Jiu-jitsu community is obsessed with measuring the gentle art against other martial arts and even wild animals. And while many believe a blue belt could’ve beat Mike Tyson in the right ruleset, not many question their success against a chimpanzee. In fact, most BJJ hypotheticals skip right over to the Silverback gorilla.
But one grappler sadly had an encounter with several chimpanzees that ended up changing his life forever.
As an 8th grader, Dunia Sibomana made history by winning a New York high school state title. His incredible achievement, however, is only one aspect of his remarkable story. Dunia’s journey to success began in the Congo, where he and two relatives were viciously attacked by chimpanzees when he was just six years old.
On one sunny day, they were playing on the edge of the jungle. Dunia was with a younger brother, a cousin and a friend.
The attack left Dunia with severe facial injuries and the loss of a finger. He was the only survivor. Despite this traumatic experience, Dunia remained determined to overcome his circumstances.
” I woke up in the hospital. I was like, I was just like, scared. I didn’t know where I was. I was just like, surprisal still alive. Because like, if you get tagged by like a wild animal, then there’s not that many peoples survive.” – Dunia told No Sad Stories crew.
The injuries were so drastic that a close friend described them as ‘face just hanging’.
Eventually, he was brought to the United States for life-changing surgery. It was during this time that he met Miguel Rodriguez, a wrestling coach based in Long Island, New York.
“When he started wrestling, he got good at something. And he felt like this was something he could excel in. So he found his identity through wrestling and he found his confidence through wrestling. He discovered who he was through Wrestling. Wrestling saved his life. Along with that, park ranger in Barunga.” – the coaches wife explained.
The two formed a close bond, and Miguel ended up adopting Dunia. Under his guidance and mentorship, Dunia flourished and developed a passion for wrestling. His hard work and dedication paid off when he became the first 8th grader in New York to win a high school state wrestling title.
Dunia’s story is a testament to the power of resilience, hard work, and the human spirit. Despite facing unimaginable challenges, he refused to let his circumstances define him. Instead, he chose to persevere and use his experiences as a source of strength and motivation.