Aired Thursday 4/29/2010 on NECN and Worcester Charter 3
(NECN: Katie Daly, Worcester, Mass.) - Jeremiah Monge is at the top of his class at the Serra Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy in Worcester. He trains everyday and even helps with instructing a few classes a week. But Jeremiah faces a unique challenge when taking on opponents. He is also deaf.
Jeremiah's friend L.P. is also climbing the ranks at the academy. He started taking lessons about a year ago, but can take on opponents with more experience and skill level without a problem. Watching him on the mats you may not be able to tell that he is blind.
Dan Simmler is their instructor. He says it's the challenges these two students face that gives them an advantage in the sport.
The combat sport focuses on ground fighting which includes throws, holds and take downs.
Simmler says to be successful at these maneuvers students must sharpen their sense of touch... Which L.P and Jeremiah already have.
When Simmler first started training Jeremiah three years ago communicating was difficult. But Simmler immediately noticed Jeremiah's other strengths..
L.P. admits he does get frustrated not being able to see his opponent approach him. But he's not willing to let his disability get in his way. Like Jeremiah it only means he needs to work a little harder.
The pair compete on a regional level and someday would like to have a career in martial arts. It's a goal that is important for both of them and may not be very far away