Ben Harrison studied martial arts most of his life. But it wasn’t until he tried Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that he found his passion.
Call it an “a-ha” moment in his life.
“It’s therapeutic for everyone,” Harrison said. “If everyone in the world did Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, we wouldn’t have any problems.”
The Loudon native joined the Marine Corps after 9/11 and served four years.
He opened a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym in 2010 and teaches the sport he loves every day.
The gym has drawn a large community of veterans from the area, who use it as a positive outlet.
The Marine Corps was a natural progression for the former MMA fighter. He’s trained to survive in life or death situations.
“I think that’s very powerful to people that I train, because (they) know that it’s not knowledge that came out of a book,” Harrison said.
He tries to help veterans adjust to civilian life. He offers a gym scholarship program open to veterans. He trains a crew of veterans from all walks of life and every branch of the military.
Training in martial arts allows veterans to continue to utilize combat skills while in a safe situation. Surrounded by other vets, Harrison said, they’re not judged.
“A lot of veterans, they get stuck in a situation where they’re not around a lot of veterans,” Harrison said. “They don’t have anybody to talk to that really understands them.”
Harrison still grapples with the memories of his service. But he’s living out his passion every day and with a singular goal: “You’ve got one job: to be happy.”
Nice work, Ben. Aces Jiu Jitsu Club is rooting for you loud and proud all the way from Austin, Texas!
(Read the full article here: https://www.knoxnews.com/story/money/business/2018/05/28/local-veteran-biz-owners-pursue-their-passions/632455002/)
Andy Gonzalez is a coach at Aces Jiu Jitsu Club. He has earned his purple belt under Professor Mikal Abdullah. Follow Andy on Twitter at @GoGoGonzilla
Andy lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Amanda and their 3 beautiful children. Andy is also the father of a Marine who is honorably serving in the United States Marine Corps.