What are you able to say about an individual whose life’s ardour was making others into higher individuals, stronger and with a way of confidence they most likely didn’t know that they had in them?
It’s even more durable to consider the fitting phrases to say as soon as they’ve tragically handed away far too quickly, leaving a neighborhood with an incredible loss that seems like this could’t presumably be actual, however it’s. That’s as a result of Matthew Brannon, or “Coach Matt” as many people knew him, was extra than simply that sort of a person, however a mentor and good friend in contrast to every other.
The Columbia Arts Constructing (CAB) household mourned the loss this week of its beloved kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu teacher. Alongside along with his much-loved canine and finest good friend, George, Matthew was taken from us final weekend after serving two brief, however very impactful, years on this neighborhood.
I received’t go into the small print about what occurred, as a result of that isn’t the story that must be advised.
There’s an previous Buddhist educating which says, “Hundreds of candles could be lighted from a single candle, and the lifetime of the candle is not going to be shortened. Happiness by no means decreases by being shared.” I consider that applies to an individual like Matthew, how his spirit will stay with those that knew him though he’s gone.
Matthew had an incredible affect on Columbia, and I’m unsure if he ever actually knew how deep that appreciation ran, not simply along with his college students, however anybody who ever met him and spent greater than two minutes with the man. It was his means of connecting along with his college students on a private degree, his quick-whittitness in telling joke, or the real pleasure you’d see in his face as he watched his college students develop as martial artists. It was not onerous to feed off of his good power, and be compelled to share his good nature with others.
When Matthew got here to Columbia in 2018, it was like he’d discovered a brand new dwelling, becoming proper in with Muletown and its rising arts scene like so many others have over time. Solely his sort of artwork makes use of your fists, toes, elbows and knees. On the time, I couldn’t wait to enroll, however extra importantly I wished to fulfill the person prepared to take such a threat on a bunch of amateurs like us.
In talking with CAB proprietor Holly Freeman, Matthew’s “human” finest good friend, she too mirrored on these first few courses, how many people had been shy, introverted “artist varieties” that he managed to discover a reference to virtually instantly. The CAB program was his coronary heart and soul, constructing it up from just some knuckleheads in wrist wraps to later incorporating courses for youngsters, a number of martial arts kinds and finally bringing his prime college students into the world authentic competitions (and successful).
“He was simply such dude, and other people knew that about him, however I don’t suppose they knew precisely how a lot he cared about that fitness center and his college students. He took excellent care of lots of people,” Freeman mentioned. “With the ability to practice with him and have that sort of assist, I do know I wasn’t the one one. When you concentrate on the distinction he made when he was right here in such a short while, he constructed all of those individuals up, and for that sort of man to get all of those individuals collectively, after which competing and doing nicely was simply unimaginable.”
After these first couple of courses, the group quickly developed a detailed bond, in addition to its personal management abilities taught to us by our fearless sensei. There was nothing extra thrilling than sweating and beating one another up over numerous routines and combos, and also you’d hear Matt scream, “That’s it, you bought it! Now do it once more for 5 extra minutes.”
For those who didn’t suppose you had it in you, he made certain you discovered it one way or the other, as a result of he was the sort of man who may see into one other’s potential, even when they couldn’t see it in themselves. He had a eager capability in bringing out the most effective in individuals, even when it was by simply sharing just a few encouraging phrases.
As college students, he actually put us by means of the ringer, challenged us in methods we most likely hadn’t been examined earlier than, however most of all he made it enjoyable. It made you wish to come again and take a look at once more even should you had been drained, too busy and wished to not really feel that sort of sore once more (consider me, it was brutal, however at all times price it).
I’ll at all times remorse leaving this system and never sticking it out, regardless of my very own well being causes, like so most of the different “authentic crew,” but I at all times tried to maintain up with the way it was continually rising, encouraging others to do this particular class and meet Coach Matt. What’s superb about wanting by means of previous images and social media posts is seeing what number of completely different individuals Matthew had a constructive affect on in simply two brief years. From younger youngsters to individuals my age and older, he was an knowledgeable at making an intimidating sport or self-discipline appear accessible, enjoyable and welcome to only about anybody.
I’ve had mates take the category who mentioned Matthew helped them overcome issues like alcoholism, getting by means of a divorce, melancholy, or perhaps they only wanted the additional push to lose just a few kilos. The purpose of martial arts isn’t to throw punch, however to humble and rework an individual into their finest self, which was evident in Matthew’s educating model. He wasn’t a strict disciplinarian, however a good friend, a mentor and somebody who solely wished you to proceed making progress, even when it’s little-by-little.
To lose somebody like that’s one thing you possibly can’t ever recover from, however his legacy will certainly not be forgotten, for what he did for this neighborhood, for the CAB and people like me and so many others who had been lucky to have him as a instructor and good friend. I simply want extra individuals had recognized him the best way we did.
Even when he’s now not right here in bodily kind, his spirit will stay all through the CAB constructing, within the hearts of his college students and the teachings he shared in making us higher, stronger, extra loving individuals. Matthew Brannon will likely be drastically missed, however his affect on the neighborhood as an entire will at all times be there, in every of us that knew him, realized from his instance and are perpetually higher for it.
Wherever you might be on the market Matt, we miss you, we love you and can always remember you.
Jay Powell is a reporter for The Day by day Herald. Contact him at email@example.com or comply with him on Twitter @JayPowellCDH.