Bjj goons episode 52: lion heart initiative


“Anyone on the mats [training martial arts] is significantly less likely to

turn to crime or pick up an AK47 on behalf of some violent extremist
Prof. Kelly Grissom (BJJ Black Belt Instructor; Former US Marine Officer)

In these times of increasing social unrest and overwhelming feelings of public outrage, it is important to find safe spaces where people can come together and heal through the collective bond of unity and brotherhood.

That’s what jiu-jitsu is for most people.

This week on BJJ Goon Podcast we sat down to talk to a group of people that have been working to create sustainable jiu-jitsu programs on the Continent.

Lionheart Initiative director Ak Rupert alongside Vice-Chair Kelly Grissom from Koa BJJ in Virginia put us in touch with their West African director, Moustapha Diop who called in to talk to us from Senegal.

What Does the Lion Heart Initiative/ MMA4Africa Do?

-Between 2015-2018 they have organized 5 major tournaments.

-Sponsors the exchange of volunteer instructors to travel to Africa for free seminars.

– Collaborates with apparel companies to design high-quality equipment

-Connects with international corporations to secure sponsorship opportunities for African athletes.

-Compensates local coordinators and staff that manage operations.



What are their Goals for the Future? 

– Organize over 40 free public martial arts seminars in Africa.

– Provide African instructors with access to quality instruction and guidance to improve local leadership.


Follow them on Facebook and Instagram


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