I've been involved with martial arts since I was 16. Throughout the years I've been able to train with a variety of people, and it's helped me to learn a lot about limits and perception. A few years after starting Karate I began to learn Jiu Jitsu, and my world was forever changed as I found a sport in MMA that I could watch, follow, and learn ...and even better, there were no limitation, and age only meant a longer time to gain knowledge. In 2006 I got involved in the local martial arts world becoming invested in a small club with a friend/training partner/teacher. The goal was to provide a stable and respectable environment to allow those who were serious about training a place to learn, and giving back to the community with the hopes of furthering the local public's knowledge of MMA (with our club's primary focus being jiu jitsu). In 2008 we successfully became the first local club to join and internationally recognized jiu jitsu school with our affiliation to Eddie Bravo's 10 Planet Jiu Jitsu system. Throughout my time with the club we were able to utilize community connections to host and participate in various charity fund-raiser's; provide and support many youth and adults with a unique and informative place to train; and provide the jiu jitsu world with some great provincial champions (not bad for a small club of under 40 student when put up against the big schools).
While training one night in March 2009, I received an injury that would change my life again. A vigorous, yet improperly executed judo throw combined with my attempt to block said throw resulted in a complete knee dislocation. The peroneal nerve was severed resulting in drop foot, and my acl, lcl, and ocl were all torn to a point where recovery without surgery was not an option. I have since had surgery on my foot to allow for some movement, and am now waiting for knee surgery to correct what is possible. I can't say I've handled the entire time with grace, however my art has given me an amazing outlet to help the time go by, and I still love MMA and miss my ability to train. As such I wanted to do a MMA themed painting to both celebrate a sport I love, and to exploit a hobby I love, which resulted in my artistic tribute to UFC 129 in Toronto. The event is the first of it's kind in Ontario, and something that I'm happy to see occur after years of trying to convince people that MMA was here to stay, and was indeed more then just a sport for thugs, but instead a legitimate physical game of chess executed by athletes without peer.
The painting can be found here, along with my a write-up of its process: