With kids across the nation heading back to school this week there’s a renewed concern with the impact bullying can have on a child’s life. Tragically, in far too many cases, it can even lead to a young person committing suicide.
One of the countless stories out there recently captured the attention of widely respected BJJ trainer Rener Gracie to the point he decided to reach out to the family of a 14-year old who was viciously assaulted by bullies last September. Gracie invited the teen – Austin – to California over the summer after seeing footage of the attack and gave him a week-long experience at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy full of lessons both on the mat as well as about life in general.
“As gut-wrenching as it was, the fact that he just got beat up and he was still alive gave me hope and inspired me to do something about it,” said Gracie in a short film documenting the process. “Even if Austin never trains again for the rest of his life he’s gonna be okay. He now understands certain things about both fighting and about interaction. But the reality is, we only taught him all those techniques so he would never have to use them.”
“I guess, now the only challenge is the hundreds of thousands, the millions of kids out there, who are in Austin’s situation; who have had their dignity and their core ripped away by an aggressor against their will,” he continued. “It’s not a matter of the formula, it’s not a matter of the method, it’s not a matter of the objective and what we need to do for these kids, these targets of this harassment – it’s just a matter of the message getting out there (that there is hope and help).”
Check out the complete video feature below: