“Me. My family. GB.” A personal story of how GB changes lives

“I am a walking advertisement for GB, every day.”
Prof. Jo Thomson started training at GB Sydney, Australia in around 2005, at the age of 47 as her first experience of martial arts.
Prof. Jo shares personal stories about how Gracie Barra jiu-jitsu can have a powerful effect on people’s lives.
“I’m a bit tired and dealing with something which proves that not only does GB change lives, but it also SAVES lives. Whilst not a story to share, this is something our leaders should know.
I am a walking advertisement for GB, every day.
I have a neighbor who is bipolar. The short version:
I barely knew this young man until the day I had to turn him away from the road before he ran in front of a bus. Since then I’ve checked on him a bit but he has barely left the house in 3 years.
Three weeks ago he messaged about Jiu-Jitsu. I suggested he go meet our program director and by the time I got there to train, he was on the mats. He has trained three times a week since and just loves it. Unfortunately, he got sick with the covid vaccination and relapsed badly two days ago. But tonight he’s going there to talk to the guys and explain that he’s going to go to a psych hospital but will be back. He has something to believe in.
Another story will make you cry. I wrote it last year but it still makes me cry.
This is the story as I sent it to Prof Draculino.
I want to tell you a sad little story but one which says a lot about “GBBJJ = family”
I think our leaders need to know how much GBBJJ means to this one little family. Our Master Carlos might appreciate this but I don’t know how to tell him.
I am a speech pathologist in a very big private hospital here in Sydney.
Last November I was asked to see a patient at the hospital. Rare brain tumor. Just diagnosed. 49. Nice family. His parents and sister had come from Canada. That’s how scary the news.
That same night (on Facebook) I saw a gofundme post Prof Marcio Lemos shared….scrolled down to the photo….and there was the guy!!!
Purple belt four stripes.
The next day I walked in and showed him the Taz tattoo on my arm and said “I didn’t know you were in my family”. He said, “Oh my god…I’ve seen photos of you!”
So thereafter all our interactions were about GB…we pretended we were going to lay out some mattresses for sparring…even near the end he always knew who I was. There were several admissions but we were unable to stop cancer. He passed away at home a few weeks ago.
His wife sent me a photo of him, laid out having finally found his peaceful rest……WEARING HIS GBBJJ UNIFORM!! So thus he was cremated.
They have kept the belt because we hope his 15-year-old son will “grow into” it someday.
Tomorrow we gather…family and friends and GB Hornsby and me…to celebrate the life of Ryan Faught.
Everything that Master Carlos envisioned is summed up in this sad tale.
They had a photographer come and take some family photos right near the end.
At the celebration of life, one of the brown belts from his school “gave Ryan” (or rather, his son) his brown belt.
That guy, also a brown belt, will be promoted to black belt next month.”
See also on GB Blog: GB Women: Prof. Jo Thomson on Dealing with Challenges
Writer: Mark Mullen, Gracie Barra Black Belt