Selflessness; the act of serving for the greater good of others’ benefit. Military service members, undoubtedly, have showcased the charitable initiative for protecting and serving their country. Their philanthropic efforts continue in their transition to civilian life, as they use their military experience to uplift and aid their residential community and beyond.
In the lone star state of Texas, one man works endlessly providing assistance to his community. Brian Marvin is the head instructor of the Renzo Gracie Houston academy. A third degree BJJ black belt, Marvin is a retired veteran with over 20 years of active duty in the Army. His charity work doesn’t stop there, as Marvin also takes involvement with “We Defy Foundation”, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of disabled military service members through the use of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and physical fitness training.
In this exclusive interview, we at MYMMANEWS showcase the journey and charitable contributions of Brian Marvin.
There is unique selflessness when one decides to join the military. 20-year army veteran, what makes your service to your country meaningful?
Brian Marvin: I needed direction. I was a good kid, just immature. I had a scholarship to wrestle at a Division 1 school and went until I dropped out. I wanted to do something fun and exciting. I didn’t want to be trapped in the same place and never get out and explore. So, I decided to join the Army. What I found was so much more. Being able to serve my country was just the tip of the iceberg.
Somewhere along your military journey, you found a love for combative sports, including Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Share with us how Brazilian Jiu-jitsu entered your life?
Brian Marvin: Really, it was well before that. I had wrestled since the 6th grade and was wrestling and coaching wrestling immediately before starting Jiu-Jitsu. How it began was I wanted to get back into competing, and for a person in their early 30’s there weren’t a lot of wrestling opportunities, and submission grappling was the next best thing and actually better, I found. I ended up fighting MMA 8 times on the local level, PCS’d in the Army to a town with Gi Jiu-Jitsu, took the last fight, stopped MMA, and started training Gi.
The military can undoubtedly help in your professional and personal growth. Yet, how has Brazilian Jiu-jitsu assisted?
Brian Marvin: Jiu-Jitsu has assisted by clearing my mind. Life in the Army wasn’t always stressful, and having an outlet like Jiu-Jitsu was a tremendous outlet for me.
You took this newfound passion for grappling Martial Arts and transformed it into a full-time career as the head BJJ instructor at your academy, Renzo Gracie Houston. How do you tackle the role of being an instructor, and what makes the job enjoyable?
Brian Marvin: I love seeing the development of new students and especially the kids. The confidence Jiu- Jitsu instills is amazing.
There are vast similarities between the camaraderie formed in the military and BJJ. In your experience, is this statement factual?
Brian Marvin: 100% that is why organizations like The We Defy Foundation are so important. It takes Disabled Combat Veterans and gets them back into that team environment.
You are constantly finding ways to serve your fellow man, such as your involvement in the We Defy Foundation. What is your role in the We Defy Foundation?
Brian Marvin: I am currently just a volunteer supporter, but I was previously the President and have always been and will continue to be a supporter and advocate for the Foundation.
What is the process of helping military veterans, and have you seen positive results through the engagement?
Brian Marvin: I have. There have been countless veterans who either message me through social media or at tournaments that I met by conducting Fundraising Seminars throughout the United States.
Continually serving and personally growing, is there anything more you would like to accomplish?
Brian Marvin: Really, just try to continue to grow the Jiu-Jitsu Community and share what I know with others.
How would you like to be remembered?
Brian Marvin: That’s a tough question. I’d like to be remembered for my actions and what I helped others accomplish that they thought they couldn’t. When people look back, I hope it’s because I positively impacted countless lives, and I did it without ever wanting or needing anything in return.