Reflecting On The Death of Ian

My friend Ian died last week, he was in the trenches with a battle against cancer. And sadly the ugly son of a bitch we call cancer won. I’ve always hated cancer and have lost a handful of loved ones as a result of it. When I first heard that Ian had cancer, I quickly lowered my head in prayer. Asking God to give Ian the strength to fight and joy to face each day.

I felt optimistic because other people were praying along side me on behalf of him. I knew Ian was a warrior. And I knew that my Lord was good. But man, I wasn’t prepared to say goodbye in my own. I first met Ian at the 2015 grapplers heart tournament in Brooklyn New York. A tournament dedicated to adaptive BJJ (Brazilian Jiujitsu).

There, I watched Ian bravely go into all his matches with all he had. Most of his opponents could move faster then him and had much more mobility then him. Yet he didn’t doubt, he didn’t fear he simply went head and heart first into the storm. Ian lost all four of his matches, but not once did he complain.

Something that I could very much learn from, I was of Ian’s opponents in the nogi division. One thing that caught my attention was how he held on to the very last second before tapping out. I remember kneeling beside him, making sure he was okay. His coaches came to check on him and the only thing that I could think was that this kid was as tough as they come.

Since that time, Ian has went on to touch thousands of lives. He even received his blue belt, a belt that is not easy to get. Ian would soon find a way into the heart of UFC champion Chris Weidman. Weidman would fly Ian and his family out to a UFC event that he was fighting at. Ian got to accompany Weidman on his walk out.

I’m sure Ian also got to the honor to meet other UFC fighters, and I’m also positive that he left a lasting impression on them as well. The truth is, you don’t have to know someone for long in order for them to change your life or at least impact it in a tremendous way.

When I met Ian, I observed a lot of his interactions with people. He was always smiling, never shy and always willing to mingle with new people. Something that I have always struggled with and envied of others. I never actually got to say goodbye to Ian when we were in NY, but knowing that he had quickly found a place in my heart. I knew that it was okay.

When I found out that Ian had passed away, I remember sitting on the floor of my college dorm. I re-read the posting over and over again in hopes that I was reading it to fast. But I wasn’t, my heart started to pound and my palms started to sweat. Soon the tears would follow. I put my hands over my face and cried harder then I have in years. It didn’t matter to me how long I knew him. When you go to war with someone on the mat, you build a bond that cannot be taken away.

I then put my head into a pillow and screamed, I felt a real connection with Ian. Not only did we share a common bond in Jiujitsu but we both had cerebral palsy. And in my eyes that made us family. There’re a few things that I believe that we all can take from the life that Ian lived:

  1. Live a life without excuse, there is no reason under the sun that we can’t better our lives. Be it physically, spiritually or emotionally.
  2. Learn to love others well, as cliche as it is you never know when your last day will be.
  3. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, don’t be afraid to be you.
  4. Don’t take your body and abilities for granted, our lives are gifts and we are meant to treat them as such.

Do your best not to live in fear, fear only holds us back from experiencing life to fullest. Do your best to find joy in all of life, this makes life far more enjoyable and helps you to live in the moment and one day at a time. That being said, this blog is for you, Ian, thank you for all you have done, thank you for the impact you have had on my life, thank you for what you have given to the sport of Jiujitsu and thank you for being who you are. I will never forget you bro.










Love and How The World Was Made.

For as long as I can remember, there has always been the debate of creation vs evolution. I’ve never really been good at debating my position on the issue. But yes, I believe that God created this world by his artistic hand. I believe that there was a Adam and Eve and by their actions this world spun into the chaos that it is in.

I know some will object by saying “but how? You can’t possibly know that”. But I actually think we can, I think that most people who have undergone tremendous circumstances, that doesn’t mean that everyone who hasn’t endured great suffering couldn’t believe in something greater than themselves.

My point is that people who have suffered are sometimes more open to the idea to the idea that God is with them and will help them in their pain. Yet, suffering can sometimes harden a person’s heart as well. I used to be that way, I thought God was a evil and sadistic for enduring such pain in my life.

But now I know that all the pain has led me to the point of knowing him and how much he loves me. As we enter valentines day tomorrow, yes I feel alone, yes something inside me still hurts. Something inside me longs for a mate to walk through life with. I believe that even Adam felt that way too, even with the tasks that God put before him, or that maybe God knew that Adam would be better off with a helper.

If you’re lonely today, if you long, I want you to first know that God loves you first, he is with you in the longing and pain. There might be some other things that you and I might have to endure first, but it is for the formation of our character and to deepen the intimacy between us and God as well.

It’s not wrong to long for a mate, that in itself is a gift. But one thing we have to consider is that people will never love us fully as God can. People will let us down, hurt us, betrayed us and completely forsake us.  This doesn’t make the ache any less, but we have the greatest arm to rest on as we walk.

Hold your head up, it’s going to be okay.images




I Know…

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything, I’m still having a lot of ups and downs in regards to porn. But I’m not beating the crap out of myself each and every time. I find myself longing for love. Real love.

For someone to love me and tell me it’s going to be okay, that I’m not my failures. It just seems so hard to find. Yes, I know that the God, but I still long for a wonderful woman in my life. One who builds me up, encourages and fights for me.

The other night I was coming back from the gym, when I had the inclination to pray with the president of our college. We shared some things that were going on in each others lives. I told him about the longings that were in my heart. As he was praying for me he spoke something that I have never heard before in my years of following Jesus.

He said “I ask that you would send a wonderful woman into Brandon’s life sooner rather than later.” Wow.. Mind blown. While he also prayed that I would feel the Lord’s love deep inside of my soul. I had never heard those words spoken and claimed before. I have always heard loads of other daily cliches. And while I claim that promise in my life, I know I have a lot to do on myself, but you know what? I’m okay with that.