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Meet Gabriel Demman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabriel Demman.

Gabriel, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
When I was a younger boy at about the age of seven, I was overweight, I was picked on at school for my weight. I was still an athletic kid and played baseball for five-six years, but the bullying did not stop. My dad enrolled me in jiujitsu to lose weight. I fell in love with the sport even through all the tough times and workouts I did not lose my passion for this sport.

I competed in my first tournament at the age of nine years old where I got second. I was still heavy at the time. I then moved to a gym called Cleber jiujitsu where I have been training ever since. I then entered a tournament called Copa Pacifica. I was 158 pounds when I was 11, and the weight category was 128 pounds. I lost the weight after two and a half months. I won the tournament as a grey belt and have won it ever since.

A few years later after many tournaments, I received my first sponsor Versaclimber. I competed at the World Championships in 2017 and received the silver medal and was written about in the LA Times for an anti-bullying campaign I started. I was also featured in an award-winning video, Words Made of Hate by my brother’s band Blind Innocence.

The next year, I worked even harder, and this year I won the World Championship fighting people from France and Tahiti. I have now five sponsors and 1900 followers on Instagram. I have put in a lot of hard work in this sport and am in love with it. I am inspired to help other kids who have been bullied step out of the shadows and learn to defend themselves through martial arts as well as learn techniques to avoid bullying.

Has it been a smooth road?
Some of the struggles I have had along the way is injuries like straining my ankles, hurting my back, and hurting my wrists. Another one of the challenges I have had is dieting and having to lose weight for tournaments.

Where do you see your industry going over the next 5-10 years?  Any big shifts, changes, trends, etc?
I think jiu-jitsu will continue to grow in the next 5-10 years as many people are looking to not only be fit but also learn self-defense.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 419 Main . #254 Huntington Beach, Ca 92648
  • Email: medialeaders@gmail.com
  • Instagram: Gabe_loves_jiujitsu

Image Credit:
Anthony Demman

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Eden Diaz

    January 16, 2019 at 16:46

    Wow, that’s absolutely a beautiful and courageous story! Bullying exist not only because of weight, but of your looks, your name, your skin colour, most times because of what you’re made of, don’t forget this always as often starts from the home, when children are often ignored, presence of parents are not always there for support, in time a child grows up, learn to protect themselves by showing their anger in the most horrible way! Gabriel, I hope your story will continue to resound, be heard and be a teaching tool for other children like you growing up! Your story is admirable how you learned to love the sport you’re in, become a bullying survivor with true grit!

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