From the victor’s epic tale to the outcast’s lament, the stories of life’s journey never cease. As biographies are built, the martial arts provide an unparalleled armor of honor, service, and courage to not just trudge through the valleys, but vanquish great mountains. Join us and witness the unconquerable spirit of incredible martial artists, whose journeys expand the vision of all who listen.
He’s one of the most respected coaches in MMA today. His school has produced competitors on TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter” and world champions such as Jon Jones and top-ranked contenders such as Clay Guida and Carlos Condit.
Not too many people realize Greg Jackson was bullied as a kid.
Raised in the south valley of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jackson grew up in a rough neighborhood.
“The poverty level was so high where I grew up, the kids in my neighborhood didn’t care about spending a night in a juvenile hall,” says Jackson. “The only thing that they respected was if you could beat them up – if you could fight. I wanted respect and I didn’t want to get picked on anymore. So that was my introduction into the world of combat.”
Over the years, Jackson developed his own style, which combined elements from jiu-jitsu, judo, kickboxing and wrestling. After starting his school in 1992, Jackson was encouraged to compete and showcase his talents. Team wins in Grappler’s Quest and the Pan American Games followed, as did his coaching career.
Not forgetting his roots, Jackson has continued to teach self-defense by establishing classes that address bullying.
“We have two gyms, one for professional fighters and one for self-defense. We also have a kid’s program that addresses bullying and teaches MMA techniques. It’s training that stresses the type of self-defense needed for the type of situation they’re facing. So the kids know when it’s appropriate to use and when it’s not.”
Regarding the topic of bullying, Jackson’s advice is straightforward.
“Use violence as a last resort. If you’re being bullied, tell teachers, tell grown-ups – use every method you can to stop it. When it comes to defending yourself, don’t give in, don’t curl up. Even if you get beat up every day. Keep fighting back. Bullies will always fade.”
Although Jackson continues to train and produce world-class fighters, his greatest joy comes from a simple aspect of teaching.
“I like the change in people,” says Jackson. “It’s great to see people come into my gym with no skill, and watch how confident they become. Martial arts affect other aspects of your life for the better. It’s very rewarding.”
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