Today we’re sharing the journey of a young man that experienced desolation, abandonment, disappointment and desperation at a time in life which should be filled with joy. The confidence, strength, encouragement and support he found in our beloved BJJ which helped him move out of his darkness is a familiar story. We share inspiring stories like Liam’s as we take our position without our community very seriously. We want to help bring awareness, inspire and help others to see alternatives but equally remind us all that we are sharing the mats with people from all walks of life – you never know who you are rolling with and as with all elements of life, being kind is paramount always. Thank you for supporting our cause Liam and being a very important part our community, we’re honoured to know you and to have you as our first Rolling 4 A Reason ambassador.
A young man without a secure home base, Liam Porter’s upbringing from the age of 13 consisted of foster care homes, boys homes, squats, half ways houses and sleeping on the streets. Survival looked like stealing cars and breaking and entering amongst a myrid of other things. A reflection of his unstable environment he was a violent, lost soul, self medicating, drinking and binge eating to numb his reality. At the age of 18 he made an unsuccessful attempt at suicide. The world had other plans for Liam whose failed suicide attempt transformed him. The second chance at life he felt he was given, inspired him to pull himself out of the hole. Weighing 130kg at the time and with a world of bad habits surrounding him as well as a recent memory of being attacked on the way home one night, he sought the nearest MMA gym and also he started to run. Bullied by the site of him running, in constant pain, he persisted with both disciplines. Finding companionship, support, encouragement, admiration and most importantly security on the BJJ mats, Liam began to blossom. His self esteem and sense of being improved simultaneous to his weight dropping to 78kg within a year (a whopping 52kg loss!). Sadly, Liam’s demons returned with sheer force and he suddenly found all the new found sense of belonging disappearing as he stopped hitting the mats and returned to his self sabotaging ways. Four months off the mats, a weigh in showed a he was ballooning out of control in more ways than one– he had put back on 36kg in that short amount of time, now weighing in at 114kg. Standing on the scales he knew he had to return to his refuge, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. With his rash guard now being three sizes to small, he returned to the mats full of shame, embarrassment and discomfort. He felt unrecognisable to his teammates who simply welcomed him back. It took time to build up his fitness again but he knew then that this was to be his security moving forward. Now, a few years later, a healthy and strong 88kg he practises a healthy lifestyle with healthy habits including eating and training. He found peace on the mats and a way to be grateful for his life and where he has come from. He was so close to the edge, his will to survive coupled with our community gave him another change of life. A special thanks to Thiago Stefanutti, who were fundamental to Liam’s revival. What an honour it is to work in an industry with people like you.
This story talks a lot about his weight, which we all understand can be a great benefit of doing any exercise, but the key difference in Liam’s story is really what the weight on and off reflected. His binge eating and substance abuse was a way of coping. BJJ gave him an alternative. A healthier, happier and more conducive habit to live within. It took a look for courage and determination for him to turn himself around. It wasn’t the strength of his body that counted, but the strength of his spirit. It’s humbling to work in partnership and support individuals like Liam. So many of our affiliates and even top athletes have walked a similar path. It is these people that inspire us and should inspire you to every day just try a little harder. The fight Never Ends.