How I Turned A Loss of a Loved One Into A Lesson | Kamilio Oliveras' Story
Submission Shark Community | Instagram: @Oliverasbjj
Full Name:Kamilio Ulyssis Oliveras
Belt Colour: Blue
Short Term Goals: Compete on Rise Invitational, Onnit Invitational, and Fight2Win Pro.
Jiu-Jitsu is one of the best martial arts for controlling an aggressive opponent without inflicting damage. In today's society, many people feel the need to carry lethal weapons as a form of self-defense, this includes law enforcement. Recently there has been a lot of debate over police brutality and unreasonable use of force against potential criminals. Although this issue is complicated and can come from more than just a lack of self-defense training, learning how to properly defend yourself is critical for both civilians and police officers.
Kamilio has lost someone close to him at an early age due to this problem and instead of adding hatred filled fuel to this debate, he decides to offer solutions. He is a tough person that experienced some traumatic events of his own and through jiu-jitsu, he has gained a new found confidence and many other benefits as well. Learn about his journey and join the discussion by leaving a comment with your thoughts on the matter and makes sure to share this article. It could just save someone's life!
How long have you been doing jiu-jitsu for?
About 4 and a half years
Where do you train out of?
Broome County Martial Arts (BCMA) in Binghamton, NY
Have your instructors helped you in other aspects of life other than jiu-jitsu?
Tamdan is my instructor, mentor, and friend. The guy does it all. He's shown me that no matter the odds, just keep showing up, work hard, and have fun. Success will come later.
What are some lessons you learned from jiu-jitsu that applies to everyday life?
Jiujitsu has humbled me in every way. Everyone is a tough guy until you get choked senseless by a 115lb woman.
How often do you train?
4-5 times a week unless I have a busy work week.
What made you want to start training?
I suppose it all happened back around 5 years ago when I was robbed at gunpoint. It was about 3 am outside of our local mall. 5 gunmen came around the corner and took all of my cash and pistol whipped me on the head. Gave me a pretty nice battle scar 😂.
I thought to myself a thousand times, what could I have possibly done? And the answer was nothing. Then I thought "well what if they didn't have guns?" I would have gotten my ass kicked! Even if it was 1 on 1, I didn't know how to fight. So it was then I decided I want to learn how to fight. Sure enough, a few weeks later I returned to the mall and at the time, my current academy was located in the mall. I just happened to stumble upon them and the rest is history.
Do you plan on training your whole life?
As long as my body will allow me!
What’s it about jiu-jitsu that makes it so addicting?
I think it's just a part of nature. We have always been a very primitive species and everyone wants to be the Alpha. There's nothing that says "Alpha" more than choking the life out of someone until they submit to you. It's an invigorating experience. I feel that in today's society, we have to suppress a significant majority of our feelings in everyday life because its considered too aggressive or poor/rude behavior and when you train Jiujitsu you are allowed to let those emotions run rampant, in a controlled manner of course. It's therapeutic, to say the least.
I suppose the biggest reason for me is the community. The academy is my second family. Just knowing that everyone has each other back, it's a beautiful thing. I believe the energy that you bring into a room dictates the way people react to you and when everyone is giving off positive energy, it makes for an amazing experience.
Its helped me in numerous ways. The most noticeable was my weight. I've dropped 25lbs and have kept it off since. My flexibility and range of motion have increased immensely. The list goes on but those two are very notable.
The picture to the left was me a little over 2 years ago I was 190lbs at 5'7. I was unhappy, lazy, and disgusted with myself. But I'm not the one to roll over and die and just be okay with being fat and unhealthy for the rest of my life. I made a promise to myself that day that I would stop the BULLSHIT excuses and get up off my lazy ass and start grinding. In just 3 months I busted my fucking ass because I knew the ONLY way I was gonna be happy was if I committed to this and dropped the weight. All said and done I lost 43lbs WITH a fulltime job. It wasn't easy but it's not supposed to be... Nothing in life is supposed to be easy. That doesn't mean you just role over and die, that's not how you get what you want. To get what you want, you have to focus and believe that you can achieve what you want. Then you bust your ass all day everyday until you get what you want. I'm not here to show off in here to inspire. And for the people who inspired me I'm thankful for @kevinlisakfitness@kalittoYAF
Has jiu-jitsu benefited your mental health?
I was very insecure, no confidence, depressed, you name it. I can't exactly explain why but after I started training Jiujitsu, my self-confidence skyrocketed!
Everyone was so kind to me and was willing to help with any problems I was having. I started to socialize and make friends which helped with my depression as well.
