Senior A.J. Rosas uses his difficult childhood and the threes suicides of his friends to push him to not only dominate the MMA scene but also to aspire to a career in medicine and to serve in the military. Rosas has trained himself in Mixed Martial Arts, not so that he can fight for the sport of it, but so that he can protect the ones he loves. But the callouses on his hands are not just from his fighting skill but from his guitar playing. Rosas plays about every other night, and uses music as his tool to express himself.
The lights are dim as he bounces on the balls of his feet, his whole body tensing and releasing as he prepares to add this fight to his other 12 wins. He has trained hard. Between 3 to 8 hours a week for this moment but the crack of his knuckles is his triumph: not the pain of the person he battles, but the rush of knowing that he can protect someone, anyone that he loves.
But this fist of justice has a softer side. In his free time, the final chord vibrates through the air, finding only his ears to echo in. His fingers not only have callouses from his mixed martial arts skill, but from his guitar playing. Senior AJ Rosas has risen from a difficult home life and the tragedy of death to conquer not only the MMA scene but also to aspire to a field in medicine and serve in the Navy.
Rosas, however, says that his two core passions are tightly linked.
“I’m very passionate about MMA and music. Both have always helped me in hard times. MMA made me grow up and it taught me discipline and respect, whereas music is a way for me to express myself: I like to write songs and play my guitar, since it relaxes me, and both allow me to vent,” Rosas said.
Rosas has been a competing Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA fighter, for 8 years. He only fights, however, so that he can defend his loved ones, a passion that stems from his difficult childhood. But what really drove him to need to express and vent himself through physical activity and music was three tragedies.
“I guess what sparked my passions was the way I grew up and support of my three dearest friends who all were victims to suicide, but I owe them a lot for pushing me and helping me to find myself and pursue my passions on my own,”said Rosas.
But it is his loved ones in the present that drive him to continue. His passions spill over into education and future plans: Rosas loves anatomy and is working towards attending medical school, while he serves in the reserve United States Navy. He was also in a band and writes and plays music almost constantly, because he uses music as his tool to express himself.
Close family member, Matthew Rosas, recognizes his brother’s value as a person and a brother
“He’s a total dork but somewhat lovable. You get used to him, and he’s a really great person when you get to know him and I wouldn’t ask for anyone else as a brother. He’s my older brother and he’s always been there when I needed him. Like I said, he’s a great guy, trustworthy, funny, understanding, and caring and you can count on him for almost anything.” Matthew said.
But Matthew also supports Rosas’s passion for MMA and music
“MMA is a good sport to get into because it can teach you how to defend yourself. Who doesn’t love music? It brings such a great vibrancy to life that is unmatched by any other form of art. Music can induce feelings, match your emotions, cheer you up when you’re feeling down, bring life to a party, and even pump you up for a game. Music is an important aspect of life and has been around for centuries. If you don’t love music, you can’t really enjoy life,” Matthew said.
Ty Wrolson, Rosas’s best friend for a year supports Rosas just as strongly.
“I know he does MMA, and I honestly think it’s pretty awesome because I’d like to learn how to fight and defend myself,” Wrolson said. He has also seen Rosas’s heroic abilities when it comes to taking care of people. “I consider him as a role model for younger children because not only does he think of some dreams and goals, but he also goes after and achieves them. I’ve only known him for a year, and I could say he is my friend I go to if I need help or need something.”