The Blind Grappler, Clinton Terry, competed in his first ever combat jiu jitsu match this weekend at Mana Championship. The event organizer, Mark Tulloch, who was initially hesitant to host the match said:
Clinton, being the crazy man that he is, has been nagging me for quite a while to have a fight. I was like, “dude, I don’t think thats a good idea.”
Luckily, the blind grappler talked him into putting the match on. This was the first combat jiu jitsu match to be held in New Zealand and Tosh put his hand up straight away when he heard they were looking for competitors:
I’ve watched combat jiu jitsu since the first one and always wondered if my jiu jitsu could hold up with strikes. So when Mark said he was looking for someone, I jumped on it. Especially since it was the first in New Zealand. It was definitely a little scary playing my normal game with the fear of strikes but I think I did well. And no strikes hurt at all. Most were glancing blows and I felt good striking. Just not as many opportunities to slap as I thought there might have been.
Terry, who’s vision has been described as looking through four layers of bubble wrap, won the match and even managed to dodge some strikes that night.
I don’t know how I did it. Maybe because I was holding on to one of his legs. I could feel him move and managed to move out of the way just in time. But the strikes didn’t feel too hard. One of the shots made my ears ring a little bit but I could handle it. I don’t know if there has ever been a combat jiu jitsu fight with a blind person but I was really hoping to set a world record and be the first
Terry, who was almost in tears after winning the match, gave an emotional speech:
Just don’t let people tell you that you can’t do sh*t. If you have someone come into your gym and you think that they can’t make it. Man, it’s your job to help them recognise their dream. Please don’t kill dreams help make them.
The entire match is available to watch here. For more insight on how the Blind Grappler has managed to overcome significant adversity, to succeed in both jiu jitsu and wrestling against sighted athletes despite being blind, take a look at this article.