Professor Glick’s speech at the Dine for a Cause event encapsulated many of the central organizing principles at Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Along with thanks to all the students and participants at this sold-out event, he gives a vision of what makes BBJJ’s approach so unique and vital, and why it’s not enough to leave your practice on the mat. Watch the video above from the Dine for a Cause evening and read Professor Glick’s speech below.
I’m very grateful to have been asked to speak tonite because it gives me a chance to say thank you to everyone here, and most importantly, to celebrate our work together beyond the walls of our dojos.
When we began – over ten years ago – to put together a plan for what these schools would look like, our vision was for something much more than just a group of martial arts schools.
The idea was to offer a place where the real growth potential inherent in serious martial arts training could be brought to the fore. Where students wouldn’t have to subscribe to a culture of violence or exclusion in order to feel fulfilled or included. And where each student would have a broader perspective on their own humanity than they did when they first began.
Since the beginning, charitable donations have been a part of what we do. Many of you know this already, but since our founding, a portion of our profits each month have been donated to a different charitable organization, researched and reviewed by all the Professors and instructors.
As students, you have played a critical a part in this mission as well– whether by giving clothing, food or goods during a monthly drive, or in attending a seminar or training session to benefit an important cause. When a typhoon hit the Philippines, you were there. When an earthquake hit Nepal, you were there. And when Hurricane Sandy touched down, devastating our students homes and the future home of BBJJ Cobble Hill, you were there.
We’ve intensified that effort over the last two years, including not just monetary donations but requests to our students to reach out into their neighborhoods and our communities in a much deeper and more personal way.
For instance, graduation requirements now feature a community service component, as do the various leadership courses we offer.
The results have been profound. Not only have we been able to make valuable contributions to places like the Robin Hood Foundation, the Harlem Children’s Zone, Save the Children and tonite GAIN, but this type of giving has had a huge impact on the students and the BBJJ community as a whole. It’s broadening the outline of what it means to be a martial artist by returning some of the social context to our work. And we couldn’t be happier to watch how willingly, how dramatically, all of you have embraced this project.
So as our schools have grown and we’ve expanded into different parts of Brooklyn, we’ve been able to bring what we see as these “essential principles for living” to a wider audience.
It has meant more people in more neighborhoods learning effective and responsible martial arts, but of course its been more than that. It’s meant sharing an ethical approach to relationships, personal growth and self-mangement during complex and challenging times. And of course it’s meant that all of our lives have been immeasurably enriched by the presence of new friends, peers and training partners.
Tonite’s get-together is in part to celebrate these connections. The bond we have built through the martial arts, whether as students or as part of the extended family, is unlike any other I know of. And the community we have become isn’t founded only on a common interest in the armlock or the hip throw. We’re a part of these schools – and we’re here tonite – because we saw a chance to give, to share and to express the central principles of the martial arts: generosity, humility, integrity, loyalty and a belief in the future.
I speak for all of the professors and instructors when I say that we are grateful to you for your participation, involvement and commitment – not just to being here tonite but to embracing the larger notion of a generous life lived well with the help of the martial arts principles we hold so dear.
We’d like to thank everyone for coming and all the staff for helping to put this together:
Brenda – Sensei – Angela
All the Professors
All the Instructors
And of course all the students who are helping to make this such a wonderful night.