Hello beautiful family! As always, I hope that this post finds you each in the best of health and spirits. Without further ado, let's jump straight into the story of Rene "Level" Martinez. We all tend to love triumphant stories of the underdog overcoming extreme odds to accomplish some seemingly impossible feat. Those David and Goliath tales that serve to shock and inspire us to greater self-expectation. Growing up in the Southern United States, I became well-acquainted with hardship and struggle at a very early age. These early struggles taught me resilience and love for family. We held fast to family monikers like, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, but rather the size of the fight in the dog!" When everyone around you is locked in the same struggles of economic and social acceptance, naturally a bond forms between families and individuals. Back home we never had friends, only family and extended family. These strong bonds combined with our youth, naivete', and total misunderstanding of who and what our true enemies were led us directly into gang activity. Young people will seek and find love and family . . . trust me on this. Where they find that family love will be one of the single most influential factors in the remainder of their lives. Thankfully Our Creator granted me redemption and refuge in the Marine Corps. Level's redemption and refuge would be found in a different kind of war . . . the boxing ring.
"When I was 18 my mom accepted Jesus Christ. She became a teacher, but for me it was already too late. I was a straight gangster. I was breaking into homes, stealing guns, drive-bys, shoot-outs and getting into fights. She tried to get me to go to church and get people to pray for me. I would laugh at her. I was ruthless. I was stone cold."
- Level Martinez
Level grew up on the very real streets of Miami's Dade County. His mother (Ileana Vasquez) admits that in the 1980's she had succumb to the enticing allure of the Miami street life herself. She worked and partied a lot, so Rene spent a majority of time staying with his grandmother. While she partied and pursued the trappings of success and financial stability, her young son was coming of age in one of the deadliest places on the planet. Like many women, her husband and father of her son was noticeably absent from their lives. After he had become abusive, she decided her only escape was to taker her family and flee into the cruel arms of homelessness. More often than not, being a part of a broken family will break a child in some way. If no one steps in to bridge the gaps, the odds begin to stack against that child. For Level the gangs bridged those gaps and simultaneously awakened the demons that would accompany him through most of his life. I will not go into great detail here as the videos and links speak for themselves. I will however ask that you watch the following videos in their entirety. Be mindful of the factors and circumstances that shaped his childhood. Try to really imagine yourself in his shoes at such a young age. Finally, focus your attention on his transformation. Do you believe as I do that his very survival and redemption could only be divine intervention or if his past life of gang activity is completely unforgivable. I really want to hear your thoughts on this. Please drop a comment and let us know how you feel.
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