The/Studio: Introduce yourself. Tell our readers a little bit about who you are!
Leon: My name is Leon Jackson, and I am the creator of Vegan Jiu Jitsu. I’m a 24 year old Air Force Veteran still currently serving. In my spare time, I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) under Professor Ricardo Almeida. When I’m not training I’m involved in animal rights activities and veganism awareness.
The/Studio : That’s wonderful! Thank you for your service Leon! What is Vegan Jiu Jitsu ?
Leon: Vegan Jiu Jitsu is a community, on a mission to connect every plant based Jiu Jitsu practitioner from around the world. Our biggest goal is to lead by example, and to be an ambassador of healthy, cruelty free and peaceful living. With the occasional arm bar of a few meat eaters here and there.
The/Studio: What have you learned since starting Vegan Jiu Jitsu?
Leon: The most important thing that I’ve learned since starting my website was that if you build it, they will come. I had no idea what I was getting into when I created my first social media page on Instagram. It was more of a hobby than anything else. But with time, I had a large following and the audience was very supportive. So if you plan on starting an organization or business, my advice to you would be to trust yourself and remain patient.
The/Studio: That’s great advice! What about Vegan Jiu Jitsu are you most proud of?
Leon: I’m most proud about all the people I’m able to connect with through my website. I have people reaching out to me daily for advice or other feedback. I really enjoy being able to help others and Vegan Jiu Jitsu made it all possible.
The/Studio: What are some of the greatest challenges you face with Vegan Jiu Jitsu?
Leon: Time is the biggest challenge for me at the moment. I still work a full time job and train 2-3 hours a day. The few minutes I have left, go towards my website and social media accounts. Another problem I deal with is being labeled. The concept of Vegan Jiu Jitsu may appear hypocritical to those how lack knowledge of what it is that we actually do. Some people view Jiu Jitsu as a violent sport, but fail to realize that it was an art form created to give the smaller guy self-defense against bigger opponents. BJJ is one of the few martial arts forms that can stop an attacker from harming you without ever throwing a single punch or kick. People often think that Vegans are weak because we don’t eat meat, but I let my actions speak for themselves when it comes to that.
The/Studio: Wow! You are extremely busy! Where do you see Vegan Jiu Jitsu in 10 years?
Leon: In 10 years, I hope that Vegan Jiu Jitsu will be well known. I plan to have apps and charity events that will help educate the population of all the great things Vegan Jiu Jitsu has to offer.
The/Studio: What type of legacy do you want to leave?
Leon: I would like to leave an honest legacy. I want to put an end to all stereotypes regarding Veganism and BJJ
The/Studio: I love that, “an honest legacy”. That’s a great legacy to leave. What is the story behind the custom product that you produced with The/Studio?
Leon: When I created Vegan Jiu Jitsu, I also created a symbol that would be easily recognized by plant based BJJ practitioners from all over the world. Over time, members in our community requested our symbol to be made in to a patch that they would wear on their Kimons/Gi’s so that everyone would now what they represent.
The/Studio: How are you going to use this custom product?
Leon: Our custom product will be distributed out to anyone who wants to support our cause.
The/Studio: Do you have any upcoming events that our community members can attend?
Leon: There’s an awesome event taking place June 12-14 in Richmond Virginia, at Richmond BJJ Academy. This event is a three day camp with sessions about animal rights, nutrition, and cooking. For more information, go to veganbjjcamp.com