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3009, 2017

Cracks in the Lion: How I Live with My Scars by Buck Grant

September 30th, 2017|Blog|

Idea for my next tattoo.

The idea comes from the Japanese art of #kintsukuroi which is “to repair with gold.” In this art, pottery that has been cracked or broken is repaired with gold or silver lacquer. At the core of this practice is the understanding that we can be made beautiful for having being broken.
I have always resonated with lions as being strong and in command of their domain. But the lions I have always resonated the most with have been the ones with scars. They have been through hell and back and yet still remain alive.
My own life echoes in this lion story. Perhaps that has been the real issue. I have identified with my scars. I’ve etched them into my identity and that etching has been of service to me. It has also kept me back from thriving at times. This is the nature of most of our stories that we tell about ourselves. Paradoxically they both serve and doom us.
My body has suffered many of injuries in the last year; hell, in the last lifetime. What if those injuries HAVE served me well? What if the cracks within my skin, bones, psyche and soul could be filled with gold. What if they indeed make me who I am?
I ponder these questions as I and my partner Angela Meyer await possible knee surgeries (both injured by training Bjj ironically.) I will continue to play with these concepts till they, like the scars within me are etched into my being.
If you are in pain, if you are hurting from your scars, I feel you. I am with you. I understand that trauma of any sort is hard to bear, and that some of us carry heavier burdens than others. By no means do I undermine the difficulty of anyones path. In the end, WE have to decide how to live with the damage we have incurred.  
We are all flawed, perfect pieces of art roaring into the cosmos, hoping to be whole again. But maybe, just, maybe we can patch fragmented beings back together. Perhaps the gold that represents the scars within reflects the light that we truly are; a light that can never be broken and always remain beautiful.

 

#kintsukuroi #kintsugi #scarredlion#beautifullybroken
P.S Thank you Daniel Chacon for inspiring this post. Love you brother. ❤️

2507, 2016

“Never Homeless” by Buck Grant

July 25th, 2016|Blog|

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​Never Homeless
We are frail creatures. Our underbellies are soft. Our fragile bodies feel exposed to this seemingly dangerous world when we are alone, and so we seek the presence of communities. We are wired to be tribal creatures. We thrive on the comfort of being around people who truly SEE us because it makes us feel safe.

Odd is the soul who ventures into this world alone; who makes the choice to live a nomadic and hermit-like existence. I made that choice nearly a year ago, and “odd” is a term I am quite comfortable being described as. What is more odd about this choice is that I am a very social creature. Though I grew up shy and afraid to communicate with others, I quickly changed when I started training martial arts. I found a group of people who accepted my quirkiness and even embraced me because of it and therefore found my voice in a world that once left me speechless.

Why then did I travel into this world alone? Why did I choose to leave my comfortable apartment in Norfolk VA, my martial arts school right down the street, and decide to live on the couches of friends around the nation for a year if I am such a social being? After all, the world teaches us that a modern day tribe exists in the confines of a village, and that anyone who ventures out of the comfort of that village must be an anti-social, and aberrant creature.

And why did I cry in solitude today while sitting in my car outside a coffee shop in Washington DC?

Last week I visited my dear Tango teacher Mercedes back home in Portsmouth VA. I needed a break from the city.  With all its energy and potential, DC was wearing thin on me. Even though I knew people there and my partner resided within it’s city limits, I was beginning to feel very alone. I wasn’t teaching much and I felt a sense of loss because of its absence in my life. My temper had begun to flare up. I consider myself a very calm person and most people who know me well would agree. Something about being in DC while fostering a new relationship and figuring out my next chapter in life had sent me over the edge. I experienced road rage for the first time in years. My partner and I were fighting a lot. I needed to remember what it meant to be soft again, because I had become hardened and guarded.

In Tango, magic happens in the trusting embrace of another person. I felt my hardened shell melt as my dear teacher guided me through a practice that felt grounding, bonding and healing. Afterwards I sat with her at her dinner table and had a drink while we spoke to her daughter on the phone. I had met her daughter Amber before, and she had become family to me, so while sharing a conversation with her via speaker phone, I felt a sense of family connection I had not felt in a really long time.

That weekend I taught an impromptu Muay Thai workshop at one of my student’s, Kru Adam Mallehan’s martial arts programs. Teaching has always been something that has made me feel like I had a purpose in life. I hadn’t been back to VA in a while, but my career was fostered here. I have students in the area that still value me so I figured that the best way to connect with them all would be to do a workshop where we could all train and bond together.

To my surprise, people all over the Hampton Roads area came to support my workshop.  Students from various martial arts schools gathered at Diego Bisbo’s Academy in Virginia Beach, Virginia to train and welcome me home. In addition, two of my Bermuda affiliates Chuck Morgan and Nikki Maries came, as they happened to be stateside while I was in VA. The workshop felt like a family reunion.  I felt happy beyond belief as we all moved together on the floor in celebration of this art that we all shared and loved.

