Jason Wilson: A portrait of community leadership | The GOODS

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“That’s what this is about…It’s OK to cry. We cry as men.”


The man, the mentor and his method

Detroit’s Jason Wilson is a husband and father of two, and the founder and head instructor of the Cave of Adullam Transformational Training Academy, also known as CATTA. CATTA is a leadership and martial arts center where Wilson, through his years of mentoring and his experience in the arts of Aikibujutsu, Jiujitsu, Judo, Kempo, Short Staff Fighting and Combat Boxing, trains young men how to defend themselves and others, and above all, how carry themselves with respect and treat others in kind.  


Many are familiar with Wilson’s motivational social media posts and videos mentoring youth at CATTA. One particular video features a Q&A between Wilson and the young men in which sensitive but important topics are brought up for discussion. Another shows a protégé trying to break through boards with his left hand. After a few unsuccessful attempts, the young student breaks through and at this point, he begins to cry. Wilson engages him with the love and patience of a master in martial arts and a father with compassion, explaining that at times challenges will be hard to push through like the board and that men nonetheless have to push through them, always knowing that “it’s okay to cry.”


Wilson’s work has been featured on local news outlets and the Today Show’s website. He was even a guest on Dr. Oz and a popular scene on the television series “This is Us” was inspired by Wilson’s approach to mentoring work with CATTA. The scene, featuring a lead character bonding with his adopted son by doing push-ups while his son is on his back is a form of training Wilson uses for men, telling them that as a father, “You do not drop and fall, even when things get tough.”


Wilson, in wanting to tell the greater story behind what has made him the man he is today, recently authored “Cry Like a Man: Fighting for Freedom from Emotional Incarceration” a memoir that goes into a difficult past and how he fought through it all to accomplish all he has. Wilson says, “Crying Like A Man is much deeper than shedding tears, but releasing the trauma held in your heart and mind for years.”


Faith, family and community

Wilson continually promotes the joy of family in his posts. He honors his wife and two children, sharing with his followers both young and old what it looks like to have love and respect for the persons closest to us. For Wilson, it is clear in everything that he does that faith and family are central to success.


Outside of the dojo, writing and appearances, Wilson is also the Founder and President of the Yunion, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “counter negative cultural influences that misdirect the lives of youth by raising awareness and strengthening families through innovative prevention programming, education, parental engagement, mentoring, and counseling.”


In all, Wilson is a leader in word and deed. His style of compassionate leadership is so often missing in many communities and homes, but there are signs of change, and people like Jason Wilson are at the fore.  


“My passion is to help boys and men find strength to become courageously transparent about their own brokenness as I shed light on the symptoms and causes of childhood trauma and ‘father wounds.’ I long to see men free themselves from emotional incarceration—to see their minds renewed, souls weaned, and relationships restored.”


Follow Jason Wilson on Twitter at @mrjasonowilson. Don’t miss out on being encouraged by this motivational titan.

Photo from Jason Wilson's Facebook page


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