Marine takes up martial arts to find peace

PRINCETON, N.J. (WPVI) -- For one local Marine, it has been a lifelong battle to find inner peace.

The effects of combat and a traumatic childhood had taken their toll until he turned to the martial arts.

"I got in altercations. I remember one time jumping over the counter to get to my boss," Robert Consulmagno said.

For decades, 41-year-old Consulmagno of Morrisville has struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Caused by a horrific childhood where he and his mother were beaten mercilessly by a stepfather, he joined the Marines to escape, but it got worse.

After leaving the service in 1996 "Cosmo", as some call him, was repeatedly fired from jobs and says every day was a battle until 3 years ago when he found jiu-jitsu and the martial arts.

"I just love to compete ever since I was a kid. To me it was an outlet to escape and try to feel like you're doing something with yourself," Consulmagno said.

Training at Princeton Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Cosmo has become a master in 3 short years. He's ranked 8th in the world for middle-weight purple belts and at the same time has found a way to manage the PTSD that's left him 100% disabled.

"To me jiu-jitsu is like attacking my fear. You know when I see my mom getting hit and seeing all that violence to me it's like I'm going to that source and I want to make it a part of me and then use it to relax," Consulmagno said.

Consulmagno says the martial arts have done for him what medication couldn't and he's trying to spread the word to help other vets also dealing with PTSD.

"Just want to live, I want to do right and overcome. I want to be a story for other people to look up to," Consulmagno said.

Consulmagno is hoping the Veteran's Administration will fund an outreach program to aid vets wrestling with their demons by learning martial arts.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.