Martesse Gilliam is a former police officer turned serial entrepreneur. With his co-founder Michelle Swittenberg, they started Brwl which stands for (Be Relentless With Life) and is a one stop shop for all your boxing + yoga needs in Orange, New Jersey. His entrepreneurial spirit was passed down from his grandfather on his mother’s side and from his father through the practice of martial arts. He is also one of my 12 Fitness Influencers to Follow in 2020.
His background is truly unique. Having that experience in law enforcement, as well as opening a black owned business, made this episode of the House of Boom Podcast relevant to today’s political climate. During the episode, we talked about bridging the gap between police and civilians and here is what Martesse had to say:
Respect:– ”What steps beyond protesting do you think can be taken to bridge the gap between the police and everyone else?”
Martesse – “From both a police perspective and talking to everyday citizens, we have to start to have the uncomfortable conversation and be present. As a citizen, know that police officers don’t bleed blue, they bleed red just like you and I and that they are human beings that are behind the badge. Try to get past the negative experiences we have had with police. If you get that opportunity when an officer is around in a non threatening way, just seeing how they are so that we can break through that militant mindset and the badge and bullet proof vest.
Police officers, for damn sure, need to start to engage their community and focus more on the service part, then the protecting aspect of it. The trend that officers have is protecting isn’t directly correlated to something positive. I think it needs to be more service based so that the community knows I am here as an officer to serve every single person in this community however that may be. So stepping away from the militant mindset they may be in and saying, I’m here to serve people and if I serve people, I can become a hometown hero by really being a person who serves.
I talk about it in my training a lot about living from your heart space. I say that your love, your kindness and your compassion come from your heart, but your bravery, courage, your power and strength come from the same place As officers and citizens we really need to tap into the heart space, being in a space and communicating with each other so we know one another in the community. Most police officers, when they are on the job, are in the community for about 25 years until they retire so it’s important.”
Martesse worked as an officer for close to 7 years and was also the victim of excessive force by other police officers while not on duty.
Being a black owned and operated business in 2020 has been the left hook most didn’t see coming but businesses nationwide have faced challenges with COVID-19. Our conversation continued to entrepreneurship and having to change the way he operates his business, from being in-studio to a virtual platform.
He was kind enough to give a sample workout which shows the technical breakdown of each punch and how the Brwl crew connects to the music to make the workout a dope experience! You can check out more from his dope workout space @brwl.offical on social media or via the website here Brwl.
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