My name is Darin Reisler. I’m the founder of Plus One Defense Systems, in West Hartford, Connecticut. I’m a former police officer, and a former social worker, which started a martial arts school (Plus One) with one student on an outdoor basketball court. Today, Plus One has over 450 students.
Along my journey in the martial arts, I have had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people. Over the years, I’ve noticed that something becomes immediately apparent when you meet somebody on the mat. That something is their Heart. Having had the opportunity to meet and train with people from all walks of life, I’ve always found this incredibly interesting, as someone’s heart cannot be defined by their social standing, their wealth, or even in their general appearance. I have found, however, that having “Heart” seems to be intrinsic; you either have it, or you don’t.
Reflecting back on this topic, with years on the mat, and as a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, there is one student who sticks out in my mind as having had an absolutely amazing heart. His name is Stuart Scott.
Stuart came to me years ago with a desire to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and Mixed Martial Arts. A popular ESPN commentator, and a well-rounded athlete, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Immediately, as soon as we began training, however, I recognized that he had a truly humble, kind, and compassionate heart. The student/instructor relationship grew, and we grew into friends. The years went by, and Stuart was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. It was a cancer that he had beaten twice before, and now it was back.
As the cancer ravaged his body, he went through chemotherapy, and he had a chemo port implanted in his chest. You want to know how to recognize somebody with heart? Stuart had a chemo port surgically implanted in his chest, and he continued to train! I still don’t know how he had the energy to do so, but he was rolling around on the mat and giving it his all! When we were done rolling, he would just smile. He may have had cancer, but the cancer didn’t have him!
As time went on, multiple news outlets picked up on his “fight” against cancer. Stuart had Men’s Health Magazine, The New York Times, and Good Morning America come to the dojo to interview him when he was training. (All the while, the cancer continued to strengthen, and Stuart’s physical body was continuing to weaken.)
During his NY Times interview, and during the Good Morning America interview, he said something on both occasions that really touched me. He said that he never asked, "Why me?" He noted that he had a wonderful life. He had two great kids, a job he loved, and he was really living the dream. He said, "Why not me? I think I'm about due." I thought this was really profound because he really meant it. I think he knew that he would die from cancer when he said that, too, and it just made me really think of how truly great a person he was. (Those comments never made it into the articles or onto television.)
As the Hyperfly folks know, You Can't Teach Heart, and Stuart definitely had heart! I’m proud to have called Stuart a student and a friend, and I’m proud to be associated with Hyperfly. As a full-time martial arts professional, I’ve dealt with a lot of companies. Very few of them have heart, and when Stuart was going through his battle, Hyperfly stepped up to the plate and offered to be there for him every step of the way. That gesture, and the continued follow through by Hyperfly as a company has proven to me that folks who truly have heart run Hyperfly. Thank you. YOU CAN’T TEACH HEART.