If you could restart your jiu-jitsu journey, would you do anything different?
probably not... okay maybe practice my fundamentals a little more haha.
What’s your advice for someone that’s never tried jiu-jitsu before but is interested in trying it?
Just do it and keep showing up. That's all you have to do, the rest will fall into place.
For those of you who don't know anything about bjj (or "karate" as some of you called it). BJJ stands for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It's traditionally a Japanese grappling art form that focuses on leverage and angles to either choke and or break a joint/limb of an opponent so they can no longer continue to fight. So no they don't teach you to strike the opponent. The whole thought process behind BJJ was to prove that you didn't have to hurt someone to beat them. You could simply control them and make them beg you to not hurt them, hence the name "Jiujitsu" which translates to "The Gentle Art".
Now a lot of people say to me "Kam you've been doing this for a while now, you must be close to blackbelt huh?" Well, unlike most disciplines, BJJ on average takes 8-10 years to receive your black belt. It takes around 2-3 years to get to blue then another 2-3 years for each rank after that. So to answer your question no I'm not close, I'm currently at blue. But time is just a man-made object. It won't get in my way and it will ALWAYS pass. Oss!
Do you have any aspirations in jiu-jitsu?
I'm just shooting for the best possible version of myself that I can possibly be.
What’s your favoritemove?
inside heel hooks are fun!
What made you want to start incorporating yoga and breathing techniques into your routine? Has it benefited your jiu-jitsu game?
I watched a documentary called "Choke", it was about Rickson Gracie and I figured if one of the greatest jiu-jitsu practitioners of all time is doing yoga and all of these different breathing exercises, then I should probably try it huh? Controlled breathing is imperative for JiuJitsu, being comfortable in uncomfortable situations. So if you get put in a bad spot and you're freaking out and trying to explode out of all of these positions, chances are you're just wasting valuable air.
If you didn’t discover jiu-jitsu, where do you think you’d be now?
Probably in the same spot as I'm in now... Just not NEARLY as happy!
Would you like to see the sport become more mainstream?
Yes, however, I don't want to see it ruined as they did to Judo.
Have any of your training partners pushed you to reach your full potential?
One of my main training partners Dylan played a HUGE role in my development as a white belt. I knew he was really good so I made it a point to roll with him after class any chance I could get. After countless times getting tapped over the years, I finally was able to give him a run for his money! He still beats me up though haha
When you were first starting, what was the most challenging concept of jiu-jitsu that you had trouble getting?
I think grip fighting and elevation, which kind of go hand-and-hand. But those were two things that were very hard to understand because there's no single "move" that just makes it all work. There's a lot of nuances that come with it. Understanding what grips do what and why you're gripping in the first place, using grips to help close the distance and assist with elevation. It's a common misconception that elevation is just using your legs and trapping one of the arms. but in all actuality, its simply getting ear to ear with your opponent. You can have whatever grip you want, but if their weight is not shifted towards you and your head is far away from theirs, you're not going to elevate anyone. The easiest way to do that is through getting good grips! Once I learned that I found a lot more success in my JiuJitsu overall.
Was there a difficult moment in your life where jiu-jitsu helped you get through it? If so, please explain.
When you step on those mats, you no longer have time to think about anything else. Someone else is trying to rip your limbs off or strangle you unconscious. I think that's why I value Jiujitsu so much. My mind goes blank, all my problems go away from the time my feet hit the mats and from when I step off. It reminds me a lot of when I use to play music to ease my mind. It's very therapeutic.
What makes you want to inspire and motivate others?
I was inspired by others and I know how much it has helped me. I just want to do the same for someone who might look up to me.
Please explain what happened to your father and how it has affected your outlook on life?
My father was shot and killed by a police officer when I was a young boy. I was a little too young to ever remember him, all I have are pictures and some of his work clothes. My father's death was unjust. He was no threat to the officer and was unarmed. As I grew older and was able to understand what happened, I never really felt any kind of anger or rage. Of course, I was sad that I lost my father at such a young age, but I didn't hate the police for it. Instead, I tried going through what that officer was thinking when it happened. Why would he use lethal force without hesitation?
I eventually realized how unprepared he was for that situation. Then I thought, well most officers are not adequately trained for those types of situations. I feel the lack of self-confidence and sheer knowledge is the source of the problem. Our police officers are not getting the proper training for how dangerous of a job they have. Once I started training Jiujistu and realized the effectiveness of it, I decided that I wanted to start my own non-profit organization to help officers pay for BJJ training. I always want it to be available for them. BJJ should never be your first option, but it will always be your best last option.
