Today was special for many reasons. I gave several well deserved promotions including my 3rd black belt, Michael Allen. He was my first student when I moved to St. Louis and has been a friend and pillar of the team for nearly 12 years!

Second, I periodically organize a team training for my academy and our affiliates. I thought it would be a great opportunity to give back. My friend Ryan Prouty created a charity that helps to buy toys and supplies for the Children’s Hospital of Illinois. I asked the attendees today to bring a small donation for this charity with the plan to personally match whatever was collected. With well over 100 attendees it blew away my expectations (and my wallet, haha). We were able to raise $5,000 to help some kids this holiday season!! Big thanks to Ryan for your leadership with this charity, the academy coaches who brought your students, and most of all the attendees for making this event a fun success!! Jiu-jitsu is the most amazing community and after 20 years it still continues to amaze me!!