Precision Fighter Garret Volpe made it to the front cover of the Poughkeepsie Journal this Friday. If you met Garret Volpe today, you would have no idea that two years ago he was forced to face his own mortality. As a committed athlete who trains tirelessly and is constantly seeking new information on nutrition and fitness, it was a complete shock for him to find out that he was facing heart failure. After Volpe was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, and beneath his muscular frame his heart was functioning at approximately 40% of normal rate. Those who know Garrett would attest that he is not only in good shape, but a living embodiment of peak physical fitness. His family, friends, coaches and teammates were in dismay and disbelief, but none more than Garrett himself. He has dedicated years of his life to training martial arts, in hopes of pursuing his long-time dream of fighting in a mixed martial arts bout. This dream is what kept him in positive spirits, despite being told that he may need a heart transplant if he was going to survive. Check out his article in the Poughkeepsie Journal to learn more about Garrets struggle to make it from heart failure to getting his hand raised. If you live in Poughkeepsie or the Hudson Valley and would like to train MMA, give Precision Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts a call at (845)392-8495 or visit us at precisionmixedmartialarts.com
For centuries people have been enhancing their lives through martial arts. The benefits of training can be boundless for people of any age, but can be especially fruitful for children. Enrolling your child in martial arts classes will help them sharpen their focus, build confidence and craft the mental tools necessary to work respectfully with others, believe in themselves and become a contributing member of a community. At Precision Boxing and MMA, we pride ourselves on continuing the deep rooted traditions of instilling lifelong values in our kids martial arts classes. We teach our kids methods to diffuse any potentially dangerous situations, while instilling self defense techniques that will work in real life situations if they have no other options. Most importantly, they learn to respect one another and how their behavior will affect those around them. We’ve watched countless kids grow from children who misbehave in school, and fight with their siblings into conscious and respectful young adults. Below is a testimonial from long time Precision parent Patrick Simon. Patrick discusses how martial arts changed the lives of his children and why Precision was the best choice for the Simon family.
Live in Poughkeepsie and want to give your child the life long benefits of Martial Arts classes? Check out Precision Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts call 845-392-8495 or visit www.lagrangemartialarts.com
Precision’s head coach Brian McLaughlin was featured in Samuel Rivera’s youtube channel. Sam profiles different BJJ Black Belts around the Brazilian jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts world to bring to life their stories and philosophies. Precision was pleased to welcome him as he profiled our head coach. Coach Brian talks about his journey to black belt, his passion for teaching children as well as some of his proudest accomplishments. Check it out!
To train with Brian check out www.poughkeepsiemixedmartialarts.com
When people ask me who my favorite grappler is they are often surprised that I put a 13 year old girl at the top of the heap, but for my money Grace Gundrum is as good as it gets. Grace is a student at 10th planet Bethlehem and she has made a name for herself on the local grappling circuit easily disposing of girls and boys of all shapes and sizes in dramatic fashion. Aside from her incredible rubber guard and inventive submissions, the thing I love about Grace is her quiet respectful demeanor and her calm, almost timid disposition – the antithesis of the chest pounding bravado that dominates much of the sport. Over the past two years I’ve shared the mat with Grace’s coaches JM Holland and Zac Maslany, two brown belts with unrivaled passion for jiu-jitsu. Zac and Holland have brought Grace to the forefront of the submission grappling world with repeat appearances at the Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI) – the world’s most prestigious submission only tournament. At both events Grace stole the show by besting some of the country’s top young grapplers. Following her victory at the last EBI her coach told me that my techniques had a hand in her victory posting this image on social media
This was one of my proudest moments as a jiu-jitsu coach. The future of jiu-jitsu is in good hands and I’m happy to have a small fingerprint of this generation’s brightest star.
How Martial Arts Can Help Fight Childhood Obesity
In the past 30 years, the rate of childhood obesity has doubled. As of 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Preventing childhood obesity also prevents diseases like type two diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and more. Unhealthy habits often begin in youth, so it is important that your child is on the right track. The main areas of concern with children are poor eating patterns and lack of physical activity.
