Paul Meunier is Straight Blast Gym's Adult Martial Artist of the Month for July 2023
Creating Your Own Path: In life, we often find ourselves at crossroads, searching for purpose and a sense of belonging. This is precisely the journey that Paul Meunier embarked on when he discovered Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) at the age of 40. Despite facing personal challenges and 'feeling like his life was falling apart,' Paul found solace and a new identity through his martial arts training. Today, we celebrate Paul’s remarkable achievements and congratulate him as SBG’s Adult Martial Artist of the Month.
Finding A New Beginning: Paul’s athletic background and passion for coaching had been integral parts of his life. However, as his children grew older, his coaching commitments were taking away valuable time with his kids. Consequently, he decided to step away from coaching, leaving behind a void that he feared would be difficult to fill. The search for a new team and a sense of camaraderie led him to Jiu Jitsu, and ultimately SBG.
Discovering SBG: With a clear vision of what he sought in terms of culture, people, and team, Paul wasn’t sure if BJJ would provide the same kind of environment that he was used to in traditional "team sports" that he had found throughout his life. However, from his very first day at SBG, he felt an immediate connection. The Foundations Class that Paul enrolled in, originally led by Coach Woo and Coach Carson, proved to be a transformative experience for Paul, igniting a fire within him, and a sense of belonging that he was searching for with a Tribe that valued the same supportive community and inclusive culture.
Paul’s coaches always have always had glowing things to say about him. Coach Montana has described Paul as a 'dedicated Father, Coach, and Tribe member.' Coach Woo commented:
Paul consistently shows up to train. He is an amazing member of the Tribe and an even more awesome Coach. He really cares about the kids.
Embracing The Journey: Paul’s dedication to his jiu jitsu journey has been unwavering. Fully committed and eager to improve, he has kept coming back to SBG, driven by a desire to excel and become the best version of himself. His perspective on this journey reflects his deep appreciation for what jiu jitsu has to offer. While it can be easy to focus on the medals, belts, and stripes, Paul embraces the same wisdom shared by his Coaches, emphasizing the importance of the journey itself. For Paul, becoming a black belt was never the primary goal; instead, he sought to be a part of a supportive and tight-knit community. Paul’s advice to anyone training is that:
If you don't dive into the Tribe that is available, you are missing such a huge part of jiu jitsu, and what sets SBG apart. Even the subgroups within the community, the 'big guys group' and the 'women's group,' it's awesome to watch those subgroups develop and flourish. I believe jiu jitsu, especially jiu jitsu at SBG is truly inclusive, catering to hobbyists and anyone who approaches it with genuine and pure intentions.
The Calling of Coaching: As Paul continued to progress on his jiu jitsu journey, his passion for coaching never faded. He missed the opportunity to work with children and relished the chance to help young individuals to become better versions of themselves. When the opportunity to assist coaching kids in SBG's Growing Gorillas Program presented itself, it gave Paul a renewed sense of purpose and fulfillment. Paul’s sentiments regarding Coaching is that “it is delayed gratification. The real joy comes from the gratifying moments when former students return and share the impact that you have made in their lives.”
A Family Affair: Paul’s commitment to BJJ and coaching also influenced his children. Intrigued by their father’s dedication to his craft, his kids recently started their own jiu jitsu training. Together, they have discovered a shared passion and a deeper bond. Paul couldn't have found a better home for himself and his family than SBG, where they pursue their martial arts journey together. Seeing his children embrace the welcoming environment of the kids program fostered by Coach Montana and Coach Carmen further reinforces his belief in the positive impact of the jiu jitsu journey. As he watches his kids grow, Paul eagerly anticipates their own transformative journeys, paralleling the growth he has experienced himself.
As SBG’s Adult Martial Artist of the Month, Paul’s journey serves as an inspiration to us all, reminding us that it’s never too late to embark on a new path and find a community that is supportive and uplifting, a community where Tribe also becomes your family.