How To Fight The Battle Within, An Exclusive Interview With Chad Robichaux
Chad Robichaux, a BJJ Black Belt, a MMA Fighter, a combat veteran, founder of The Mighty Oaks Foundation and author of best selling book, “Redeployed” is coming to Gracie Barra San Clemente to do a donation based seminar (suggestion of $35) on how to fight post traumatic stress disorder through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Chad Robichaux has been collecting awards, medals, belts and trophies for a long time but a few years ago his life turned upside down. After eight deployments serving our country as a marine, he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Chad will come to Gracie Barra San Clemente for memorable morning teaching of Jiu-Jitsu, signing his best selling book, “Redeployed”. He will be sharing his amazing story fighting the condition through martial arts and service to others on a similar condition. We got a chance to do an exclusive interview with Chad.
- How Old are You – i’m 37 years young
- How did you get involved in the Marines? I joined the Marines when I was 17 years old, it was in 1993. Mainly it was a childhood dream, not just to be a Marine, but to be a Force Recon Marine. Also, I didn’t have the best childhood and opportunities as a kid, so for me the Marine Corps was a second chance at life and I grabbed onto it as tightly as I could.
- How was your experience in the Marines? Being a Marine has molded my life. I think I did good in the Marine Corps because of the disciplines I picked up from being a martial artist since I was five. However, the transformation to becoming a Marine and gaining the character and discipline it takes to be a Marine, consequently made be the best martial artist I could be. It gave me the inner drive to be the best at everything I ever did to include being a father, husband, and Christian. I accredit who I am to the man the Marine Corps made me.
- According to your book, Redeployed, you talk about how after fighting battles you return home to a new war? Can you explain more in detail what it is you faced personally returning home after being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? After coming home and being told I had PTSD and couldn’t do my old job, i felt like i had lost my identity… deploying to Afghanistan had become my life. It was time for me to stop, it had been 4 years straight, but i didn’t feel ready. On top of having what I thought was the only thing I was cut out to do taken from me, I found myself to be a broken man. I had went from super hero to an emotional wreck. I had panic attacks and a sense of hopelessness and a feel of death. I thought I was loosing my mind and didn’t know where to turn. I turned to the only other thing i knew, the mats. I found peace there and success. My school GB The Woodlands exploded with success. I had a 800 students and as an MMA pro, I built up a huge record of success, won a title belt at Legacy FC, fought in StrikeForce and Bellator, i’m 19-2 with 18 finishes , 17 subs.. but it was all a facade. I wasn’t doing as well as i appeared. I took something great for me, bjj, and abused it. I lacked balance in my life and didn’t fix my Afghanistan issues, didn’t face PTSD and I isolated from my wife. as we faced divorce she challenged me asking, “how i could fight for my country and my friends, in the cage for a belt, but when it came to my family i quit” . She was right i had quit, and i hate being wrong. I quit on my health, my family, and gave up on my Christian Faith. From that day on i’ve fought for those things and haven’t quit yet. I have a good wife and many men God has put in my life to walk with. That includes some within GB like Prof. Draculino.
- What encouraged you to write your book, Redeployed? It’s like in BJJ.. if you get stuck somewhere for a long time but then you learn a knew great move that just works! You have to share it. I found the PTSD cure, I found what pills and counselors couldn’t do. How couldn’t I share that with my fellow warriors. That is why i wrote it, as a tool for others to follow a path to victory i have found. I have to share that.
- For how long have you been practicing Jiu-Jitsu? I started Japanese jj and karate at 5 years old in 1980, in 1994 I started doing a lot of grappling, but in 1996 I was first introduced to BJJ and have been hooked since.
- How has BJJ helped you? BJJ brings me focus and balance through the physical and mental challenges it presents…. but what it really does most to help me is it gives me a chance to share live with others, others of all types. on the mats we are all equal and all friends and we lift each other up, and it is the greatest joy as a professor to see those life changes take root on the mats, and then transfer off the mat into someones life. That helps me, and it brings me to realize hat a life for others is the greatest life worth living.
- How does BJJ help veterans? For the same reasons it helps me, comraderie. most of these veterans have been pulled from a team, and feel they lost their brothers and a purpose. BJJ gives that back to them.
- You mentioned Steve Toth mentored you through your trials, what was the most profound thing he taught you? Steve told me that God can’t use a man greatly until he’s been wounded deeply. I didn’t understand that at the time but now I do. Steve is a smart man, a Tx state legislator, he knew exactly what he was saying. I had feel on my face, but the very thing that almost destroyed me, my rock bottom, has become my foundation. It is that hardship that qualifies me to help so many other veterans and family members. I found a purpose in my hardship and everyday I take that exact thing that was meant to take me out and use it as a tool to reach others; to bring hope and to inspire.
- What is your hope for combat veterans out there? Simple – to end the 22 suicides a day and the 90% divorce rate, and to take these Heroes and trade their hopelessness for purpose. These people are leaders, we don’t want them to be medicated and sat in a corner numb and with no ambition, we need to restore them, reintegrate them into society correctly, and give them the tools and motivation to be givers and not takers in society.
- What is The Mighty Oaks Foundation? We educate the Warriors and Family Members on what PTSD is, and then we show them how to beat it with fundamental life skills, a renewed Faith, and hope for the future. We use many strategies to do this, and in some cases BJJ is one of them, but they have proven to work. The Army and Marine Corps actually send Active Duty Warriors to our programs on orders.We have 4 ranches in CO, CA, TX, and OK that we take the warriors to. To date we have zero suicides or divorces from our 1500 plus graduates, that is beating the odds! Mighty Oaks is a non-profit 501c3 and we pay 100% of the costs for the Warriors and Families, to include travel. We work off of donations only.
For more information on Chad’s upcoming seminar call (949) 361-9411