For Rusty Jenkins, life had become mundane.
“Life in the factories for me, anyway, it was miserable. I would literally get sick to my stomach driving to those jobs," he said.
Over time, bad habits emerged from the dissatisfaction.
"I used to drink way too much and of course everybody's rock bottom is different just like everyone’s peak is different and my rock bottom was pretty low," he said. "I realized there I had to make a change.”
That realization led through a series of changes to improve his life.
“First I got rid of the alcohol, then I started working out again and training again. I surrounded myself with different people. People that didn’t do those things, that had positive mind sets, that had goals,” Jenkins said.
Next, he took a risk and quit his factory job to open a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu dojo in Monroe County.
"It was a gamble to start a business like this in a small town, but we’re working on a year of being open now and we’ve moved into a bigger, much nicer facility than what we started in. Night classes are always packed," he said.
Now, alcohol-free and enjoying his newfound success, Jenkins sees life from a new perspective.
“We’re not put here to just you know get up go to work pay bills and die. There’s a greater purpose for all of us I believe that," he said. "My purpose is to educate Monroe count about what Brazilian jujitsu really is. My main purpose is to help as many people as I can.”
Jenkins opens the doors to Gracie Barra Madisonville six days a week on a mission to use his passion to help others.
"Different races, religions, political beliefs...but when we get in here, it's all about Jiu-Jitsu and we help each other and we all get along because of it," he said.