Adam Kastner is someone that has had a rough past. From losing his mother to suicide and dealing with betrayal from his past friends due to their theft and even his own suicide attempt.
With a dark history it can be challenging to find the motivation to pick yourself back up and regain happiness but thanks to jiu-jitsu, it has helped him cure his depression and through this community, he has managed to make new friends and become a better role model for his son as well. Adam is something special as he did something for others that most won't. You will understand how kind-hearted this man is when you learn about what he did for others while he was just a teen in high school.
Stories like this remind you that no matter how horrible your past may be, you can still be a good person and help others. Make sure to read the full article as you will gain inspiration and learn from Adam's tenacity to keep fighting through whatever pain you may be experiencing.
I No Longer have Depression Thanks To BJJ | Adam Kastner's Story
Submission Shark Community | Instagram: @adamkastnerbjj
Full Name: Adam Kastner
Belt Colour: white 4 stripe
Professor: formerly Greg Nelson, now James Clark
Short Term Goals: Some of my short-term goals are to become a blue belt as I didn’t get to test at my last school. Also to become more athletic, and be healthier overall.
How long have you been doing jiu-jitsu for?
Where do you train out of?
Formerly the Academy mn, now I train out of Valhalla combat in Fridley.
Do you prefer gi or no gi?
I’ve come to love nogi grappling as it’s taught me to rely on my technique more to get the subs done.
Have your instructors helped you in other aspects of life other than jiu-jitsu?
My instructors have helped me in other aspects of my life, such as building confidence in myself, learning to trust my abilities, and how to overcome stressful situations without becoming stressed.
What are some lessons you learned from jiu-jitsu that applies to everyday life?
To be patient, to wait for the right opportunity to strike, to be calm in the face of chaos, to be able to thoroughly think things through before doing them.
How often do you train?
I try to train 3 days a week minimum
What made you want to start training?
A small story about me is that I was adopted at 5 days old. I’ll never know my bio father, and by the time I turned 15 I found out my bio mother committed suicide. Due to those circumstances, I would stick up for kids in school that was getting bullied. In return, I started getting bullied and wasn’t able to adequately defend myself so around age 18 I started slowly martial arts journey. Mind you I had 10 years of wrestling at that time and That was 8 years ago, then 4 years ago I jiu-jitsu and have been in love with it ever since!
Do you plan on training your whole life?
I do plan on training my whole life
What’s it about jiu-jitsu that makes it so addicting?
I think it’s the true sense of friendship and family you get each time your rolling as you bump fists, get sweaty and tap each other out, then slap hands and do it all over again. Then after training, you laugh and joke with your training partners and talk about how your rolls went!
What has jiu-jitsu done for your physical health?
When I started jiu-jitsu I had been out of wrestling for quite some time and had gotten out of shape started around 180 lbs and I now stand at about 160 and a lot more fit.
Has jiu-jitsu benefited your mental health?
Jiu-jitsu has played a huge benefit to my mental health. I was headed down the same path as my bio mother, And when I was 17 I tried to end my life... luckily for me, I was unsuccessful. Jiu-jitsu has made me value life, gotten me out of the house, away from partying and drugs, and has shown me how at home you feel in the gym. I no longer have depression due to Jiu-jitsu.
If you could restart your jiu-jitsu journey, would you do anything different?
If I could restart my jiu-jitsu career I would start way earlier than I did.
What’s your advice for someone that’s never tried jiu-jitsu before but is interested in trying it?
My advice is how will you know if you like something if you never try it, most gyms have a free trial period. I would recommend going there and taking a few classes and I’m sure you will fall in love with the sport and the people as much as I have.
Do you have any aspirations in jiu-jitsu?
To become a black belt one day and open up my own gym and teach kids and people one day.
What’s your favourite move?
Currently, since doing a lot of no-gi, my favourite move would have to be the Peruvian necktie.
If you didn’t discover jiu-jitsu, where do you think you’d be now?
I would probably either be in a grave, in jail or out partying and doing stupid things like a lot of 26-year-olds out there are.
Check out Alex Baker and Justin Bachman's Story and learn how jiu-jitsu helped them stay out of trouble and find a positive outlet in life. Click on the images above!
Would you like to see the sport become more mainstream?
I would love to see bjj become more mainstream, hopefully, one day we can be watching matches on the tv just like ufc and other martial arts shows.
Have any of your training partners pushed you to reach your full potential?
Yes, I have had a few that have pushed me to be my best the two that I could name would be Matt Halverson out of the academy and then Damion Hill and Jonah Ruby out of Valhalla combat.
When you were first starting, what was the most challenging concept of jiu-jitsu that you had trouble getting?
How to move my body in certain ways to lock a tight submission, I wasn’t always the most flexible and had to find. Way to move my body to the right positions to get the sub to work, however slowly over time through a lot of stretching I’ve become more flexible.
What makes you want to inspire and motivate others?
I’ve had a rough life, and if someone like me can be happy and confident and exuberate greatness into others that would make me the most happiness, I want to show people they can get through the storm if they just learn to dance in the rain.
