A Fist Full Of Reality Right To Your Face!

Last week a friend of mine was severely injured during an MMA fight. He is a fan and follower of our Comcast Cable Show and youtube channel Taking It To The MMAT. He has won fights with techniques he’s learned from watching our videos and has made a point to give credit where credit was due. In person he has always treated Kiser and I with the highest level of respect despite our coming from rival camps.

His name is Daniel Grass and

he suffered a catastrophic fracture of his jawbone

in the midst of his fight and before I go any further I want the message of this blog post to be perfectly and crystal clear. I am not bashing or poking fun in any way of Daniel or his situation. I like Daniel a great deal and I wish him a speedy and full recovery. I simply want to use his situation as a teaching tool for others.

Daniel can be seen in the clip above at 7:49 in.

Daniel Grass before his injury

Daniel Grass before his injury

It has always bewildered me how many of my regular, average Joe type students take their training more seriously and more consistently than their fighter counter parts. Common sense would tell you that the exact opposite would be the case. And on occasion, I do have students who double or even triple their efforts when they chose to fight. But they are the exception rather than the norm.

So what does all this have to do with Daniel and his horrible injury? Well, it has to do with the fact that most of my most serious students have no aspirations whatsoever to fight. And I think it’s because they have such a high level of respect for what can happen in one (as in Daniel’s case). And I think most of those that come in wanting to fight have no idea what can happen or how easily it can. I think they watch TV and see fights and always relate to the champion or the guy with his hand raised. Rarely do they say to themselves, “geeze I could have my jaw wired shut for the next 5 weeks, have metal plate put in my head, or lose the ability of speech for a while”. I don’t think they have the slightest clue as to the fact that getting hit hurts. I know it sounds ridiculous but I swear most of these guys just don’t get it.

Daniel Grass moments after his injury, a triple fracture of his jawbone and a lost tooth

Daniel Grass moments after his injury, a triple fracture of his jawbone and a lost tooth

I don’t corner fighters who haven’t prepared properly because it hurts me to see them broken and battered. It takes a serious emotional toll on me. Daniel literally lives at a gym and trains very consistently for his fights. If this can happen to him, the chances of it happening to someone who doesn’t take their training as seriously can only be higher. I don’t know how much time he spends on striking and I am not criticizing his preparation I’m just saying to take a long hard look at what can happen to you during a fight and think of this every time you think you want to. Meditate on it and use it to motivate you to train, to train hard, to train smart, to train consistently and to do everything in your power to prepare yourself properly, Mentally, Physically, Emotionally and Spiritually.

Daniel Grass before surgery

Daniel Grass before surgery

“Death is Life

The Way of the Samurai is found in death. Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one’s body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one’s master. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead.”

– From the Hagakure –

“A Samurai must keep first and foremost in his mind at all times, the fact that he must someday die.”

– From Bushido Shoshishu –

Daniel Grass after surgery

Daniel Grass after surgery

Daniel is not a personal student of mine or Kiser’s but as I said before he is a friend and a fellow warrior. And we wish him only the best.

God Speed Daniel for a fast and full recovery. We’ll be rooting for you!

17 replies
  1. kensei
    kensei says:

    always a great reminder, that can happen to anybody, great post. I was actually at the fight and saw what happend. After the fight Daniel Grass Walked through the crowd with a I.V. Hooked to his arm and to me it didn’t look serious from a distance.

    There was no announcement of what happened to him at all after the fight. Everyone just wen’t to get something to eat and thought about how wonderful the fights were. But when you see something like this it always makes me think this could happen to me and it does make me think about fighting twice.

    Thanks for the post allways a good reminder that this can happen to anyone and should be prepaired for it.

    Reply
  2. Ian
    Ian says:

    Great reminder, indeed.
    A friend of mine (HW with no training) thought he’d give MMA a try. He was taken down and ate a couple hammerfists. The ref eventually stepped in. We went to the ER afterwards and found out that he’d basically shattered his orbital bone.
    It is a dangerous, dangerous thing these guys do everytime they get in the ring no matter if they’re well trained or not.

