For martial artist Joslin of Hamilton, a new way forward takes him back

His first fight in seven years was just 10 seconds old when the worst-case scenario happened.

Hamilton's Jeff Joslin, pictured, left the MMA because of concussion problems, but he's back doing a different kind of fighting, jiu jitsu.

As they came together at the centre of the mat, his opponent lunged forward. As he did, he accidentally smashed his head into Jeff Joslin's face, pushing the Hamilton fighter's tooth through his lip.

"I managed to not bleed enough that they would stop the match," Joslin laughs.

The blood wasn't the issue, though. He's bled before and survived just fine. He's broken his nose and been busted open and had stitches more than a few times. He once even rammed a couple of lost teeth back into his bleeding gums so he'd look good on a post-match TV interview.

Now, though, it was the inside of his head that was of concern.

Weeks after making his only appearance in the UFC in December 2006 a unanimous-decision loss to Josh Koscheck Joslin suffered a serious concussion while training for his next fight. The symptoms were crippling. Light bothered him. He always felt foggy. He had headaches. Words sometimes got jumbled.

After 18 months of this, he realized he was done. He wanted to keep going. He'd trained his whole life for the chance to make his living in mixed martial arts. But he couldn't take the chance that one more blow would send him back to the starting line. So he reluctantly retired, resigned to the fact he'd never fight again.

He could still teach, though. So he ran classes at the family studio on Concession Street, built an online MMA instruction program and wrote a book.

At times, he'd bring in some high-level jiu jitsu experts to help teach classes. To help them demonstrate techniques, Joslin a second-degree black belt would often roll with these guys. As he did, he started noticing he was doing pretty well. Certainly holding his own.

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Jeff was one of the pioneers of BJJ and MMA in Ontario, Canada. I've seen him around at tournaments and while I've never interacted with him directly I am glad to hear he is doing well.