Larry Shealy // Uncategorized


September 9  

BJJ saved My Life

BJJ saved my Life

It’s approximately 6:50pm on Wednesday June 17, 2009.  Professor says one more 5 minute round in our MMA class. 

I take Mark’s place, as he needs a break from a grueling training session; and I begin to spar with Tony. I pass his guard and set up tight in side control….I’m getting dizzy, he’s choking me, and I’m asking myself…”how is he choking me when nothing is on my neck?” Lights out!

The next thing I remember is looking up in a fog at a man in a blue uniform, I hear “he’s responding”, and it occurs to me, I’m in an ambulance.

What the heck happened?  

By the time we arrived at the Emergency Room, I was completely clear, upbeat, and what I felt as being “back to normal.”  I was far from it.

In a time where I was teaching and operating my own BJJ School, was a 1-year BJJ Black Belt, training 2x a day on most days, in the very best shape of my adult life….I was the ‘Professor’ who called that last round, and I dropped dead on the mat of a sudden cardiac arrest!  

I was later told that I was out for about 5 minutes, and being in good shape and a few convenient ‘coincidences’ saved me:

  1. An Oral Surgeon and a Respiratory Therapist were waiting for the Gi class, and began CPR
  2. I had bought an AED months earlier and had my leadership team trained on the AED
  3. First Responders were just minutes away from my gym, and showed up in force


Long story short. The SCA and subsequent cardiac catheterization,  indicated a congenital birth defect in my Left Anterior Descending artery, and my Circumflex Artery, but I have a huge Right Coronary Artery.  

An echocardiogram indicated an EF (ejection fraction) of 18, where a good EF would be between 50-75.

I was not well.

That was 2009.  I was told I was lucky to survive. I was physically strong, but my heart was weak.

Fast forward to 2022:  I’m still teaching and training in BJJ and have lived with an implantable defibrillator on board since 2009.

I’ve trained the entire time, have 28 years experience and have attained a 4th Degree Black Belt in BJJ under the legendary BJJ Master-Rigan Machado.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I believed (and still do believe), that God was in the middle of this all.

BJJ literally saved my life. Of course God was with me, but training had me in the best physical, mental and emotional state of my life. The event could have happened anywhere, but it happened at my gym, we had an AED, and I was surrounded by trained people. God is clearly not finished with me.

My life is about helping others.  It does not matter what happens to us, it matters how we handle it. 

BJJ can answer things drugs, sex, relationships, alcohol, titles, money, jobs etc….can’t answer 

I’m in a abusive relationship..

Train Jiu-Jitsu!

I’m an alcoholic.

Train Jiu-Jitsu!

I’m out of shape.

Train Jiu-Jitsu!

I’m 150 lbs overweight.

Train Jiu-Jitsu!

I’m diabetic.

Train Jiu-Jitsu!

I’m too tired

Train Jiu-Jitsu!

It does not matter what your excuse is…..

When you…

Train Jiu-Jitsu!  

You will become a better person

Train Jiu-Jitsu!

You will create good habits

Train Jiu-Jitsu!

You can quit drinking

Train Jiu-Jiu-Jitsu!

You can quit smoking

Train Jiu-Jitsu!

You will lose weight

Train Jiu-Jitsu!

You will make lifelong friends 

BJJ WILL definitely change your life for the better, and sometimes it can even save your life!  BJJ saved mine!

It doesn’t matter where you train, but you owe it to yourself to train at a legit BJJ School…

“Train Hard, Train Smart…Train for Life!” 

~ Professor Larry Shealy

About the Author

Training in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu since 1994. 4th-Degree Rigan Machado Black Belt Instructor. Christian, Husband, Father, Grateful Small Business Owner.

Larry Shealy