Life just gets better and better never let anyone tell you what you can and can't be
Was there a difficult moment in your life where jiu-jitsu helped you get through it? If so, please explain.
My mother’s passing and me trying to take my own life, I still reminisce about those to events every day in my head wondering what I could have done differently. If it wasn’t for jiu-jitsu I don’t think I could have overcome those two events alone, let alone any other major obstacles that have come up in my life. Jiu-jitsu gave me resilience.
When we first spoke on social media you explained that you used to get into altercations with bullies and even got bullied yourself for standing up against them when they attacked others.
What made you want to stand up for others? and explain your mentality when you watched others being victimized by bullying.
I was always smaller than other people, but I had a big attitude and an even bigger heart and hated seeing people that couldn’t defend themselves get picked on and get hurt. While almost everyone would just stand around and watch. It made me sick to my stomach that no one would stand up for them just like when I got bullied all I wanted was for someone to stand up for me! So when I saw others getting bullied it infuriated me and I always did and always still will stand up for someone getting bullied.
Do you think schools should do more to prevent bullying?
I do. Right now I see too many bullies get away with a slap on the wrist while these kids go home day in and day out not speaking about their problems, not reaching out, not getting help and in return there’s a lot of kids with depression suicidal thoughts and worse some kids actually commit suicide due to bullying. I feel like a bully should be given a 3 strike rule 1 strike detention 2 strikes suspension and the final strike expulsion.
Are jiu-jitsu and martial arts good ideas for parents to put their kids in? Why or why not? Would you put your son into martial arts when he is older?
Absolutely! it will teach your kids respect, how to be humble, confidence, and self-reliability along with teaching them how to react in a stressful environment. And I absolutely want to put my son in martial arts when he gets older so I would recommend it for any parent out there.
What was it like having a child? Has this experience changed your mentality/outlook on life?
It’s the most blessed feeling anyone could ever experience. Life has completely changed but the tools and values I’ve learned through jiu-jitsu have helped me be a better father to my son, and my outlook on life is now even more so as a protector, and a guide for my son to learn from.
What would you tell someone that has lost a loved one recently and is having troubles finding their happiness and motivation?
It seems like you will never get over that pain, but I promise you things do get better. The first year is the hardest, keep pushing forward and don’t be afraid to ask people for help, you never know that person that’s helps you may change your life!
Click The Image Above!
What caused you to have your suicide attempt at 17?
I was in a very dark place, my mom had committed suicide 2 years prior and it was still fresh in my mind, then I had a party at my house with some “so-called friends” while my parents were out of town. Little did I know that night would change my life forever.
The next morning I woke up my parents got home and we found out that those so-called friends robbed my family of $2000 cash that my mom and dad were saving for a trip to Florida for all of us.
At that point, I went into a complete Downward spiral feeling that all this was my fault. So two days later I grabbed 2 bottles of pills each bottle containing 250 pills and I downed both bottles. I luckily escaped with my life.
What did you do to change your mentality to a more positive one?
How I changed my mentality was through martial arts and being in a positive environment, by talking with others by sharing my problems, my problems seemed to go away that’s why I always say don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Could you please explain why it's wrong to bully others and the type of damage it can do to someone?
People don’t understand what others may already be going through when you pick on someone they could be having problems at home they could have lost a family member recently, you never know. It’s wrong to pick on someone just to try to feel bigger than them when in reality I’m sure the people bullying are just looking for an outlet to express themselves and haven’t been given the proper methods to express. It can cause kids and adults depression, anxiety/ panic disorders it can cause suicide and all it does is hurt people. What’s great about that?
Where do you think bullying comes from? A lack of attention, insecurity, no positive outlets?
I firmly believe it’s a lack of positive outlets, on top of that it’s influenced by home life and even friends.
What would you tell someone that is going through a rough time and is thinking about ending their life?
I would say stop sit back and think about it. Ending your life is not worth it in any way shape or form, it’s selfish and your only gonna hurt a ton of people around that care about you.
According to WHO, approximately one million people commit suicide each year worldwide, which is about one death every 40 seconds or 3,000 per day. One of those people could be someone you care about and it's up to all of us to make sure no one feels that way. Tragedy and accidents happen and sometimes we can't prevent them but suicide can be prevented with a loving helping hand. Sometimes telling a friend you care about them or just being a shoulder to cry on can save a life. You can never truly understand what someone may be going through. Remember that every action has a reaction, you can choose to create a positive or negative atmosphere. Listen carefully to those that may be in pain and try your best to help them.
Suicide attempts are difficult to talk about and I'd like to thank you, Adam, for sharing your story with us. I'm sorry for those that have betrayed you in the past. I know it can be difficult to trust that there are good people in the world after experiencing that but look in the mirror and you will see that they still exist. There are sick people in this world but it's up to you to counter that with kindness and to create a beautiful and peaceful world for your child and the future generations to come. Keep living your dreams and enjoying your passions. Don't stop being the kind person that you are and I know your mom is proud of you.
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