Nicholas Mendez Journey & Resiliency Through Martial Arts

Nicholas Mendez Journey & Resiliency Through Martial Arts

Hebron, Indiana, a small town 40 miles from Chicago, is where Nicholas Mendez (Nick Mendez), a dedicated 25 year old martial artist, found his passion and calling in life. 

Being raised in a tough and impoverished family, and living in a town of just 3,000 people, there wasn’t much for Nick to do growing up.


From the time he was young to his teen years, he struggled to find something that he could dedicate himself to that would improve his life. He found distraction through video games from family issues and small town struggles, but that didn’t improve his life at all.

At the age of 15, Nick found high school wrestling. He stepped onto a mat for the first time and unknowingly began a transformative journey that would shape the rest of his life – this was his day 0 and introduction to martial arts.

For many, high school wrestling isn’t just about the sport – it’s a lesson in learning perseverance and facing one of the hardest challenges in life. 

Despite physical injuries and illnesses including tearing his rotator cuffs multiple times, battling pneumonia 3 times, and grueling weight cuts; Nick found an amazing outlet in the sport. He found a community in his wrestling team and a calling to martial arts. He wrestled for 3 years.

A couple of years post-high school, the absence of wrestling left a void of structure and outlet in his life. That’s when he found his next calling in martial arts: brazilian jiu jitsu. BJJ offered the same benefits that wrestling did: a community, a great skill, and an amazing workout. The introduction to a new ruleset and the challenge of hundreds of different moves and positions drew Nick to the sport.

Unfortunately, about 2 years into his jiu jitsu training Nick’s life was flipped upside down. In March 2021, his 27 year old brother Shaun passed away unexpectedly. Through the uncertainty and chaos of such a monumental loss, Nick credits martial arts as what grounded him. The physical fight of jiu jitsu helped him work through the internal turmoil and eventually accept the loss of his brother. Through the darkest times in his life, he was able to navigate those challenges by using martial arts as a source of light and healing.

After 4 years of training and hundreds of hours on the mat, Nick received his blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in July of 2022. He doesn’t just see the rank as a testament to his dedication to the art – but as a part of his journey in life as a whole.

After achieving his blue belt, he then took on the challenge of learning kickboxing. Training at Torres Martial Arts academy under former WEC world champion and UFC fighter Miguel Torres (44 W-9 L Professional MMA record), Nick began to truly understand the depth of both kickboxing and martial arts. Through his time training with Torres, he’s become a well rounded and humble martial artist.


Going forward, Nick has visions to train muay thai and MMA in the next few years. In the long term, he wants to contribute back to the martial arts community, either through opening his own gym or starting his own martial arts gear business.

Nick’s story is more than just a personal triumph; it’s a testament that martial arts isn’t merely a sport – it’s a foundational tool to overcome and surpass life’s toughest challenges.


Follow Nicholas Mendez of Hebron Indiana’s martial arts journey on his Instagram here: