D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The We Defy Foundation held a special seminar at the American Martial Art Academy in D'Iberville Saturday in an effort to raise funds and awareness of its mission - help military veterans transitioning into civilian life.
"We Defy is a foundation non-profit that takes veterans and gets them back into a team style atmosphere using the vehicle of Brazilian Jiujitsu," said board member Brian Marvin.
Marvin is the military relations liaison for We Defy. As an instructor, he travels around the country to find partners and participants to take part in the foundation's mission.
"I was in the Army for 20 years. When people get out of military service, they sometimes lose that camaraderie and team atmosphere that they've had for the past two, three, four, 20, 30 years," said Marvin. "One thing that Brazilian jujitsu does is it's got a team of people trying to make everyone better together."
Program participant and Navy Veteran Lisa Shackelford, says We Defy has taken her to new heights.
"I wouldn't have been able to train as consistently without We Defy," said Shackelford, "I've actually said I would never do competitions. Because of We Defy, I've been so inspired to do competitions and to take additional classes to help me out."
American Martial Art Academy owner Jim Fiore can see the difference being a We defy partner makes for his students.
"Our veterans that are in the We Defy program, we actually have five of them, all of them are very appreciative," Fiore said, "To them it's just saying, an organization saying thank you for your service, thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for going out there and protecting our freedom and protecting our borders."
Participants see the merit of We Defy, but for Marvin, it comes down to one main point.
"We're raising money to put back into the community and veterans to be able to come here and train and the foundation will pay for it," said Marvin.
To learn more about We Defy Foundation's mission, or to become a partner or participant, go to www.wedefyfoundation.org.