Meet the team behind the scenes!
Dr. Jon Gelber:
The mastermind behind Grappler’s Heart! Dr. Gelber, aka,”The Fight Doctor” founded FightMedicine.net to promote MMA training, health, and fitness advice. Dr. Gelber is a doctor and columnist who writes for Fox Sports and the international MMA magazine Train Hard Fight Easy. His articles have also appeared on Sherdog, Bleacher Report, and Bloody Elbow. He can also be heard on MMA podcasts and radio stations. Dr. Gelber came to realize how grappling provided a positive outlet for people overcoming a disability and was astounded that there were no organizations out there to allow for a platform for these athletes to compete in. Theron, Grappler’s Heart was born.
Be sure to check out his website as it has a wealth of knowledge and sound advice!
Journalist by day, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner by night, Aaron Broverman is well versed and eloquent not just in his words but also on the mats! He explains that his “real challenge is overcoming a body that gets in my way and learning how to work with it under a new set of rules. Adaptation can be tricky when you don’t know what you don’t know and you’re not sure what your body can and can’t do yet, but I’m trying to listen to Professor Jorge Britto, who told me just last week, ‘Don’t try to adapt yourself to jiu-jitsu. Instead, let jiu-jitsu adapt itself to you.'”
A regular contributor to Vice’s Fightland, check out Aaron’s piece, “No Easy Life” as well as his piece on Adaptive Athletes in MMA.
For more of his great reads, head over to his website!
Do not let the braids and smile fool you, this gal can fight, and she wants to play too! Hailing from the UK, Gina Hopkins knows well that “being a female in male dominated sports is one thing. Being disabled but participating in a sport which is dominated by able bodied people is even more difficult. But being a disabled female in combat sports is just pure fun”! Her hope is that through Grappler’s Heart, perceptions will be challenged, and that the “next time you see a person with physical difficulties, you’ll wonder what they do and not what they can’t do”.
Check out her piece “Fighting for All” , featured from her sponsor Scramble!
Born into a Martial Arts family, Jen pretty much came kicking and rolling out of the womb. What started as a cultural tradition and hobby, became a sport, turned into a career of teaching children, furthered her education for Physical Therapy, and continues as a quest of altruism and responsibility. Her background in not just competing in tournaments, but also directing and building the Big Apple Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Open has helped the vision of Grappler’s Heart materialize. She is honored and grateful to be part of this movement and can’t wait to see this spirit of Martial Arts bring everyone together and build the community one Black belt at a time.
Kristen is the founder and head coach of Unlimited Possibilities Martial Arts, an organization with the sole purpose of introducing martial arts to people with special needs. By adapting techniques to meet the needs of each individual, she has been able to not only help her students improve physically, but mentally as well. The number one improvement she sees in her students is in their level of self confidence. Kristen is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the 2015 Pan Jiu Jitsu Champ.