Mahecha Bros: Nothing But Swords in One’s Mind

Mahecha Brothers

Kevin and Brian Mahecha are twin brothers who have shown one of the most steady and consistent rises to the top of the BJJ world over the past half a decade, all the while battling through personal struggles and injuries. Their story is one that exemplifies pure passion for martial arts, and the way they have chosen Jiu Jitsu as the medium to express their inner commitment to glory and perfection.

The Beginning

Both Kevin and Brian started off as amateur kickboxers in Muay Thai and International style rules. Even then they were at the top of the food chain with both being the top two fighters in their respective styles in the nation. In 2008, both of them placed 2nd in the IKF World Classic, Brian in International rules and Kevin in Muay Thai Kickboxing.

But at the same time, they had already begun training in Jiu Jitsu. The time they got their blue belts they realised that BJJ was deep in their hearts already. What started off as a fun exploration soon turned into a full time passion as they took the plunge into training Jiu Jitsu full time, to find out “how deep the rabbit hole goes”. They love the cerebral aspect of the sport and the limitless possibilities it offers when it comes to turning around any situation to our advantage.

Brian’s fight with and triumph over cancer

As earlier noted, Brian had been placed 2nd in the 2008 IKF World Classic. But what makes this feat truly remarkable is the fact that back in 2006, on May 1st, he was diagnosed with stage 3 soft tissue sarcoma.

shoulder

Let us rewind a bit. Brian had been continually facing problems with subluxation in his left shoulder joint in a kickboxing tournament when he was 16. He took up strength training like any diligent athlete would to fix the shoulder. But it exacerbated the problem by making the joint increasingly stiffer and driving up the pain. Specifically, the stiffness would not let him turn his arm inwards. He would visit many professionals and go for MRI scans to detect the cause of this oddly persistent pain but they would either fail to diagnose correctly or brush him off citing a simple case of extreme soreness. What’s surprising was the fact that by this time, Brian dreaded the MRI sessions as he could not keep his arm still without experiencing excruciating pain. Yet no one took a closer look, nor were they willing to admit that the matter was beyond their expertise save one doctor who admitted his lack of expertise and referred Brian to Dr. Temple at University of Miami Hospital (currently at Nova University in Davie, FL).

Champ

Dr. Temple informed him and his parents about the stage three soft-tissue sarcoma on May 1, 2006. On May 10, 2006, the cancerous mass was removed. But also along with it were removed the Infraspinatus Rotator Cuff, part of the scapula and posterior capsule (later replaced with cadaver tissue). The removal of the rotator cuff meant something else had to take over its function, so the humerus (the bone of the arm) was drilled into the shoulder socket with five titanium screws.

By this time, Brian had already lost a significant functional part of his shoulder, The parts that we take for granted in day to day tasks without even thinking about them. How many times have we rolled out of an omoplata or kimura attempt without much trouble? Also, the surgery to remove the cancerous mass is just the beginning of treatment of cancer at such an advanced stage. What followed next was two and a half months of intense radiation therapy.

The radiation therapy kicked off with four sessions of Brachy Therapy: tubes laced through the shoulder which would be filled with Plutonium laced threads circulated throughout the shoulder. This method cuts down the need for external radiation treatment by half.

the trio

This was followed by about thirty sessions of external radiation where his shoulder would be blasted with a focused beam of radiation relentlessly for 20 minutes, in each session. This would cause the skin to burn and layers would fall off in the shower. The radiation therapy made him feel weak throughout the day, which is one of the worst side effects of this approach.

Through the entire ordeal, Brian’s mental fortitude was evident. The only thing he was focused on was getting back to training once this was all over. He was always 100% optimistic to get back to competing at his previous level and had his brother Kevin to look up to. He would accompany him to tournaments and would soak in the infectious energy of competition. Such kind of innocent optimism is always the most powerful and many great warriors in the past have been forged out of such fires. Dr. Temple noted clearly in a publication done on Brian that:

“The fact that he is able to perform at the highest competitive level is the mark of an extraordinary champion. It is a testimony to his will to succeed despite overwhelming odds.”

With the help of physiotherapy and strong mental support from his family, Brian was back to training with Kevin after just four months and in 2007, both of them joined American Top Team with the intention of training for MMA. This made them fall in love even more with Jiu Jitsu and after their win in the 2008 IKF Worlds, they decided to make the switch to Jiu Jitsu full time.

Even Kevin has had setbacks with two ACL replacements including a meniscus repair on the same leg in the space of a year which kept him off competition till early 2012.

The brothers are shining examples of the great things hard work and honesty can achieve. After going through such tumultuous phases in their Jiu Jitsu journey, they have had a prolific run in the recent years bagging podium finishes and wins at big and prestigious tournaments like IBJJF International Opens, Abu Dhabi Worlds, Pan Ams etc. In their own words, their rise and progression was “never anything meteoric” but then so is nothing else in nature. Instead we get to witness the organic growth and making of two fine martial artists who do justice to the spirit of warriorhood.

The brothers train out of American Top Team Aventura and are both black belts under Jonatas “Tagarela” Gurgel. They credit their coach and team members with their success who continue to guide and push them on their way to greatness.

They have an unique style of game featuring spider guard, lasso guard, sweeps and the 50/50 position. Sign up on their site for these detailed lessons and insider tips which also helps to support their Jiu Jitsu journey: http://www.mahechabjj.com/whatdoyouseek/

brothers_with_osu

Ojimas is proud to support the Mahecha Brothers with the right pre-training supplement, Osu which is a tincture combination of adaptogens and amino acids that increases stamina and resistance to stress.

Kevin Mahecha Career Statistics

Kevin-stats

Brian Mahecha Career Statistics

brian stats

 

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