Over the weekend, the jiu-jitsu community and entire world suffered a tremendous loss when BJJ purple belt, adaptive jiu-jitsu advocate, and Army veteran Ronald Mann passed away.
The news was shared by Mann’s team, the Yamasaki BJJ academy:
“Hello Friends and Family — We were saddened to learn of the passing of one of our very own Yamasaki fighters, Ronald Mann. Ronald passed away on September 7th, 2019. A memorial in his honor is being held this Saturday, September 14th, 2019 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Yamasaki Academy located at 12712 Rock Creek Mill Road, Rockville, Maryland 20853. Please join us as we celebrate his life of triumph, dedication and passion for life and martial arts. Ronald has been known for helping others, for showing ability to disabled practitioners, for reclaiming equality for everyone on the mat, and for his life of service to our country, to our veterans and to those struggling in life — helping all to overcome obstacles. We look forward to sharing a time of remembrance with you all on Saturday.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: https://www.gofundme.com/mana…/ronald-mann039s-memorial-fund“
Mann, who was a combat medic in the Army and had part of his left leg amputated after a motorcycle accident over twenty years ago, was a well-known and respected para athlete in the jiu-jitsu community. He worked to build up the competitive adaptive grappler field (particularly in the UAEJJF). He was also an active competitor, winning multiple major events in the para divisions of major UAEJJF events like the Grand Slam and World Pro.
After his accident, Mann faced multiple difficulties in his jiu-jitsu and MMA journeys, having been told that he couldn’t train in some academies due to his amputation. However, he quickly broke down those barriers, even winning MMA fights against completely able-bodied opponents. In 2017, he made the local news for winning gold at the UAEJFF World Para Jiu-Jitsu Festival, and he subsequently made waves in the BJJ community for his work in opening up more opportunities for adaptive jiu-jitsu athletes.
A memorial fund for Mann has been started on GoFundMe to help continue his legacy and has raised almost $600 of its $10,000 goal at the time of this post’s publication. Those looking to honor Mann’s contributions to the military or jiu-jitsu are encouraged to donate to the fund.
Rest in peace, Ronald. You will be dearly missed.