Last week reminded me that I would never be homeless. Though I have chosen to be without a home, I will always have people in my life that love and support me. I realized that my choice to leave a constant brick and mortar shelter of a residence only amplified my sense of community. Since December of 2015, I have lived with many friends for short periods of time while I followed my work wherever it took me. My friends eagerly brought me into their dwellings for weeks or even months at a time in support of my nomadic lifestyle. There were times, of course, where I worried where my next stop would be. Fate however always guided me to another friend. Each time I felt more appreciative and blessed for the life that I lead and the people that I share it with.

One day soon, I will choose a place to call “home.” I will pick a place to be my base while I hop from adventure to adventure elsewhere. Until then, I will not be afraid. I will not be sad. Instead I will celebrate with gratitude, knowing that I will never be homeless. I will always be taken care of by those that I cherish and support. Because of them, I am boundless, I am limitless, and I am truly free.


2305, 2016

Be Passionate…About the Whole DAMN THING

May 23rd, 2016|Blog|

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​If you are going to pursue something that is worthwhile, you have to fall in love with it. Not just the idea of it. Not just the end result of it. You have to be passionate about he whole damn thing.

The problem is simple: We are dreamers. New years resolutions represent the dream of a new beginning. We see ourselves with more money, a perfect body and the partner of our dreams. We think the dream is the end result, when in truth; the dream starts far before that.

The dream starts on the first 1-mile jog where you quit half a block into it. It starts with the failed promotion of your brand new product that no one wants to buy or the rejection of the first woman (or man) that you ask on a date.  It includes doubt and fear. It includes rejection, ridicule and falling on your face over and over again.

What also comes with all of that is getting back up again. The dream continues far after your first, second or even third defeat. The heart of your dream you see, is your ability to persevere in the face of adversity because, rest assured, all successful people fail. What makes them successful is their ability to rise again and again while keeping on their relentless quest to walk forward in the direction of what they truly want.

When I fought, I would jog almost daily. Roadwork, as it is called in the fight world is the foundation of most fighters regime, but not necessarily just for conditioning. I would use my jogging time to train my mind for the upcoming fight. While my breath was labored from the fatigue of pounding the pavement, I would visualize my fight. I saw myself stepping into the ring with my opponent. I pictured the perfect fight where the stars aligned and everything went my way. I also pictured things going horrifically wrong. I pictured every scenario imaginable as my physiology synched up with my psychology, breathing life into my vision with every thought and every step on my run to success. In the end, I would always picture myself with my hand raised, no matter how good or bad my imagination made the fight. I would sprint at the end of my jog and physically raise my head and hands to the sky in triumph as the image of beating my opponent perfectly coupled my full on effort ant the end of my roadwork.

My point is this: In order to be successful in anything that you do you have to be passionate about the process. You have to mentally practice how difficult it may be to obtain what you want daily so much that the struggle is second nature and worth it. You have to love how much it will hurt as much as you love the result because your passion includes the beginning, the end and the unforeseen future after your achievement.

So when you dream about your goals, do yourself a service. Do not cheat your passion by merely thinking about the end result. Dream about all of it. Be passionate about the whole damn thing, and let that passion carry you towards what you want.


1310, 2014

Log Off to Log In

October 13th, 2014|Blog|

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My favorite past time just so happens to be my career. I travel around the U.S. and the world teaching seminars and certifying instructors in the art of Muay Thai, a kickboxing art from Thailand, and in my life coaching. Travelling and teaching is what I look forward to everyday. Through my journeys, I get to reach out and impact new people regularly. I get to positively influence people from all walks of life, while satisfying my desire for variety and adventure through visiting new places.

This past weekend, I was in Auburn, New York, teaching at one of my affiliate gyms. The school, Shogun MMA has become a second home for me. Kru Dave, the owner of the gym and one for my instructor candidates, has graciously opened his doors for me to teach. As a result, I have made new friends who have become more like family to me. I eagerly drove 9 hours from Norfolk, Virginia so I could share my knowledge and, more importantly, have fun with people that I love and cherish.

In preparation for my seminars, I spend a lot of time on the computer marketing for it. Social media has been a great way for me to share with the world my upcoming events. Through Face book, blogs, website posts and fan pages, I am able to tell my story of adventure and invite others to join me. I am a storyteller by nature (which is a nice way to say that I like to talk) Marketing allows me to do just that; tell my story to the world.

As a result, I find myself online more than I am in the classroom teaching. It takes diligence to keep your story current on social media, and often I have felt the burnout caused by staring into my Mac book daily. “Didn’t I get into martial arts to teach?” I remind myself. Is it worth it to me to spend the bulk of my days, blogging, tweeting and posting just so that I can teach?

My answer came to me as I ate dinner with my friends in Auburn. We had trained all day, and now the most important part of my trip was about to happen.

At dinner, we would talk about anything and everything. The importance of honest communication is the cornerstone of any successful seminar or training camp. Training has a unique way of bonding people. It allows us to open up and be more vulnerable which is the first step to building deep and meaningful relationships. We would talk about our hopes and dreams. We would laugh and sometimes cry together as we shared our deepest secrets within a circle of trust. More importantly, for the first time in a really long time, we would put our cell phones down. Blogging could wait till another day. The desire for instant recognition that comes from a “LIKE” of a post was replaced with something more long lasting and meaningful. It was replaced with true human connection; something that I feel this world needs more of.

