As we make strides during 2016, getting closer and closer to open the doors of a year-round training facility and preparing for a full class schedule, we are going to release a series of feature articles to showcase some of Fusion’s greatest supporters. I have had the great opportunity to train with countless students and work with so many others who have been a great source of inspiration and encouragement. It’s an important thing to take a step back and acknowledge the people who may not be center stage, but who have played a part in helping you realize your dream.
Our next feature article is devoted to Jon Hamm.
Many moons ago I took a trip to Brazil and spent the summer studying capoeira. I had the time of my life and all I wanted to do when I got home was share the love and excitement I had discovered for this incredible art form with my karate students. Unfortunately, true capoeira was nonexistent in the area.
So I decided that we needed to find someone qualified who could expand on what I had learned and share not only the physical techniques, but the musical and historical components of one of Brazil’s most guarded cultural traditions. I searched tirelessly, and held occasional in-house seminars to try and slowly pique my students’ interest in something that was, although dynamic and intriguing, very foreign to them.
At long last, a true capoeirista caught wind of my efforts. However, thinking that I was just another internet-taught, self-made master, Jon arrived with a handful of his own students, on a mission to “put a stop to” whatever it was I was trying to do.
But any sense of animosity or perceived threat from either side was quickly extinguished, as mutual humility, respect, encouragement, and overall love for capoeira was clearly etched on every face in the room. What started off as a potential catastrophe, concluded with interminable friendships.
Jon, who I from then on referred to almost exclusively by his capoeira nickname, “Graveto,” invited me to bring some of my students down to his class in Cortland, and welcomed us all with open arms. In the months that followed, I would even head down from Syracuse to Ithaca after a full night of teaching and study with him one-on-one in his own living room, not getting home until well after two in the morning.
Very few fully know the hardships I endured during the years I spent teaching, my love and devotion to my students being exploited while I was incessantly subjected to the most horrible work conditions I had ever or would ever experience. And even fewer still can relate to those stories, on a personal level, the way that Jon does. So when I moved on, his support was the loudest and, as the wounds healed and I crept slowly back toward teaching on my own, Jon was often the most eager to find out how things were going.
Similarly, I got to watch as Jon changed directions and pursued his own dream, becoming a doctor of chiropractic and opening up Life is Motion Chiropractic. Although proud of my friend, I always found it a bit ironic, given the number of times I ended up on my back as a result of Contra Mestre Graveto’s latest lesson!
He’s a shirt-off-his-back kind of guy
and no matter how much time
stretches between the days we are
able to get together, it always feels like
no time has passed.
When our doors open at Fusion,
Graveto will always have
another place to call home...
...even at two in the morning.
Thank you, Jon, for all that you
have brought to Fusion Parkour
and for all that we will continue
to learn from you in the future.
Don’t forget, we need your support! Please be sure to LIKE our
school facebook page over at Fusion Parkour
and share the page on your wall to help us reach new students!!
Like this article? Then check out some more feature articles on other Friends of Fusion!
Fusion Parkour - Tyler Rose
Fusion Parkour - Angel Santiago
Fusion Parkour - Cindy Martens
Fusion Parkour - Joey Yelle
Fusion Parkour - Tinara O'Rourke
Fusion Parkour - Phanibhushan Vem