Unfortunately, with all this technology around, it’s hard for children to stay off of their iPads or iPhones. That’s why it is a great idea to invest in Martial Arts classes for your child. It gives your child motivation to want to be physically active while doing a fun activity that they enjoy. During a Martial Arts class, your child can burn calories while becoming more fit and comfortable with their body. Martial Arts classes are an easy access to being regularly physically active and discovering a liking to health and fitness.
Martial arts training contributes to the loss of excess fat and the bulding of muscle. Not only will your child know how to defend themselves, they obtain a new and different skill while dropping excess weight.
Whether your child is already healthy, could be healthier, or not healthy at all, Martial Arts would benefit any type of child.
Interested in making your child healthy with the Martial Arts Lifestyle? Contact Precision MMA at lagrangemartialarts.com or call us at 845-392-8495!
The future is very bright at Precision MMA. Our kids program has taken off in a big way and the results are showing! A unique feature of Precision’s children’s martial arts classes is the separation of beginner and advanced students. This allows new students to work on the essentials without getting overwhelmed while the seasoned student is regularly challenged and excited by cutting edge techniques.
Here 9 year old Lucas Smith shows some very high level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu moves including leg drags, rubber guard and D’arce chokes. These techniques are typically only seen by veteran adult champions, but in our small corner of LaGrangeville, NY they are being executed by children.
Interested in giving your child the gift of martial arts? To start a 30 day trial call 845-392-8495 or visit http://www.lagrangemartialarts.com
Little Landen made this for coach Brian and coach Stanley to show how much he loves Precision MMA
The question used to be whether kids martial arts Tampa could offer children any outside benefits. Scientific studies asked if martial arts training could raise self-esteem, improve discipline, or lead to better grades. The overwhelming consensus is that yes, kids martial arts Tampa involvement can do all that – and then some! Since the mid-90s, researchers (and parents) followed up this good news by asking an even more important question: Is it even safe to allow children to practice sports such as karate or jiu jitsu?
Safety concerns cover a broad range of possible risks. Some parents worry that walking barefooted on mats could spread foot fungus or that kids sharing close quarters might be courting a Staph infection. Others were concerned about bruises and scratches. The most serious concern, however, is that kids martial arts leaves its young students vulnerable to broken bones, concussions, and other major injuries with long-term repercussions.
That major sports injuries in children should become a hot topic in 2013 is no surprise. Professional football has recently come under fire for the enormous amount of lifelong neurological damage suffered by players with concussions. Even more so than NFL stars, young football players are at risk because they have thinner skulls than adults. Their brains are vascular, i.e., more densely filled with blood vessels, and can thus be injured at much lower levels of impact. The immediate effects of a brain injury could be as severe as vomiting, seizures, or losing consciousness. In the long term children may continue experiencing headaches, stomach aches, blurred vision, unexplained mood swings, and even dementia-like symptoms a decade or more after the fact.
So what about martial arts? Isn’t there a reason why these sports have a much more violent reputation than football? Indeed, although injuries during kids martial arts Tampa classes are fairly uncommon, the growth of youth fighting under the aegis of organizations such as the United States Fight League is a troubling trend. Journalist Sebastian Montalvo’s recent photo-essay, which appeared first on CNN and later other American and International news outlets, sensationally gives the number of American children “training to be cage fighters” as an impossible 3 million. Some of them are only five years old. Despite being exposed to strikes to the head, in many photos they do not appear to be wearing appropriate protective gear.
The USFL website does little to dispel its negative image. It glorifies competitive aggressiveness rather than character-building, discipline, or even mastery of any specific art. The young fighters compete based on expertise (i.e., novice, cadet, etc.) as well as weight (50-150 lbs.). This was seemingly designed so that opponents will be more evenly matched than if they fought by age group, but it inadvertently forces even very young children to try to make weight, arguably one of the unhealthiest and most dangerous aspects of the adult fighting profession. Children are even less well-equipped to deal with dehydration, exhaustion, and calorie restriction. Youth fighting leagues in fact are unsafe for children without really offering the traditional benefits of kids martial arts Tampa at all.
