BONNERS FERRY — All athletes strive to be their best at what they do. They utilize their senses and training to overcome obstacles in order to reach their targets. With everyone being different, each athlete has their own personal mountain to climb.
Ian Stone has been practicing martial arts most of his life, and upon moving to Boundary County, he was introduced to Bonners Ferry Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and owner and coach Sam Brown. The hurdle that Stone needed to conquer in order to accomplish his ambition was a predicament he was born with — he is hearing impaired.
Brown was able to communicate enough with Stone, and spent a lot of time with him during their sessions in order for him to understand everything.
Being hearing impaired didn’t hold Stone back as he continued to tackle his passion for fighting, and was invited to the Deaf World Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Long Beach, Calif., where he showed his family, friends, and community, by bringing home two silver medals, that once his goals are set, nothing can stop him.
“I plan to get the gold next time,” Stone said.
“Being deaf doesn’t bother me, I was born that way. Being out in the world is hard sometimes, the language barrier can be frustrating, some even treat me differently, because I can’t talk,” said Stone. “But I always do my best to overcome the challenges the best that I can.”
He continues to set an example for his six children as well, by encouraging them to participate in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).
“I want them to be able to defend themselves against threats both towards them and towards others,” said Stone. “I am tired of seeing kids get bullied like I did when I was a kid. I understand how it feels and I want to try and teach deaf and blind people in BJJ help build focus and work hard and you will become something great.”
Stone has the main goal of opening a BJJ school for deaf and blind kids and adults to that he can continue to spread encouragement. He researched online and found that there is a deaf martial arts community, and that they are all over the world, but it’s still growing.
Stone was invited to attend the 40th anniversary World Deaf Martial Arts Championship in Tokyo, Japan in July of 2018, where fighters from all over the world will attend. Germany also invited Stone to go and teach members of the deaf martial arts community as well.
With one language barrier already in place, Stone has learned that sign language in other countries is completely different.
“There is much to learn, and I don’t know a lot, but I have been learning,” Stone said. He gave some examples utilizing the ‘I love you’ sign, showing how in American Sign Language one uses the thumb, pointer finger, and pinky, against the same meaning but a different sign in Brazilian Sign, which uses the thumb and pinky fingers.
With the great amount of opportunity available, Stone’s main barrier right now is receiving sponsorship in order to attend the worldwide events.
“I just want to tell people, even deaf people, that they can accomplish their goals, and they can do whatever they want, and it’s fun. Its knowledge, how to defend yourself, help yourself give you a better life, and be strong, as well as making good friends,” said Stone.
For scheduling and contact information for the Bonners Ferry Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, visit www.bonnersferrybjj.com.