[div class=”notice” class2=”icon”]The following is from an article on DstryrSG, part of the MiddleEasy Network.[/div]
*Editor’s note: Let it be known that the victim and his cousin were recreating what they saw on Wrestlemania earlier in the evening.
In the wake of the tragic accident that occurred last week, the Gracie Brothers explain precisely how Stephen Arceneaux III was choked to death by his younger cousin with hopes of educating our youth about the serious risks of practicing jiu-jitsu techniques, chokes in particular, without proper training and supervision. On Sunday, April 1, 2012, a Louisiana man was choked to death by his younger cousin. Stephen A. Arceneaux III, a 24-year-old from Destrehan, was pronounced dead at 10:39 p.m. Sunday night, April 1, 2012. The two were at a house party and began wrestling around on an inflated mattress when the 14-year-old, 110 lbs. younger cousin placed Arceneaux in a Rear Naked Choke. After 30-40 seconds, witnesses noticed Arceneaux was turning blue so the choke was released. Arceneaux’s girlfriend tried unsuccessfully to revive him before he was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
With the surge in popularity of MMA/BJJ almost every teen or adult can recognize a guillotine or rear naked choke. These moves are not new, they’ve existed for literally thousands of years and for thousands of years men, women and children have been killed or maimed by random “horseplay.” (No not the kind you paid to see in Tijuana.)
In Martial arts, in particular the grappling arts, opponents have one job – neutralize the attacker by any means. Breaking, choking and killing are what these arts are about and if your naive enough to think anything different I suggest you quit right now because you pose serious threat to yourself and everyone around you. It’s with this knowledge that martial artists/grapplers have an intimate understanding of the possibilities and the end result. This knowledge allows us to work within these confines and reduce bodily harm as much as possible (the loose definition of safety.) As with any sport or physical activity there are inherent risks involved and participants must thoroughly understand what negative outcomes may lie ahead. How do we gain this knowledge? – Through learning and experience.
Mixed martial arts and grappling have become an entertainment platform that reaches millions of people world wide. Everyone that is exposed to these arts are somehow influenced by them, whether its in adoration, hate, entertainment or passion.
In my opinion there are two ways to learn – by seeing or by experiencing. We are influenced by both. We can “see” something happen by various means, whether that be auditory, tactile or visual. When we experience something first hand it encompasses all of our senses as well as teaching us the mechanics and sensitivity needed to accomplish the particular action. It’s a fact that both children and adults watch sports, movies, play video games, and we are all somehow influenced by them. Every year hundreds of adults and children are killed and injured while participating in main stream sports while utilizing all of the safety precautions possible. At the same time hundreds are killed or injured by pure ignorance and lack of knowledge of the “end result.” For years kids have wrestled with each-other emulating there favorite Pro Wrestler, movie hero or sports icon. Without the proper knowledge and explanation of realistic consequences, the idea of safely participating disappears. How would we expect anyone to know how dangerous something is unless it was clearly stated to us. We gain knowledge by seeing and experiencing and it is human nature to experiment and replicate actions especially if we want to further understand them.
I can almost guarantee that everyday someone dies due to emulating something they saw. It could be racing your car down the highway, backyard wrestling, climbing a tree, or grappling with your friend or family member. By understanding the inherent risks we decide our level of participation within them. Those that lack the knowledge can and will always replicate the actions of others with the increased risk of harm or death.
So, how do we solve this this problem? I don’t know. As most things in life, knowledge is key. So, if parents, guardians and peers lack the understanding and appreciation of martial arts or sports then it’s on the sports themselves to warn those that are ignorant of the end result. Martial arts are not a game; they are a means to an end, whether they are in a sport context or that of self defense.
I, for one, love martial arts and I think everyone should experience them as an adult. But, as anything we do in life there are risks we take to accomplish those actions. I can only hope that this incident and public uproar doesn’t further fuel the ignorance of those that call Martial arts and MMA inhumane and barbaric. We can only hope to educate those around us with the truth and hope they listen with an open mind and an open heart.