Only an hour before the time of this writing, Rener Gracie — son of BJJ red belt Rorion Gracie and grandson of BJJ founder Helio Gracie — put up a moving post about a student of his who recently died of depression-related causes.
Rener does not go into specifics of how the student — a BJJ black belt named Donnie Puliselich — died, but whatever the causes, they are no doubt tragic.
Gracie does, however, wish he had done more.
As I’m sure everyone has felt who has lost a loved one to depression, I wish I would have done a better job to let Donnie know that he could have come to me for help.
Rener also reminded all of his students that he, his brother Ryron, and all the instructors at his gym were there to help with anything, whether it’s related to jiu-jitsu or not:
To all my students, just because jiu-jitsu is the main reason we come together everyday, doesn’t mean that it’s the only reason. If you every need anything, me, Ryron, and the rest of our instructors are here for you.
Should Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructors — and all instructors, for that matter — be taking a more active part in looking after their students’ mental health?
It certainly helps to have an instructor who cares, in my opinion.