Do you feel like police officers get unfair hate in the eyes of the general public?
Anywhere you go there will always be bad eggs. To take that individuals actions and group them with everyone that has the same profession as him/her is unfair. Its very easy to point the blame at the police because, in any given situation, they only have one shot to get it right. They are either going to be a hero or hated because they screwed up.
Recently there has been a huge divide in opinion between police brutality and unfair treatments of civilians. Do you think this whole movement was useful in creating discussion or bad in creating a stigma towards law enforcement?
I would say both. I feel its probably done more harm than good. But at the same time when these officers are blatantly abusing their power, they need to be held accountable for their actions.
What can people from both sides of the argument do to find common ground and have peace towards each other?
Take a walk in each other's shoes.
Do you think police officers should get a more significant punishment for using deadly force in nonlife-threatening situations?
100% but more importantly, they need to be trained better to avoid these types of situations altogether.
Could you please explain how martial arts and jiu-jitsu could be beneficial for the men and women in this type of work?
Well to successfully put a resisting assailant in cuffs, you'd generally have to get them to the ground. A martial art that is specifically designed to overcome a stronger and bigger opponent on the ground would be ideal would it not? This can all be done with minimal to NO damage to the attacker. It's the most logical choice for the job, in my opinion.
How did you manage to resist having resentment towards police officers after what had happened to your father?
I don't think I ever had to "resist" because I thought logically about the situation. If someone makes a mistake on the job I don't automatically blame everyone else on that job for that person's mistake. Especially if that job involves high-pressure situations, people are bound to make mistakes.
If you could send a message to the police officer that shot your father, what would you say?
I'm sorry you were ever put in that position and I just wish you were better prepared.
If you could send your father a message, what would you tell him?
I never got to say I love you. So I love you, dad.
What is your nonprofit organization called and how can people support the cause?
It's still in its development stage. There's a lot of working parts to it and I haven't been able to work on it as much as I'd like recently. But as soon as I figure everything out, you'll be hearing from me!
Thank you, Kamilio, for sharing your story with us and adding meaningful discussions to this debate. I hope others can learn from your tragic events and gain the inspiration to start learning jiu-jitsu or some form of self-defense.
I think it's impressive how you decided to look for solutions rather than revenge. This type of clear thinking is rare and you should be proud of yourself and others can learn from this type of behavior. The amount of growth you experienced is tremendous and evident as I scroll through your Instagram account, you seem much healthier, happier and confident. I'm happy you found this art and you are another example of how jiu-jitsu changes you for the better.
Kamilio makes an excellent point and I am happy that he brought it up. He mentions that you shouldn't group everyone due to an individual person's mistake. This is where a lot of hate towards certain groups stems from. It's important to understand both sides of the story and see problems from multiple viewpoints. This story below is a perfect example of how it doesn't matter what uniform you have on or what the color of your skin is. It's about doing the right thing as an individual.
Police officers have some of the hardest jobs, dealing with terrible events and horrific scenes on a daily basis. The ones that do their job and respect their authority without abusing it are real heroes. Some people will want them dead just for wearing that badge so it's understandable that police officers may be quick to pull the trigger in self-defense.
However, police brutality is something to be aware of as it does happen and I agree with kamilio, they need to be held accountable for their actions. Learning jiu-jitsu should be a great reason to prevent this from happening in some cases. It's an excellent tool for both law enforcement and people going down the wrong path and should be promoted as a healthy alternative to crime and police brutality as it teaches discipline and self-control.
Check out this article about how jiu-jitsu can prevent people from going down that path. Click the image above!
Everyone involved has to make better choices to prevent tragedies from happening and this includes civilians. We need to remember that law enforcement is working for the better safety of civilians and not to create fear and intimidation from them. Remember that law enforcement is a target for many true criminals and they will be on guard and quick to defend themselves, even if it's by lethal force.
It's important to report abuse of power but it's also important to know how to not provoke that type of behavior. Understanding how to calm a police officer and follow instructions can prevent an unnecessary tragedy. This documentary is an excellent resource for learning how to prevent unlawful behavior from police and prevent wrongful imprisonment. On top of that, it sheds some light on a dark and outdated system. In America, the prison system is based on greed, hate and corruption. I highly recommend you watch this full documentary.
The jiu-jitsu community is filled with creative and progressive thinkers. I am happy to be in a position where I can share essential discussions. Progress starts with education and learning is what we do best.
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