pity. I had some of that when I lost my limbs almost four years ago, and after meeting these kids I feel so ashamed for the pity I allowed myself to wallow in. Sam told me when he first called me on the phone that this event would change my life, and I didn’t understand at fisrt what he meant. Now I do. These kids have zero limits, and just being around them brings that out in everyone else, limb-different or not. I am a changed man because of it!
I got the opportunity to work with professional MMA Fighter Nick Palmer, as well as former WWE Superstar Zach Gowen, the world only one-legged Professional Wrestler. Both of these guys brought out the best in the kids, as well as myself and my friend and trainer Eric Myers. These guys know their stuff, and I suggest going and checking them out.
While at camp I had the pleasure of meeting limb-different strength trainers, soccer coaches, football coaches, basketball, dance, tumbling… The list goes on and on. all top notch athletes, all awesome coaches. Honestly, I felt a bit out of place! I was probably the least athletically inclined coach there! I lost all of my strength during my three months in the hospital, at one point I was so atrophied I could not roll over on my own. I have let myself get to a certain point in my strength and definition coming back, and then I simply said “Meh, that’s good enough for now.” But not anymore.
These kids have inspired me to get serious again about my strength, my endurance, health, and training when not on the mat. Next year when we bring Gracie Jiu Jitsu full on to NubAbility – Yep, that’s right… Mama Kuhnert told Eric and myself that next year it will be wrestling AND GJJ! – I hope to have improved my game immensly. Not starting tomorrow, but starting today!
That means better shape, better prosthetic sockets, and a a GJJ blue belt before July of next year. Those are my goals, and the very kids I will help train next year are my inspiration for it!
Eric Myers and I are planning on some fundraising soon to help coaches and student athletes alike get back to NubAbility, so be prepared to help us help these kids next year!
Thanks to everyone involved this year, and I am so glad to have met every single one of the coaches and athletes at camp this year!