At some point in your life, you have experienced pain. Whether it be physical or emotional, pain is something that no one escapes. It can be caused by physical injury or emotional stressors. It may be temporary or chronic in nature. It can be sharp, achy or dull. It can be so excruciating that our bodies and minds collapse from distress and exhaustion. Some individuals live with pain everyday that is so great, the rest of the world seems to fade away until we are completely cognizant of how much we hurt. In many cases, most onlookers would never even recognize that someone they know feels that way. Pain that is not visibly observed is usually the most dangerous. Many people manage this type of pain in different ways, looking for methods to cope, ease or cease its continuance.
Tiger Schulmann’s mixed martial arts (TSMMA) has been a place of refuge for many individuals looking to rebuild their lives from traumatic and stressful events that have impacted their health and happiness. Although most students join the kickboxing classes to lose weight and relieve stress, many enter the doors plagued by the pain of depression, addiction and rape. The martial arts component of the TSMMA program is the keystone to its success. A kickboxing class is never simply about coming in to defend yourself or get in shape, but to establish structure and discipline that will eventually carry over into your life. There are several students (which remain anonymous) who have gained such attributes and continue to build on a foundation that was once desolate and damaged.
“Some individuals live with pain everyday that is so great, the rest of the world seems to fade away until we are completely cognizant of how much we hurt.”
Romelio Vargas is one such student who feels it is important to share his story of how he overcame his painful journey with addiction and maintained his sobriety with kickboxing. At the age of 65, Romelio is the oldest active student training at the TSMMA Vails Gate location. His quiet and professional demeanor on the mat would never indicate that addiction had impacted his life. Like many young men drafted in the Vietnam War, Romelio was proud to serve his country and was sent to various parts of the world. During a time when marijuana and alcohol were both prevalent and acceptable means for social engagement and coping during wartime, Romelio managed to avoid the temptation of drugs and alcohol while overseas. However once he returned home, he was exposed to a new life that would test his resilience to change and his resistance to temptation.
He began spending his paychecks on alcohol and ultimately progressed to marijuana and cocaine. Although the threats of addiction continued to rise, Romelio managed to mask his internal struggles with a somewhat stable lifestyle through marriage, the birth of his son and becoming a homeowner. In addition to dealing with the common pressures of everyday life, Romelio’s addiction began to catch up and increase the weight of his stressors causing personal pain and suffering that took over his life. He began selling drugs to support the cost of his addiction, and ultimately being arrested for DWI is what liberated him from the everyday pain of being an addict.
Beginning a rehabilitative program was standard and necessary for Romelio to overcome his addiction. “I thank God for teaching me a lesson and I also thanked the officer who pulled me over.” Romelio has been sober for 27 years and prides himself on the fact that his daughter has never seen the effects of his addiction and that his marriage has lasted 37 years.
“TSMMA is my sanctuary. I can leave my troubles outside. This is ‘ME’ time.”
Although Romelio’s addiction and sobriety predate his start with TSMMA in 2004, his decision to join was fueled by the need to supplement the support he receives from his sponsor and alcoholics anonymous meetings. “TSMMA has helped me continue to replace bad habits with good ones and improve my self-discipline with kickboxing classes.” Romelio feels that although there are many other outlets, TSMMA has been the most successful in helping him get through bad days. “It is my sanctuary. I can leave my troubles outside. This is “ME” time.”
Many of the students who have joined TSMMA to overcome their struggles have managed to maintain their self-discipline and heal their bodies through kickboxing. But TSMMA offers much more than just the kickboxing workout for your body. It has become a necessary outlet for many individuals struggling with all types of pain, ranging from mental and emotional afflictions to addiction or traumatic events. It is an outlet for the mind to organize, expand and heal in times of turmoil. Although kickboxing is no substitute for rehabilitative and therapeutic treatment, the TSMMA program has been a key supplement for individuals seeking a path to physical wellness, an intimate group of supportive peers, a motivational boost for the mind, and a healthy challenge. TSMMA prides themselves in providing a comfortable and secure environment for every student that passes through their doors. It is a safe space meant to impart trust and hope in those seeking assistance to overcome their fear, insecurities, anxieties and vulnerabilities. It is the expectation that our program assists students in coping and helps them succeed in managing whatever ails them.
If you are looking for a way to change your life and empower yourself to be the person you were meant to be, sign up for a FREE trial class at a TSMMA location near you.
By Lauren Rose