MILAN, Italy — Spc. Daedrick R. Lashley of the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade - Theater won gold after competing in a No-Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu round robin tournament, held at the PalaBadminton Sports Complex on September 10, 2022.
After arriving in Vicenza, Italy a little over 2 months ago, Lashley developed an interest in combat sports, specifically, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. After finding a team, led by Coach David Berger, Lashley immediately began training for his first tournament.
Nervous for the approaching tournament, Lashley trained day in and day out with Berger throughout the work week, and even on the weekends.
“Jiu Jitsu is like full body chess, and I love chess,” said Lashley. “You always have to be a few steps ahead of your opponent.”
Early on the morning of September 10th, Lashley and his teammates began the two hour drive to Milan. Hydrated and ready to compete, the team attended weigh-ins and received their brackets. Lashley was set to compete in the 215 pound weight division. Lashley dominated the competition, and made his way into the championship match.
Shortly into the championship match, the Maryland native earned himself two points from a take down. After only one minute and thirty-six seconds into the match, Lashley moved into half guard, and finished his opponent by submission with an “Americana.”
“I was so excited,” said Lashley. “It’s like all the training leading up to the competition was put to use.”
Jiu Jitsu is a common sport that many Soldiers across the Army choose to train in. A study by the Society of Federal Health Professionals at Oxford Academic on the benefits of Jiu Jitsu showed improvements in active duty service members post traumatic stress disorder symptoms, a decrease in major depressive disorder, and a decrease in alcohol use.
The number of Soldiers assigned to U.S. Army Garrison Italy who are participating in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes is increasing almost weekly. For some Soldiers, this sport may prove to be a solution for improving mental health.
“I recommend this sport to anybody really, not just soldiers,” said Lashley in an interview. “It teaches you discipline, self defense, and it's a good workout. I could go on and on about this, even the history, but the benefits behind it are truly amazing.”
The 207th Military Intelligence Brigade Theater conducts intelligence analysis, collection, and exploitation in support of Southern European Task Force-Africa (SETAF AF) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) in order to set the intelligence architecture for the theater, disrupt trans-national and trans-regional threats and promote regional stability in Africa while building and maintaining intelligence readiness.