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Martial arts help man cope with autoimmune disease

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Friendships, a sense of accomplishment and discipline are just some of the benefits from practicing jiujitsu.

Almost 10 years ago Stan White incorporated the martial art into his life as a measure to be stronger mentally and physically.

“I studied karate for quite a while,” White recalled. “Then I came down with an autoimmune muscle disease. Couldn’t really do anything as far as overly athletic. Punching and kicking was out of the question for me.

“They advertise jiujitsu as something one of the smaller, weaker person could have a chance against somebody bigger and stronger, because it uses more technique and leverage instead of pure strength. I kind of fell in love with it.”

White’s love of jiujitsu has grown into Midsouth LCCT Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy LLC Martial Arts. White said the purpose of his facility is to provide an environment in which to take a person’s martial art technique to the next level, event if you lack the physical attributes of a mixed martial arts fighter.

The vision of Midsouth LCCT Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy is to provide instruction in the discipline while following the Luiz Claudio Combat Team curriculum. Student will reach their personal fitness goals through dedication, healthy lifestyles and detailed technical instruction.

White is the main instructor, and his son, Stan White IV, teaches children ages 9-13. Stan’s wife, Kati, along with Mackenzie Sutton, are the women’s self-defense instructors. Ryan Roaldson works with teens and adults.

“So we opened up in Millington the first of the year on Jan. 1,” White said. “But we had been opened up in Atoka since July 2015.”

In Tipton County, the jiujitsu facility shared space with a taekwondo focused business. White and crew felt it was time to expand and come to a market in need of martial arts.

“Millington didn’t have a lot of other martial arts place at the time,” he said. “We thought it would be a good market for us to come here. With the Navy base being here, that has been good for us with a lot of people rotating in and out of here. It’s something to do and help keep them fit.”

Jiujitsu is keeping White fit and going strong.

“My immune system decided one day it was going to attack my muscles,” he said. “It eats my muscles up as fast as I can build them. So they’ve got me on low-dose chemotherapy every week to keep it in check. So I’ll never be a big strong guy.”

Studying under some of the best jiujitsu instructors, White developed a love and appreciation for the discipline.

“It keeps me mobile, for one thing,” he said. “They said the best thing to do is not sit around because they will go into atrophy and just die. It kind of forces me to keep a healthy lifestyle and eat right, train everyday. In a lot of ways, it keeps me healthy along with the marital arts.”

Jiujitsu will help White battle the muscular disease for the rest of life. Also the martial art form has developed some of his lifelong relationships. Midsouth Jiu-Jitsu business consultant Oliver Smith said the facility has a family atmosphere.

“My son has been a part of a couple of gyms,” Smith said. “One thing that really makes him really proud to be a part of this, this is truly a family atmosphere. He’s 17 and he’s training with adults for the most part, working on one goal of getting better at jiujitsu. Here everyone is wanting to help the others get better. Luke and I love it. It is such an important part of his life.”

Oliver said he has become friends with all the guys who train at Midsouth. From ages 4 to 62, White said his students understand the many benefits of jiujitsu.

“One of the big benefits is the fitness aspect of it, people looking to lose weight or stay in better shape,” he added. “It’s been proven to be the best self-defense martial arts around.”

The discipline brought to the United States in 1993 by UFC legend Royce Gracie is now in Flag City. White noted the lessons he learned from instructor Rickson Gracie are available at an affordable price and reasonable means.

“A few of our points we try to drive home when we opened this up, we don’t do long-term contracts,” he said. “You don’t have to sign up for a year or three years. We just bill month to month. All we ask is if you’re going to leave, give us a month’s notice. We’re a curriculum-driven school. So when you walk through the door, you know what is exactly required of you along the way. We teach our class by the curriculum.”

For more information, visit Midsouth LCCT Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy LLC Martial Arts at 5103 Easley St. in Millington or call (901) 484-0267.

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