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October 27, 2012

Shop Talk: Oneonta Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


Class is immediately followed by open mat. Here, students can drill moves, use our training equipment, spar against each other in grappling or striking, or work on their striking techniques with our kickboxing instructor.

Where do you see this business in five years?

In five years we will have more students, more mats and equipment, and additional time slots for classes to accommodate the extra students. We currently have a great core group of beginning students who come in every day and train hard. In five years, this group will be advanced students with upper belt ranks who will inspire and help instruct the new crop of beginning students.

How did you get started in this line of work?

It began simply with looking for a place to train. I had studied jujitsu years ago, but the school’s instructor had left the area. I was happy to find that Ken Graig and Matt Martindale were developing a part-time school in Oneonta. I had a background in wrestling so I volunteered to share my knowledge. As the numbers of people training with us grew, it became clear that we could do more, and we decided to offer full time classes.

An important step was enlisting the aid of Tai Kai jujitsu black belt Dennis Sugrue in overseeing the school, which means that dedicated students can be officially promoted in belt rank all the way to black belt. We are the only Brazilian jujitsu school in the Oneonta area.

Describe a memorable moment in your workplace:

There are many memorable moments, but I would say that many of them have something in common — the moment when you catch an initially awkward, inexperienced student smoothly pulling off a technique on another student. It is at that time that it is fully clear how much progress they have made. Belt promotions are very gratifying for that same reason, as it is a formal acknowledgement of how much a student has improved.

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