We live in a world where social media has replaced true human bonding, but it does not have to be that way. Social media is a wonderful tool. It is a great way to share information and develop initial connections with people you may never meet otherwise. Ultimately however, our bonds with actual people will only come from face to face interaction. True relationships are built upon the touch a friend’s hand, a physical pat on the back, the sharing of a good laugh, or the opportunity to give someone a hug. We become chemically and physically connected to people by actually being WITH people. Though social media can spark initial excitement of a relationship, it is the physical presence of another that turns that spark into a lasting, smoldering flame.


609, 2014

Bringing honor back to martial arts

September 6th, 2014|Blog|

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I do not watch MMA as much anymore, and after the reports from last nights UFC, I remember why I do not watch it as much. I also remember why my focus has shifted to certifying instructors and leading leaders.

When a heavyweight contender dances over the body of his fallen opponent, when a middle-weight cannot perform due to the thoughts inside his own mind, and when a light-heavyweight who has been suspended for drug abuse twice in addition to currently being charged with aggravated assault with a firearm is allowed to come back to competing in the most elite organization in the world, their is clearly a problem occurring.

I love combat sports. As a retired fighter, it will always have a place in my heart. But the world does not need more fight coaches and fighters. The world needs leaders and martial artists. We need people to teach these young men and women how to be good people and to have self worth outside of their fight records and titles. We need true roll models, and we create them through coaching, mentoring and leadership.

Buck Grants Muay Thai University is on a mission to bring honor back to the martial arts. We are a university that emphasizes leadership development through the art of Muay Thai. We believe that who you become as a result of your fight is far more important than the fight itself. This view point is not shared by all of us in the fight world, and that is ok. We aren’t out to change the world. We are committed to changing those who desire positive change in their life both in and out of the ring.


1706, 2014

sparring like a dog

June 17th, 2014|Blog|

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Last week my girlfriend Liz and I adopted a 5 month old Beagle/Sheppard mixed puppy and named her Moksha. At a mere 20 pounds she is bursting with energy and although we are good at entertaining her, it’s clear that she is a dog who needs time with other dogs. We’ve had several friends already say that they want set up play dates with us, it was really just about who’s schedules would come together first.

           After having pizza with Liz’s family, we invited her sister Kate, brother-in-law Nick, and their 60-pound, 2-year old pit-bull Sheba over to our house for a meeting with Moksha. Now I know what you are probably thinking. Why would we bring a 60-pound Pitt over to play with a little puppy? I wondered that myself as this muscle bound tank of a dog came lumbering into our home this past weekend. I thought that this encounter could end one of two ways. Either they get along wonderfully, or Sheba would eat our little Moksha for dinner.

Soon after they walked in, I noticed the distinct similarity between our pups meeting and, of course, martial arts. After all, dogs play fight in order to learn how to hunt prey and to protect their masters. Martial Artists spar, or simulate combat in order to learn how to fight in a ring or on a battlefield.

Their playing reminded me of a common scenario: Two students meeting to spar for the first time with one another. One is a new, nervously anxious pup, the other is a seasoned, salty pit-bull of a veteran. As I watched our little Moksha bark and nip at the heels of Sheba, It reminded me of how less experienced students spar. They move unsurely, overreacting to every punch and kick thrown their way. They usually don’t mean any harm. Like a puppy, they don’t know any better. It is my job as a coach to ensure them that they are safe and to remind them to relax, just like it is my responsibility as a Moksha’s owner to calm her when she is over-aggressive with the clearly larger Sheba.

Conversely, I watched Sheba excitingly answer the enthusiasm of our little four legged fur child. While wagging her tail and barking, Sheba eagerly and happily pounced at Moksha. The problem was that Sheba wanted to play with Moksha as if she were a big dog like her. When Moksha nipped at her, Sheba immediately nipped back, not realizing that she is way bigger than her little counterpart. Often seasoned fighters do the same with newbies. They start off light with their exchanges back and forth, until the rookie hits them harder than expected. This triggers the veteran practitioner to swing back harder than they should, as if they were sparring with another pro rather than a new amateur. Once again, as a coach, it is my responsibility to remind the advanced fighter to bring the intensity down a few notches when the pressure escalates. Nick, Sheba’s “dad”, held onto her leash the entire time that the two dogs played. He would pull on her harness when she got too excited, reminding her that Moksha is just a puppy who doesn’t know any better. Similarly, as a coach, I find myself having to metaphorically reign in more advanced students who are working with beginners.

In my Sparring Courses we address the roles of the beginner, intermediate and advanced practitioner. I teach, “Drills for Skills” that allow student’s of all levels to learn, progress and grow quickly while keeping everyone safe. Parameters are set to avoid the puppy dog or the pit-bull scenario so that fighters essentially learn how to play rather than “fight.” Simply put, my students spar like my dogs, and they are better off because of it.


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