U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Borne the Battle #261: Marine Veteran Tim Davis, Educator, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Evangelist, “Spot the Marine” Meme

At first glance, Tim Davis was not an ideal candidate for the Marine Corps. Although he had wanted to join the Marines since grade school, Davis was unathletic, overweight and had a shoulder problem that would require surgery before he could qualify for service.

“I was a big nerd,” Davis laughed. “I was functionally fat in the Marine Corps.”

Davis was sworn into the Marines a week before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Over the course of a 15-year career in the Corps, he deployed nine times, engaged in anti-terrorism operations in Southeast Asia, and collaborated with military forces from around the world.

Today, Davis is working toward a doctorate in adult education and teaches ethics to the next generation of Marine Corps leaders. He’s also a minor internet celebrity, having appeared in a couple of Marine memes that went viral.

In this week’s episode of Borne the Battle, Tim Davis talks about the life lessons he learned in the Corps, making the transition from soldier to civilian, how his experiences in the military helped him prepare for a career as a teacher, and the difference between teaching adults and children. He also discusses the benefits of studying jiu-jitsu and how it helps to heal both body and mind.

How does he do it? “Remain calm,” Davis said. “Find the humor in the situation.”


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