All is not lost, however! Researchers are finding now that the majority of gyms make children’s safety a priority. There is no evidence that young martial artists are more at risk of major injury than other athletes. After all, without proper caution even tennis, yoga, and other gentle activities can cause lifelong injuries. Ironically one of the reasons sports like football have until recently appeared to be safer alternatives is because they are played at schools. But being able to choose a gym actually empowers parents. The following tips can help parents take the safety and well-being of their children into their own hands:
When choosing a gym:
1. Take the time to meet the kids martial arts Tampa instructor and learn his/her teaching philosophy. Does he/she focus on discipline, patience, and maintaining a positive attitude, or does he/she mostly take pride in teaching powerful chokes?
2. Observe a kids martial arts Tampa class before committing. Are the kids respectful to one another when practicing new moves, or are they encouraged to cause pain? Better yet, take advantage of offers such as Gracie Tampa South’s 30 Day Free Trial to get a feel for the atmosphere beyond the first impression.
3. If possible, start your son or daughter in a “soft” martial art such as jiu jitsu or judo. Although they are just as effective for self-defense as “hard” arts, “soft” arts emphasize technique and using the opponent’s strength against him. If your child is training in a “hard” art that requires meeting force with even greater force, be sure that the gym provides pads and other necessary safety equipment.
4. Look for a clean, tidy kids martial arts gym with new mats and equipment.
5. Most importantly, be a responsible martial arts parent! The five year-olds fighting in the USFL are only there with the blessing and frequently the encouragement of their mothers and fathers. Supporting your child’s interests is what good parents do. Exposing them to harm is most emphatically not!
To read more about how exciting and rewarding kids martial arts training can be, check out http://www.prlog.org/12225370-kids-martial-arts-tampa-remember-when.html.
The art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, whether practiced with or without a Gi, has multiple modern applications. As anyone who has trained for any length of time knows, BJJ is one of the best styles for street self defense due to its emphasis on getting the fight to the ground, limiting the attacker’s ability to land strikes and ending the altercation as quickly as possible while also avoiding the over usage of striking techniques which could land the defender in jail due to excessive force. BJJ is also an excellent way for people of all ages to get into peak physical condition, including losing weight, gaining functional strength and improving flexibility and cardio vascular endurance. Of those who do get involved, a large number of BJJ students stick with the art because they grow to love the activity of grappling itself and this influences many to test themselves in grappling competitions. However, there are many differences between casual rolling in one’s own school and competing in a grappling tournament and failure to understand and prepare for these differences can lead otherwise excellent grapplers to lose matches in a tournament format. As a BJJ brown belt who has competed in thirty-four grappling tournaments I personally know some of these pitfalls all too well. In this article I will outline five reasons why good grapplers can meet with defeat in a tournament setting while giving examples from my own experiences and tips which have helped me to be successful. It is my hope that other aspiring competitors can learn from these experiences so that they can have the best chances for success when they decide to put their skills to the test.
One of the main reasons that many excellent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu students fail to perform as well as they should in grappling tournaments is lack of training in takedowns. While my current school of Precision MMA in Lagrange, New York does emphasize takedowns we are actually a great minority in that respect. The majority of BJJ schools start their rolling sessions from the knees and never teach their students how to properly execute or defend against takedowns. In a tournament setting this presents problems for a number of reasons. For one, under all tournament formats, whether they are fought with or without a Gi, points are awarded for completion of a successful takedown. As such, students who do not train takedowns have one fewer way to score points in competition. However, this is not the only problem because failure to train in takedowns also means that the student will not know how to defend against them and this gives his opponent one more way to score points on him. Moreover, unless the student who is lacking in takedowns is able to sweep his opponent from bottom guard this also means that his opponent will be able to have the top position whenever he wants it and this limits the students’ chances for victory even more because other than a few tournaments with different rules awarding points for submission attempts, there is usually no way for the opponent on bottom to score points excluding a sweep. This means that if the opponent on bottom guard cannot sweep his opponent it is nearly impossible for him to win on points and his only avenue to victory is to submit his opponent from on bottom. Before I became more proficient at takedowns this was a situation I frequently found myself in while competing and believe me when I tell you that this is no fun at all. Many of my opponents in past competitions have been wrestlers and with how common it is for wrestlers to cross over into the world of BJJ these days if you are looking to compete you had better prepare yourself to be matched against them. Wrestlers specialize in takedowns above all else and so failure to train in them can spell disaster for the pure BJJ practitioner.
