As I was a young boy about 13 yrs old, I would travel from Steubenville, Ohio to Akron, Ohio to train with my uncle in judo and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. Soon after my dad enrolled me in a kung fu school to teach me self-defense, everything I had learned seemed very valuable but at this young age I did not understand the value and quality of the training I had received. I continued training in the Martial Arts even after I received my black belt. By this time I had been competing in tournaments and winning, but all this changed once I received my black belt. This is mainly because as a red or brown belt I was competing against other red or brown belts who had similar training and experience, but in the black belt division there were competitors with black belts for 5, 10, and even 20 years competing against me. So no longer could I rely on my speed or my power to win but I need to have superior technique. This is where it all begins, I began to travel around the country training with and against some of the top competitors to refine and perfect my technique. I knew I had a strong foundation in the martial arts but, I needed to know what worked, how it worked, and why it worked. On this journey, I learned the essentials to success in competing in tournaments, and learned to refine my technique as well as my student’s techniques. Then in the early 90s one of my students began to tell me about something they had watched on TV called the UFC and that there was some guy named Royce Gracie beating everyone and anyone. At this time, I didn’t give it much attention, nor did I recognize that some of the techniques were similar to what my uncle had taught me as a young child.
One summer, one of my female students, home from college, wanted to show me some techniques she had learned from school. She threw one of the guys from class, a larger, stronger male student, in what is known as a “guard” and then she arm barred him. He was a little embarrassed but I was impressed with her technique. I then had him mount her and she performed the “buck and roll” off. I was extremely impressed with her technique as well as the increase in confidence that this ground fighting had given her. But what was most intriguing is that these techniques were no more than self-defenses on the ground and that being able to defend yourself on the ground is vital to ones success in a street fight. At this point, I became more and more interested and continued learning bits and pieces here and there. And then I was invited to a police self-defense tactics training seminar. Somehow out of all the highly trained police officers the only other martial artist, besides the instructor, gets picked to participate in a demonstration. So there I am wonder what did I get myself into, he puts me in various positions and asks me to escape. I begin to twist turn and do everything I can to get out. I make it out, but then he tells me that this time he will submit me before I can escape. I continued to twist turn, keeps my arms in tight, we rolled around for about 25 minutes and still no submission. He later asked if I had had any ground training, I told him no and that I was just trying to survive. When I got home from the seminar, I realized truly how important this ground training would be for me as well as my students.
At this point, I began taking some of my black belts to different seminars to train with other students as well as learn some more ground techniques. My students began to win, but there were some positions no one had seen before. What I soon realized is that what I was learning was the watered down version and that just like when I refined my techniques for tournaments, I needed to refine my ground techniques. I knew I needed to go back to the beginning, back where it all started, so I decided to take a trip to Brazil. There I am, me and my son in Brazil and neither one of us can even speak Portuguese. I knew some people who had invited me there and I found a school in a phone book. The people I knew showed us where the school was at and gave us a piece of paper in Portuguese, that said we wanted to learn some jiujutsu, I think. The school is Carlson Gracie Jiujutsu; Carlson Gracie is Royce Gracie’s uncle. There we met some students that could speak English so they translated and helped train us. I then decided that I wanted to get my black belt in jiujutsu, the instructor Saporito explained that it would take about 10 years to achieve this rank, but with extensive training and practice I could reach it fasters. Currently I continue to practice and will be receiving my black belt in the upcoming years.
Each and every technique I have learned and teach to my students are the best.
Mixed Martial Arts Program
The MMA program consists of many styles of martial arts, but most importantly it covers the 4 Ranges or Areas of Fighting: 1. Kicking Range
2. Punching Range
3. Knee, Elbow, and Trapping Range
4. Grappling Range
1. Kicking Range
Tae Kwon Do is studied for a strong foundation in the martial arts, excellent kicks, and good postures.
Muay Thai is studied for knee and elbow techniques.
Wing Chung is studied for blocking, countering, and trapping.
Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is studied for excellent ground fighting and as a supplement for self-defense techniques.
Judo is studied for takedowns and throws.
Kenpo, Aikido, Hapikido is studied for superb self-defense techniques, because of their simplicity and efficiency.
Jeet Kune Do is studied as a philosophy and to combine all the 4 ranges of fighting.
All these different styles encompass our MMA program. Our program develops well rounded Martial Artists because we understand the importance of being able to efficiently and effectively fight in all the ranges. Success in MMA depends on you ability to adapt to your situation. If your opponent is only proficient in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and you know nothing in that area, then your opponent has a definite advantage. But if you are able to grapple with them, then you have the advantage because you are able to adapt to any style. Bruce Lee says “Intelligence is sometimes defined as the capacity of the individual to adjust himself successfully to his environment—or to adjust the environment to his needs.
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