Clinton Hollett spent the last decade of his life dedicated to teaching and training students in the art of Jiu-Jitsu at Emergent Martial Arts studio in Calgary.
The martial art form is known for being more gentle. No weapons are used and it’s often an effective way for someone smaller in stature to defend themselves.
Hollett was drawn to the practice, having known what it’s like to overcome big obstacles.
“I quickly learned that there’s an easier way through these physical problems. That thought process quickly translated to my real life,” Hollett said.
When he was 17, Hollett was convicted of second-degree murder in a brutal beating in Halifax. He was granted parole in 2006 and since then, has spent his time trying to reach out to people to ensure they don’t make the same mistakes he did.
Emergent Martial Arts was quick to work with Hollett to facilitate his Jiu-Jistu practice out of its studio in northeast Calgary.
“We understand that it may seem like something that would scare people away,” April Houson, manager of Emergent Martial Arts, said.
“But he doesn’t hide his story. He uses it as a tool to reach people. He believes in what he’s doing because it helps people not make the same mistakes that he did.”
The studio is forthcoming with students about Hollett’s past. They, however, were quick to embrace him as a teacher for his talent in the sport.
He helped coach Rebecca Hughes all the way to the World Master Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship.
“It was never a question of what he did 20 years ago,” Hughes said. “It was: ‘what I can get from him now.’”
The acceptance of the Jiu-Jitsu community has been overwhelming for Hollett who said it’s been an uphill battle since being granted parole.
“Most people just want the bad,” Hollett said.
He’s adapted to the backlash and said he’s just very appreciative of the second chance he’s been given.
“I just keep doing good,” Hollett said. “I keep my head out of trouble. This is a case where the system worked.”
When Hollett was granted parole in 2006, part of the conditions are that he doesn’t participate in any boxing event or attend any fights.
WATCH: A man convicted in a fatal beating is now teaching martial arts to students in Calgary. But as Jenna Freeman reports, this is a story of a community that has chosen to embrace someone for who he is, not who he was.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: This article initially stated Hollett spent the last 10 years training students at Emergent Martial Arts studio in Calgary. While he has been training students for the last 10 years, he only recently began coaching out of the studio.
A convicted killer who has been training students at a Calgary martial arts studio was arrested last week and remains in custody while he awaits a hearing before Corrections Canada.
Corrections Canada confirmed that Clinton Joe Hollet, also known as CJ Hollett, was arrested by Calgary police on a Canada-wide warrant on Jan. 20.
Hollett works as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach at Emergent Martial Arts studio in northeast Calgary.
His boss called him a gentle man in a gentle sport and believes his arrest may be a misunderstanding.
Hollett’s parole conditions state that he is:
“…not to participate in or attend professional or amateur boxing or fighting events… not to participate in a combative role (fighter) in a professional or amateur boxing or fighting event.”
Corrections Canada would not clarify if his coaching activity is a violation of his parole conditions.
“Of course they think it’s fighting because it’s martial arts,” said Daniel Miller, owner of Emergent Martial Arts on Wednesday.
“Jiu-jitsu – scary words right? Until you understand it’s exactly what it is — it’s the opposite of fighting in every way. It’s about solving the violent scenario without the use of violence.”
In 1998, when Hollett was 17, he was found guilty of second-degree murder in a brutal beating in Halifax. Hollett was granted parole in 2006.
Part of his parole conditions state that he cannot participate in any boxing events or attend any fights.
Earlier this month, Hollett told Global News that since his release in 2006, he has spent his time trying to reach out to people to ensure they don’t make the same mistakes he did.
“I quickly learned that there’s an easier way through these physical problems. That thought process quickly translated to my real life,” he said in the Jan. 7 interview.
At the time, the manager of Emergent Martial Arts spoke highly of Hollett, adding that the facility has been forthcoming with students about his past.
“We understand that it may seem like something that would scare people away,” April Houson said. “But he doesn’t hide his story. He uses it as a tool to reach people. He believes in what he’s doing because it helps people (to learn from his mistakes).”
When interviewed earlier in January, Hollet told Global News he was appreciative of the second chance he had been given.
“I just keep doing good,” Hollett said. “I keep my head out of trouble — this is a case where the system worked.”
The date of the hearing is not known.
With files from Jenna Freeman
© 2017 Global News