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Martial Arts Inspiring Story - Jason Miller - Katharo Training Center

By Created: July, 2017 - Modified: November, 2019

My name is Jason Miller, and . Since this is a contest I am sure most of the emails submissions are going to start out with that, but it was one of my saving graces as I am fighting cancer at this time in my life.

I was diagnosed with testicular cancer on 11/12/2010. I had no lumps, no prior warning, nothing. I actually thought it was kidney stones as it hurt to urinate, and my girlfriend took me to the hospital. After an ultrasound, CT scan, and blood work it was confirmed I had testicular cancer.

At that point, I had to have surgery to have a testicle removed as most testicular cancer is the kind that can kill you. It was then I began treatment with chemo and that was everyday for 8 hours a day for 9 weeks. That didn't clear up the cancer, and I then had to have a RPLND surgery to remove the rest, where they found two tumors on the head of my pancreas, which they biopsied and found activity but not enough to warrant more treatment. The biopsy put holes in the head of my pancreas so as a side effect of that, I have pancreatitis which essentially means my pancreas leaks digestive fluid into my body. Through all this though I have stuck with BJJ.

Physical and Mental Health
I have always been physically fit, but I have had 7 surgeries in the last 5 years, and had I not been on the mat, I would never have recovered as quickly as I did after each one. The mental benefits are almost too many to explain. If I had to pick just a few:

1. The first, I would say, would be feeling like myself again. After years of surgeries and doctors telling you that you are not allowed to do anything, you start to question whether you will ever be your ''old self'' again, and

2. Another would be the brotherhood. When you are literally fighting for your life, having a group of people behind you means so much. As you will read in the article written on me, my teammates will drive me to doctors appointments, help me with medications, or just anything. We truly are a family. When I wake up in the morning and feel like the last 5 years of my life have been stolen from me, knowing I have my teammates behind me no matter what often times is what gave me the strength to get up each day.

I personally have never been a victim of bullying. I am a pretty big guy at 6'4'', and prior to being sick I was 255 lbs and in great shape. However I have seen it from another side. Being one of the bigger guys, I have seen BJJ change a person's life as when I see smaller people come in and roll with myself and bigger people, they lose the fear they may have of the bully they have in their lives.

Katharo has one of the biggest and most successful kids programs in the state of Colorado. I am only in to watch as I do not have kids of my own, but go watch a kids karate class, then watch a kids BJJ class and see which group is happier. I bet it will be the group of kids doing BJJ, but the important thing is all martial arts help kids.

The camaraderie I have with my team is 2nd to none. I come from football background and can say that the team I have at Katharo is closer than just about any team I have ever been on. If one of us is down, the others are there to pick each other up. Getting together for the UFC, or BBQs, etc., you are welcomed like a family member at Katharo in the fact that we try hard to push each other to get better, and help each other achieve their goals.

For me, having these guys with me through all this cancer stuff has been a life saver. When you feel like your world is falling down because you got bad cancer news, it is an amazing feeling to be able to pick up the phone or go to practice and see your friends there to pick you up. Cancer sucks, but it would have been much worse had I not come to Katharo.

Self Defense
Prior to getting sick, and back in college, I competed in MMA and had some success there, but mostly my BJJ came in handy when I was running security as various bars in Denver. My training in BJJ actually helped me de-escalate situations or gain control of a situation without hurting anyone, or just be able to do my job effectively.

The way you have to approach BJJ is with patience. At some point in your fight, you will be put in a bad spot. You have to be able to have the mental capacity to tell yourself you will work out of it, stay positive, and find a way out. Well, when I was diagnosed with cancer, it was the same thing. When you are fighting cancer it is a waiting game. You will get news that isn't good, and then have to wait days or weeks before you can do anything about it.

Well, I took my martial arts training and used it to rationalize the cancer. Instead of being caught in side control and just throwing in the towel, you work to create space and get out. With the cancer it was the same thing except it was ''I have to have surgery; its gonna put me down; but it won't be for long, and I will fight my way back.'' I am happy to say that everyday that is what I do and the attitude I take, and it has worked thus far.

Funny thing about cancer is that is sure is expensive. So when I saw the chance to win some money based on my story that people tell me I should tell anyway I jumped at it, but also because recently our gym moved into a new facility, and while it is an awesome facility, if my struggle with cancer could somehow get my gym extra money to use to help others like me, I will absolutely jump at that chance. I am behind on so many bills, and still getting some treatments, but I am in the gym at least 3-4 times a week and would love to have the cash to help me catch up on my bills, but also to give to my gym.

Please read the internet article done by Monta Wiley on me.

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Jason Miller
Katharo Training Center
Littleton CO 80127