    Reply
  3. KevinDillard
    KevinDillard says:

    Very respectful and insightful. I think you did Daniel good/proud. I have a titanium plate and my hip bone where 2 vertebrae were once (c3 and c4).. when you’re lying there strapped to a board paralyzed and you hear “you’ll never walk again.” coming from a neurosurgeon, suddenly you realize that as you said, you too will someday die. It’ll also alert you to how much of just everday life you take for granted.. brushing your teeth.. drinking a cup of coffee..dressing yourself.. I was blessed enough to get a second chance.. when I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t deserve one. I wish Daniel a speedy recovery.. his warrior spirit will serve him well in his healing.
    Brian, THANKS for sharing the post.

    Reply
  4. Dr Sick
    Dr Sick says:

    Ian,

    Sorry to hear about your friend. I know how that goes… The broken orbital. I had mine shattered during a sparring session with Jeff Curran. It’s a nasty injury.

    And that trip to the ER, that’s what I’m talking about. I’ll go there and spend the night if need be (or more) for my Fighter Corps. They do everything humanly possible to prevent this type of thing. I am emotionally prepared to die with them or watch them die. But it’s never easy. I just can’t invest myself emotionally into someone who’s not willing to put that much into protecting themselves with proper prep work.

    Reply
  5. Dr Sick
    Dr Sick says:

    Kevin,

    Would you mind writing an article about your injury. How it occurred (Wrestling I imagine), what went through your head, what your recovery was like, what you’ve learned, and if you think the injury could have been prevented. I’d love to hear the story and post it up in here (with some pics) if you don’t mind.

    Reply
  6. KevinDillard
    KevinDillard says:

    Brian,
    I’ll be more than happy to write something up and send it to you and let you look at it.. if you think it’d be worth sharing; that’d be cool with me.

    Reply
  7. naturalbornfighter1
    naturalbornfighter1 says:

    Poor Daniel, I hope you have a speedy recovery. That kind of thing could happen to any fighter. Its good to see a different perspective on MMA. We always hear about the winners story. There’s probably thousands more stories similar to this one that we don’t hear about. Thats the reason we see the UFC fighters working out so hard on the countdown shows. If you fail to prepare you’re preparing to fail. I think Im one of the few people who think of it differently. I don’t like to go all out in case I hurt someone.
    Hey Kevin I’d love to read your story.

    Reply
  8. Sterling
    Sterling says:

    Excellent article. You can tell when a fighter enters the cage as a warrior who has been training, eating, sleeping, and living as a fighter vs. someone who walks in training a few hours a week. Very different physical and mental states.

    Love the video. JTS using his chin to plug the artery & complete the choke is sick!

    Hope Daniel’s recovery is going well. Best wishes to him.

    Reply
  9. PrestonBludworth
    PrestonBludworth says:

    Do you think, that, if he would have kept his jaw tighter and clinched that it wouldn’t have been as severe? I guess I am just curious as to what you think made the injury occur. Obviously people get K.O.ed and punched all the time without this sort of injury occuring, I am just wondering what you felt made this different.

    Reply
  10. Ian
    Ian says:

    I’ve heard the best thing a puncher can do is break a guys nose, or at least make it a bloody mess, because then you have to open the mouth to breathe, making KO’s a lot easier(?)
    The punch didn’t look spectacular, but combined with his open mouth…
    Open mouth seems like a definite contributor to me. Any experts to weigh in?

    Reply
  11. Dr Sick
    Dr Sick says:

    Ian,

    We’ve filmed principal shots for the Anatomy of a Knockout, however, after viewing History Channel’s Fight Science programs we decided to scrap that clip. Their Computer generated graphics of what was happening was Boss. There’s now way for our low budget independent effort to compete with that level.

    Check out at 3:20 and on:

    I guess we can do a little piece on how we use this information. I think you guys might like our “Making Martini’s” technique but still, I don’t think we have enough original material to make this fly.

    🙁

    Reply
  12. Benjamin Grass
    Benjamin Grass says:

    Many thanks for all the welli wishes. I am back to a full 100% jaw recovery now. There were Many factors as to why this injury occurred, however I will simply say “protect yourself at all times”.
    Always respect your limits. I over prepared, cut too much weight, didn’t rest enough, didn’t eat enough, blah blah. saw my opponent come near and had the opportunity to strike out, yet I told myself “its over”. I was not mentally prepared. I had a bad case of
    Big head or pompousness. If I had simply finished the fight at the first opportunity to do so, this injury could have been avoided entirely.
    I will leave you with these warrior gems:
    Always defend yourself
    Be prepared
    Finish
    OSS

    Reply

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