This past weekend we were paid a visit by our friend Travis Newaza for a seminar while he was on the east coast. This was the third seminar that Travis has done at Radius in the last year so everybody knew that they could expect an entertaining class with some great techniques. Travis did not disappoint, emerging from an Uber (that he took 75 miles from Newark due to his intended ride over sleeping) complaining about Monsanto and the crappy Dunkin Donuts coffee and breakfast that he was forced to settle for.
All joking aside, Travis taught a great seminar that included techniques and concepts that could be used by the rookie and veteran students alike. After a quick Q&A session and a group photo, it was time to roll.
We dedicated this open mat session to #RollForNichole. Without going into too much detail, Nichole Ossman was a young member of the jiu jitsu community that recently took her own life after a battle with mental illness. She was a student at 10th Planet Bethlehem and was only 23 years old. Her good friend Averi is a writer for Jiu Jitsu Times and made a call for the community to come together and #RollForNichole. We were happy to be one of the dozens of academies world-wide to participate.
After a friend, loved one, or even acquaintance commits suicide you frequently hear the common phrases “I wish I knew” or “I wish they came to talk to me”. I think we all need to acknowledge that it might not be so easy for those people to reach out and ask for help when they are going through dark times. I think we should all take a proactive approach to staying close with our friends, family members, and training partners. Check in with each other, keep an eye out for the warning signs of suicide, or just make a simple call to say “hi” and remind them that you are always there for them.
To quote Averi from her article titled Worldwide “Roll For Nichole”:
“So let’s do it. Let’s roll for a better future, for a stronger jiu-jitsu family, for a world in which mental illness is treated as a legitimate condition instead of something that should be swept under the rug and ignored. Let’s roll for ourselves, our teammates, and anyone else who has been at war with their own mind.
Let’s roll for Nichole. “