I was born and raised in maple shade nj. I grew up with 3 older brothers that used to rough me up pretty good. I enjoyed lifting weights and also played sports like hockey, football and basketball. I did some wrestling but wasn’t a big fan of it. After high school I took a different path and started getting more involved in drinking and hanging out with the wrong crowds. I was always more concerned about friends and what people thought of me so I felt I had to let people know how tough I was. I would very rarely start fights but never would back down from one. My mentality was if you wanted to fight one of my friends you’d have to fight me too. Well that all caught up to me when I was 19. I was at a party drinking and hanging out and long story short some kids showed up after a argument on the phone. Before I knew it there was a fight about to break out and of course I was the one in front of the crowd like usual. All of sudden a guy pulled out a gun and shot me point blank from 15 feet away. I was so confused at first how someone could just shoot me. After bleeding out for a few minutes I got in my friends car and went to the hospital. After 8 hours of surgery and the doctors removing some intestines and patching my bladder up I was alive. The next two years were very hard for me. I couldn’t do much. I didn’t know what to do with my life but finally I started lifting weights and slowly I got stronger and stronger. I became a fan of mixed martial arts and I kept saying I wanted to try it. I put it off for a whole year and one day I said screw it I’m going to check out a school. I set up an appointment at Njma. I went in the next day and did an intro. I was hooked from there. I mainly just wanted a good workout but it started doing some much more for me. I found myself getting choked and beat up by a lot smaller people. I couldn’t believe that I was so confident before in getting in street fights. It made me want to learn more and more. Martial arts has not only humbled me but has made me a secure man. I no longer have to prove how tough I am. I’m confident in myself now. Not only am I confident that I can handle myself if I had to defend myself but I’m confident in situations I may not feel comfortable in. It’s taught me the value of my life. Martial arts has been a vehicle for developing my whole life. It’s fun, and I get to meet all kinds of people. It’s Motivating that somebody could take your life in a second with their bare hands and if you’re not prepared then there is not a damn thing you can do about it. Most people have no idea of how vulnerable they really are. There is no tapping out in the streets. You have to be able to know how to get out of positions and defuse situations. These are just some things that martial arts has done for me. I recommend everyone to try it out. You never how much it could change your life.
Talks about NJMA Instructor Shane Stride