This leads me to my second reason why quality BJJ students can meet with defeat in a tournament setting which is the mentality of being too relaxed, especially while in bottom guard and while down on points, and failure to grapple proactively and force one’s opponent to make a mistake rather than simply waiting for him to make one. Now I do not mean to imply that an opponent who finds himself on top or in any position for that matter cannot fall prey to the mistake of letting the time run out in a tournament match while down on points because it can certainly happen in any number of scenarios. However, I myself have found that almost every time it has happened to me I have been taken down by a superior wrestler and found myself down on points while in bottom guard or half-guard. I cannot possibly begin to count the number of times my opponent has scored points exclusively through takedowns and I have had to deal with the mounting frustration of realizing that he is content to sit in my guard making minimal attempts to pass as the time to secure a submission becomes ever shorter. Aside from the inability to get a takedown or sweep myself or stop my opponent’s takedown I attribute my difficulties in these scenarios to two factors. The first is an “old school” Jiu-Jitsu mentality which had been particularly popular during my early days of training which is actually an over emphasis on being relaxed in training. Jiu-Jitsu is translated as “the gentle art” from Japanese and this generally implies that it is a style where the practitioner should be able to overcome his opponent while using as little physical strength as possible. While it is very important that the Jiujitsuka focus on proper technique above all else and never be tense while training, it is possible to take this approach too far to the opposite extreme and refuse to use any extra exertion when grappling. This generally amounts to being exclusively defensive which is a good way to lose when one is already down on points in competition.
The second factor I attribute my difficulties in competition to while in a “down on points” scenario is related to the aforementioned, but rather than being an attitude towards grappling it has to do with a style of offense and defense, especially while on bottom guard. It has been said that some BJJ practitioners have a “pro-active” guard style while others have a “reactive” guard style. A “pro-active” guard style is one where the opponent on bottom guard does not rely on his opponents’ attempts to pass to set up a sweep or submission. Instead of expecting that the opponent will aggressively pursue a guard pass, the “pro-active” guard player attacks the top man relentlessly, chaining together multiple sweep and submission attempts until something works for him. One popular style of “pro-active” guard is Eddie Bravo’s “Rubber Guard” but this is by no means the only type of guard which falls in this category. I myself have found significant success with a variety of “upside down guard” techniques which involve hooking the top man’s leg with the near hand and rolling underneath the opponent in an attempt to secure a leg lock. Other “pro-active” guard styles include the deep-half guard, X-guard, butterfly half guard, and many others.
On the other hand, “reactive” guard styles are those where the bottom opponent relies almost entirely on the top man’s attempts to pass guard to set up a submission or sweep. A simple closed guard where the bottom player refuses to open for extended periods could be seen as a “reactive” style, but the truth is that any time the bottom player refuses to act first he is grappling “reactively”. For years I grappled this way and lost many matches because I simply assumed that my opponent would aggressively attempt to pass my guard. What the BJJ competitor needs to realize is that if the top opponent is up on points he has no need to pass, he need only remain active enough not to be called for stalling and otherwise he’ll be cruising to an easy decision win against a bottom player who refuses to act first. Now let me be clear here: I am not saying that reactive grappling and guard styles do not have their place in competition, and in reality all grappling matches include a combination of proactive and reactive techniques. My point is merely that rolling in the dojo exclusively is likely to foster a sort of reactive grappling which does not acknowledge time limits or a point system since neither exists in casual rolling. As such, before entering a competition the casual grappler must become acquainted with these differences and realize that there may be times in competition where the onus will be on him to press the action if he wants a favorable outcome.
