MMA Suicide Raises New Questions About Philosophy

My friend Thembisa M’shaka just sent me the news on Justin Levens death in an apparent murder suicide with his wife Sarah. Details are sketchy, but whatever the conclusions its all quite sad.

Being a martial artist, even at my mundane weekend warrior level is HARD. I cannot imagine what really takes to be the in the top ranks like BJ Penn, Andrei Arlovski, Cheick Congo, Fedor, Koscheck etc.

It takes a lot of mental power to stay balanced internally juggling training, family life and personal time. The pressure to be a wrecking machine each time you step in has got to be enormous. I have always been concerned that the American MMA dynamic was lacking in an authentic philosophy. This is in large part due sadly to American cultural bigotry.

American’s love Bruce Lee’s fighting. They ignored the philosophy that gave birth to it. The American’s trembled in the shadow of the Gracie family in the early 1990’s . Now go to any MMA message board and watch people talk about Brazilian monkey this, and Jap that. Its an ugly blend of ignorance, arrogance and xenophobia.

This cultural bias has backfired on the American MMA community. All you wanted was the fighting right? Well, thats all you got…Now look around and see how much pain a lot of these MMA guys are. Look how unstable their homes are. Look how empty they feel outside of the octagon. Its real sad.

People like Dave Camarillo of Guerrilla Jiu Jitsu have spoken to this idea in prior essays.

I think that decades of ignoring the “foreign ideas” of Jigoro Kano, Bruce Lee, Helio Gracie, Dave Camarillo and others must stop. Pick up The Art of War, The Art of Peace, The Book of 5 Rings, Confucian, Buddhist and Taoist works. They help the martial artist keep a holistic perspective of his life. They help us combat our fears and remove the darkness from our hearts. God bless the family of Justin and Sarah Levens. I pray the MMA community can come together and build a support network to prevent future tragedies like this from happening ever again.




A mixed martial arts fighter and his wife were found shot to death in a Laguna Niguel condominium in what authorities said was an apparent murder-suicide.

The bodies of Justin Levens and his wife, Sarah McLean-Levens, were found Wednesday afternoon, Orange County sheriff’s officials said. The 28-year-old Levens competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and other organizations. Levens hasn’t fought in UFC or WEC since 2006, and one of his losses that year was to Evan Tanner, who died on a desert trip this year.

Justin Levens Wikipedia entry lists the results of his most recent fights. His last one, a loss to American Kenny Ento, occured on October 18. See the rest of Levens’ fight record here.

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The Hip Hop Chess Federation fuses music chess and martial arts to promote unity, strategy and non-violence. Our goal is to improve the intellectual, cultural and artistic state of young American minds.
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