Amare Executive Director Ty A. Bechel approached Adam Marburger, founder and owner of Alton Family Martial Arts & Fitness, in 2018 to propose partnering to create the new recovery support group that offers a physical element. After discussions with coaches Cort Wahle and Erin Stacey, the structure for the biweekly support group took shape and will be offered every other Wednesday, beginning April 3.

The coaches have skills that go beyond jiu-jitsu. Stacey has been training in martial arts since she was 9, beginning with taekwondo and later taking muay thai at local gym The War Room.

“I am excited to be partnering with Amare because I get to share my love of jiu-jitsu with others,” Stacey said.

Wahle is not only a coach, he is also a mixed martial arts athlete who has fought for Shamrock FC. Wahle is a fourth dan master in taekwondo and has his purple belt in jiu-jitsu.

“Teaching is one thing I love and watching people become more complete versions of themselves, both externally and internally, only adds to that passion,” Wahle said.

Honor, discipline, and respect are guiding principles found in training Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which are similar to principles found in 12-step recovery support groups. Marburger credits Brazilian jiu-jitsu with changing his life, both professionally and personally, and holds a purple belt under Kyle Watson.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu can be traced to the Gracie family and further linked to their original teacher, Mitsuyo Maeda (Conde Coma). A disciplined form of training and exercise is evident in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The new pathway to recovery offers those who have struggled with drug and alcohol addiction an opportunity to gain focus and become more mindful.

“I am excited to be a part of this partnership to offer a new pathway to recovery,” Bechel said. “Those that will participate will be learning from some of the greatest coaches at one of the best martial arts academies in the Riverbend while developing a fellowship among them.”

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