Another reason that casual Jiu-Jitsu practitioners these days often fail to have success in tournaments is that they do not train in leg locks. While every BJJ school offers instruction in all varieties of arm locks and chokes, for whatever reason many instructors do not teach leg locks or allow their students to train in them. One reason may be that they are afraid of students injuring each other, but the truth is that if trained properly leg locks are no more dangerous than any other submission. As one of my specialties, I frequently win tournament bouts with leg locks and have later heard many times as an excuse that my opponent simply did not train in them. Just like the aforementioned problem with failure to train in takedowns, a competitor has no one to blame but himself if he has not at least attempted to gain familiarity with techniques which might be used against him in competition. If attacking with leg locks is not your thing then there’s no need to go for them while competing but you should at the very least know how to defend against them if you want to find success on the competition circuit. Even if you do train in every possible technique Jiu-Jitsu has to offer you are likely to eventually encounter someone who is better at it than you but you will not completely be a “fish out of water” so to speak, when confronted with it.
My fourth reason for why a good casual grappler might be unsuccessful in competition might seem to go without saying but I know its importance first hand, and this is failure to warm up properly. While most BJJ classes do emphasize warm ups, they are not nearly so important in casual rolling. This is because tapping one’s training partner should not be, nor is it usually a major concern of the casual grappler since grappling in a dojo is only practice. As such, the very beginning of the rolling session itself can be part of the warm up and the partners can increase the intensity of their grappling at their own pace. On the other hand, a tournament match can be extremely intense from the first second to the last. Because of this the intensity will be a serious shock to the system for the grappler who has neglected his warm up. Not only will his muscles be cold which may be a risk for injury, without his blood pumping freely before the start of the match the stiff grappler will be likely to fatigue more easily and I have personally lost matches for this reason alone. I strongly recommend that all grapplers wear layers, such as sweatshirts and sweatpants prior to competing in order to keep their body heat up and engage in any activity which will get their heart pumping faster such as jumping rope, jumping jacks or burpees. Make it a priority not to get out there until you have a good sweat going first. I’ve personally noticed a big improvement in my performance since I started taking my warm ups seriously.
The fifth and final reason I will give for why many casual grapplers fall short in competition is that they do not realize the importance of finding the right weight class. As someone who stands just shy of 5’8, I have only recently realized that I’d be best off competing in the 159lbs division. In the past I have grappled as high as 179lbs and I can say first hand that being the smallest one in your division can make things difficult. BJJ tournaments are full of wrestlers who have been cutting weight for years and all Jiu-Jitsukas would be best to learn from their example. While the weight classes at different tournaments can vary greatly, if you wish to compete go over your options with your instructor ahead of time and figure out the weight at which you will be most likely to find success. You will generally want to get as light as you can without weakening yourself, and to do this proper diet is essential and you should only sweat out as much water as is absolutely necessary. If you make your diet a priority you just might find yourself the biggest and strongest competitor in your weight class which can only increase your chances for success.
In summation, competitive grappling is very different from casual rolling and any BJJ student who wants to be successful on the tournament circuit should keep in mind all the aforementioned tips if they want a leg up on the competition. By training in takedowns and takedown defense the Jiu-Jitsuka can gain the ability to decide where the match takes place and not give up much needed points. By learning to grapple proactively and through understanding that the pace of a tournament match is different from that of a casual rolling session the student can take the initiative against the opponent. By training in leg locks the student will never be caught off guard by attacks which many schools neglect. And finally, by warming up properly and finding the right weight class the aspiring competitor can avoid injury and fatigue come game time and hopefully find himself amongst the stronger competitors in his bracket. These are just a few tips the BJJ student should know before actively competing but they can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
About the author:
Jamey Bazes is a Hudson Valley martial arts practitioner holding a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt with over 15 years of competition experience earning over 100 tournament victories. He also holds a Masters of Arts Degree in English from SUNY New Paltz with a focus on the English Romantic poets.