Wednesday, June 7, 2023 8:08PM
MARLTON, N.J. -- First, they hit the streets. Then, they hit the mat.
One hundred and seventy combat veterans, families and friends took part in the 2nd annual Ruck and Roll in June.
The McHugh Jiu Jitsu School in partnership with the We Defy Foundation, holds the two-part event to honor the fallen and raise funds to help combat veterans today.
It consists of a 5-mile walk with weighted backpacks followed by a round of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on the open mats of the school.
"We've really found jiu jitsu fills this void for veterans," says owner Pete McHugh. "It's comradery. For instance, we don't call them teammates. We're the tribe. They're a part of something here; that shared brotherhood. Memorial Day for us is more than just burgers, hot dogs and pools. It's just a way to remember we have the best country in the world."
"I'm a Navy Veteran; Memorial Day means a lot to me," says Pete Lingesso of the We Defy Foundation. A lot of people payed the ultimate price. We're lucky to be here because they put it all on the line."
Connor Nachurski is glad to hit the streets for a good cause.
The Villanova ROTC Senior says it's a way to remember the fallen.
They raised more than $6,000 that goes straight to supporting combat veterans get scholarships to enroll in the school.
The benefits of jiu-jitsu on combat veterans with military-related disabilities or PTSD can be life-changing.