Brandon Ryan: Adaptive Defense Methods

Written by
Whitney Bailey
Written by
Whitney Bailey

Brandon Ryan is a fitness junkie who was born with cerebral palsy. He is the founder of Adaptive Defense Methods. Brandon states, “For a majority of my life I was told that I wouldn’t amount to anything, this came from both medical and educational personnel. Yet through the love and perseverance of my family, and my faith in God. I have overcome those odds, and am a published author, certified martial arts instructor, certified fitness and nutrition coach, motivational speaker and founder of Adaptive Defense Methods (ADM).”

Find out more about Brandon and his love for fitness in our interview with him below.

Brandon (wheelchair user)

How did you get into fitness? My dad gets all the credit for this, as he brought me home my first pair of dumbbells when I was a child. He got me taking multi-vitamins and even helped me get strong throughout my teenage years, along with martial arts. The rest is pretty much history. I got hooked on it and wanted others to be healthy in all aspects of life.

Tell me more about Adaptive Defense Methods? (and/or any other projects you have going on) I started ADM in early 2015. I have always had the burning desire to have an adaptive self-defense program/system. I had tried to do so much earlier in my life but had no traction or ways to market. It was in many ways, a very odd concept for a physically challenged person to need to defend themselves. Still is in many ways, but when the desire returned in early 2015, I began to search the internet for adaptive self- defense. And to be honest, I wasn’t pleased with what I saw. What I saw, wasn’t adding up in my mind. If someone like myself, was to be attacked (God forbid), it was going to sudden and with intent. As such, I strongly felt that the adaptive approach had to have a very gross motor approach, that could be utilized regardless of age, fitness level or adaptive context. I have had the honor of teaching those who have CP, but those without the use of their legs, visual impairments, autoimmune disorders and even retired/active military members. 

How important is it for people with disabilities to know how to defend themselves? Exceedingly important, even if a person is never attacked. It is better to know some basic skill sets than to know nothing when it depends on your life. It is also of equal value to know one's surroundings, better known as situational awareness. How to spot potential threats and listening to one's own “inner warrior” the thing inside of us that tells us something “isn’t right”    

What advice do you have for others who want to start their fitness journey? First, it's important for people to know that they are worthy of health. What I mean by that is, every person has the right to be healthy. We don’t have to listen to the negative voice in our minds that says “we’ll always be a certain way” this could relate to a person’s mobility or physical image and we can even carry negative self -perceptions of ourselves that we picked up along the way in our lives. Doctors don’t even know everything, so the limits we put on ourselves, really start with us. Secondly, start slow, understand your goals and why you want to achieve certain things. Thirdly, after you have a clear understanding of your motivations, then comes the process of introducing proper nutrition into one’s life, which can look different for everyone. Lastly, fitness is key. Again, because this looks different for everyone, based on physical ability. Spend some time finding what works for you, it might be adaptive CrossFit, HIT workouts or even something as water therapy and stretching.  

How has fitness been of benefit to your life? Wow, great question. Fitness, as you could maybe see from above, isn’t something that I equate just physical. But rather the food we introduce into our bodies. Through being on a low carb/high protein approach. My body has completely changed, the arthritis and mental struggle that I once experienced has taken a back seat. Sometimes It shows up, but I just focus more on what I’m eating and getting proper rest.

Has anyone ever doubted your physical capabilities? If so, how did you handle it? Yes, I used to take it so personal and get mad. Now, I just smile and walk on, because of the doubt that another puts on me. Is a doubt they hold of themselves. 

What does it mean to live life to the fullest? Another great one! Well… Living life to the fullest means, on one hand, facing all your demons. The things we don’t like about ourselves and doing what we can to do that. It means carrying your cross every day.  It means going after meaningful pursuits. It means loving others as you want to be loved. And it means laying down your life for something greater.  

What are some of your future goals? Obtain a few more certifications, publish a new book. Whatever the Lord places in my life.  

Thanks to Brandon for the great interview. Do you want to share your story? Contact us!

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