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#18 Jason Bender

Jason Bender grew up in small town Ohio. His town was so small that it didn't even have a public library. But it did have a book mobile and Jason would request all the martial arts books and action movies he could find. Those books and movies energized Jason and showed him that there was always a light at the end of what Jason calls the "Hero's Journey".

This positive attitude helped Jason through many struggles during his childhood. Jason had an unstable household, constantly moving and at one point, finding himself homeless. But Jason knew better things were ahead of him.

A deacon at Jason's church was also an assistant football coach at Jason's high school. With his deacon's encouragement, Jason tried out for the team and after years of always being picked last, Jason found himself on the team and eventually a team Captain. With his positive attitude and work ethic, Jason found success on the field and that success reinforced Jason's belief in himself.

After high school, Jason jumped at a chance to move to Chicago. The allure of the city for both its nightlife and the chance to train martial arts was something Jason could not pass up.

Jason began training under Grandmaster Carlson Gracie, working as a personal trainer, but also taking advantage of the nightlife that 1990's Chicago had to offer.

This partying started to take a toll on Jason's training and work and he knew something had to change. Now over 9 years sober, Jason is again using that positive work ethic, and belief in himself to continue achieving success.

Jason's journey now finds him opening his own business, Bender Martial Arts and Fitness.

During a time that would make most people second guess themselves into not taking any action, Jason is using the lessons and challenges he has learned throughout his life to continue his own Hero's Journey.


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