Updated: Aug 25
You've probably noticed the new flag hanging in the academy (top right of this pic). I'd like to take a second to explain why it's there.
In April of 2008 I had my first fight scheduled at Caged Combat 4. This was the first sanctioned MMA event in Lafourche Parish, and I was the second fight on the card against a guy named Zachary Dardar. (Below is the only photo I have from that night.)
Two days before the fight, I was introduced to a random brown belt that was passing thru. He trained with us that Thursday evening in Bayou Blue and gave me some pointers after class. The guy was really cool, but there was something different about his demeanor. I wasn't sure why, but I knew he was the type of individual that I needed to listen to when he spoke. After talking a bit more I found out he was active duty in the Air Force, and was in Louisiana because his unit was being sued by civilians. His unit was deployed to New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city. The unit was tasked with saving individuals in need of help and some pitiful soul decided to sue the individuals that saved his life.
Without knowing it, I was talking with an Air Force Special Operations Pararescue Man, also know as "PJ's". I was speaking to a combat veteran that chose to be part of a specialized unit who's motto is "These Things We Do, That Others May Live". These guys are known for being the best combat medical guys in the military. Highly trained individuals that enter combat zones and save injured soldiers and Marines while under fire. They are the "Guardian Angel's of Warriors".
This individual selflessly gave his time to corner some white belt during his first MMA match. I was that white belt, and this Guardian Angel guided me to a win the April night. After the fight was over, we had a talk that will stick with me the rest of my life regarding what it means to be a good sportsman and man in general.
This individual greatly impacted my life, my family, ALL members of Next Generation Martial Arts, and countless others on planet Earth. The flag on the wall is his foundation. The indvidual PJ mentioned will remain nameless in quiet professional fashion, but NGMA members have heard me mention his name for years now. There's a high possibility NGMA would not exist if it weren't for this Guardian Angel being in my corner that April evening in 2008.
Learn more about this foundation at https://www.pararescuefoundation.org