The primary objective of martial art academies has always been to serve as a hub for assisting its clients in accomplishing their goals. Since the opening of its doors in 2010, The Relson Gracie Colorado academy has done just that. Under the leadership of Relson Gracie black belt Steve Hordinski, the school has positioned itself in a class by itself. With a massive production of BJJ champions, MMA fight prodigies, and other successful of-the-mat stories, it has been dubbed as the location that welcomes all.

One individual who has benefited from his time at the Relson academy is BJJ blue belt Jason Miller. Aside from instilling a deep passion for the sport within Miller, the academy has also affected him greatly on a personal level through the many challenges life throws at him. With the start of his journey initiated 12 years ago, Miller became engulfed in the fight lifestyle. His early stages in the fight world found the young aspirant training with some of the best fighters out of the Mile High City, with each bestowing some form of influence in his growth as a martial artist.

Distractions pulled Miller away from martial arts, but Miller’s return would take him to a life-changing meeting with Professor Hordinski, who would reignite Miller’s love for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition. Stepping onto the mats at Relson Gracie Colorado, you will encounter an amazing group of people like no other. That’s something Miller can attest to. Aside from being pushed to the limit by some of the toughest grapplers in Colorado, Miller also finds moral support from his teammates for his battles outside the gym, including his ongoing battle with cancer.

“My initial interaction with the team was incredible,” Miller told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “They take you in like you have been there for years and treat you like family. On one occasion, I had to have a medical operation done and one of my teammates offered to take me to the hospital, stay for the procedure and then drive me home after.

“As anyone who has ever gone through something as serious as cancer, really all you are looking for is people to be there to support you, to keep you going when you literally feel like you cannot take another step. The group of people at our gym is simply amazing.”

Team Relson Gracie Colorado

Although BJJ is considered by many as an individual sport, the capability to improve in skill, win a tournament or grow on a personal level would not be possible without having teammates to assist with these objectives. Realizing these factors and taking what he has learned on the mat, Miller has incorporated the teachings from his instructor and teammates into tackling his clash with cancer.

“Life is a lot like BJJ, in that at some point you will get put in a bad position, but you cannot panic because that will only make things worse,” he explained. “You have to be able to tell yourself, ‘Okay, I am in a bad spot, but I am going to work myself out of this and get back to a position where I have some more options.’

“This was the attitude I took with cancer. Instead of a bad position, it was, ‘I have to have surgery,’ and instead of getting back to a position where I have more options, it was, ‘I am not going to die from this, and I will work myself back to a point where I am healthy again.’”

Professor Hordinski and crew without question have a way of making a profound impact on a person’s life. This group’s involvement with Miller is evidence of the positive influence it can offer in even the most trying of times. Rapidly moving closer to becoming healthier in his struggle with cancer, Miller is looking forward returning to the BJJ mats full-time in his pursuit to competing at the highest level and growing daily as a martial artist. Regardless of where the road may take him, Miller knows he is not going to find a better BJJ team than what he has acquired in Relson Gracie Colorado.

Jason would like to thank Jesus Christ for the strength to get to where he is today. He would also like to thank his family for always being there, his friends for all the support and his coaches and team at Team Relson Gracie in Colorado. He would like to give a big shout out to Kristen Brown, who started her own non-profit, called LivetoFight.org, that supports people in the sport who get cancer, as well as their families.

Top Photo: Jason Miller (R)

About The Author

Monta Wiley
Staff Writer

Monta Wiley is an aspiring sports journalist that has covered the world of MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has been a regular contributor to US Combat Sports. Monta has a Bachelor's degree in Aviation Administration from California State University-Los Angeles. Outside of his writing, you can find Monta at the gym honing his BJJ technique.