We Defy & Grappling Mastery Featured in Orlando Sentinel

We Defy Foundation

Grappling Mastery is a proud Affiliate of We Defy Foundation.  We were featured by Orlando Sentinel in this article about our Mount Dora We Defy Location:  Orlando Sentinel Article about We Defy and Grappling Mastery in Mount Dora

If you are a Disabled Combat Veteran you can learn more about how to apply for a We Defy Scholarship here.

Here is a quick video about Grappling Mastery: BJJ & We Defy from the article!

We Defy Foundation – Training for Disabled Combat Veterans!

We Defy Foundation

We Defy Foundation Slogan LogoWe Defy Foundation and Grappling Mastery are dedicated to improving the lives of our military disabled combat veterans through the use of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Physical Fitness training. Our coaching staff and members are comprised of both military and non-military personnel. We understand how important it is to take care of our returning veterans. We are committed to giving them the tools to combat life’s challenges.  We exist to improve the lives of mentally and physically disabled combat veterans. Through Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Fitness training we will provide combat veterans suffering from life-disabling injuries and/or PTSD a long term means to overcome their challenges.

Grappling Mastery: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & Muay Thai Academy in Mount Dora was featured in the Orlando Sentinel for bringing We Defy Foundation to Lake County, Florida

WE ARE COMMITTED
to our country, our combat veterans, our team, and accomplishing our mission.

WE EMPOWER
through integrity, personal accountability and selfless service.

WE EVOLVE
to stay relevant and effective for the long term.

Veteran athlete qualifications

All veterans applying for sponsorship as an athlete must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be a veteran who served in an area of combat operations.
  2. Must be separated/retired from active duty status (National Guard/Reserve duty not included).
  3. Must be a disabled combat veteran (mental or physical).
  4. Must provide proof of honorable discharge from military service DD214.
  5. Must provide VA entitlement/rating letter.
  6. Must be willing to commit to training at least a minimum of one time per week at a We Defy Foundation Approved Training Facility for the duration of one year.
  7. A Special Criteria Waiver exists on a case by case basis for unique circumstances (e.g. training accident, sexual assault, other circumstances related to military service).

Our Approved Athletes will receive:

  1. One Year Free Grappling Mastery Membership
  2. One Year Weekly Private Lessons
  3. 2 Custom Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Uniforms

To Apply as a Grappling Mastery / We Defy Athlete Click Here

To Support We Defy Click Here!

The Fit Life Podcast: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu featuring Professor Brian Ruscio

Rick Copley of The Fit Life Podcast recently interviewed BJJ Black Belt, Brian Ruscio of Grappling Mastery

The Fit Life Podcast is a fitness blog hosted by Rick Copley. Rick Copley is a gym owner, an online fitness coach and 30 year veteran of the fitness industry. He helps people to lose weight, get fit, live with vitality and enjoy the process.  He recently asked Grappling Mastery’s own, Professor Brian Ruscio to speak on fitness and living a healthy lifestyle.

Rick Copley is a personal trainer in Tavares Florida at No Limits Fitness with several certifications and track titles and accomplishments.  Rick has owned several successful gyms and now has continued his efforts online with The Fit Life Podcast.

Brian Ruscio is a 1st Degree Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt and owner of Grappling Mastery with several Personal Training Certifications of his own.

Military Veterans, PTSD, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Ted "Doc" Kendall, Navy Field Medic
We Defy Foundation
We Defy Foundation supports Disabled Veterans by providing High Quality BJJ and Fitness Training

63 Year Old Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Artist at Grappling Mastery, Tom Benitez recently put his skills in photography and his passion for BJJ together to create this enlightening piece on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and how it can help Veterans overcome or deal with PTSD and other issues.  This is part 1 in a 2 part series.

Ted “Doc” Kendall, a veteran combat medic for the United States Navy, recently discovered that Jiu Jitsu is an effective and life-changing therapy to help him deal with the PTSD he incurred from an IED attack in Iraq. Kendall has been training at Grappling Mastery, in Mount Dora, Florida, where he often attends multiple classes a day. The martial art gives him a much-needed outlet for his depression, anger, and frustration.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 11-20% of veterans who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. As a result, many veterans experience nightmares, flashbacks, and survivor’s guilt, along with a host of other symptoms. Veterans often have difficulty re-adjusting to civilian life after they are discharged. A report released in 2013 estimates that 22 veterans commit suicide per day.

Doc from Tom Benitez on Vimeo.

Ted “Doc” Kendall, a veteran of the United States Navy, discusses how Jiu Jitsu has allowed him to cope with PTSD he has as a result of being injured in an IED attack in Iraq.

Click here for Part 2 “Grasshopper”

Grappling Mastery is an Official We Defy Training Facility offering Free Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai Kickboxing Training to Disabled Veterans!

We were also featured in the Orlando Sentinel for being a pioneer of the We Defy Program in Lake County, Florida at our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy in Mount Dora.

Army Medic, Tony Tindell in Afghanistan
Army Medic, Sgt. Tony Tindell in Afghanistan

You hear a lot of stories about returning Combat vets. They’re Angry, Drinking, Depressed or have PTSD; well I’m glad to say this isn’t me and there one very distinct reason for that, besides my wife; Grappling Mastery. I was still in Ghazni Afghanistan when I contacted Professor Ruscio initially. I explained my need for a coping mechanism upon my return and he offered to help. I’ve been training with Grappling Mastery for four month now, since returning from the battlefield. In addition to BJJ he taught me patience, diligence a bit of humility… Read More

Video Review of 6th Degree BJJ Black Belt Marcio Simas’s Seminar

6th Degree BJJ Black Belt, Marcio Simas Seminar

6th Degree BJJ Black Belt, Marcio Simas
Master Marcio Simas
Master Marcio Simas

Marcio Simas, 6th Degree Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu Black Belt and President of the Florida Federation of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will be conducting a seminar at Grappling Mastery BJJ Academy on January 9th at 11am. The seminar is open to everyone at will only cost $50 for adults and $40 for kids.

RSVP HERE

With over 30 years of training with the Gracie family, Marcio Simas is considered by many to be one of the top Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructors in the Southeastern United States. He is one of the only jiu-jitsu teachers in Florida who studied under the legendary Rolls Gracie (who is regarded as the best jiu-jitsu fighter in the history of the Gracie family). Marcio received both his blue belt and his purple belt at Rolls’ Copacabana academy in Rio de Janeiro. After Rolls’ death at the age of 32, Marcio became a student of Rickson Gracie at the famous Gracie Humaitá academy where he earned his brown belt.

 

Carlos Gracie Jr., Marcio Simas
Marcio Simas, Carlos Gracie Jr.

When his family moved to the outer suburb of Rio de Janeiro, known as Barra de Tijuca, Marcio was able to reunite with his old friend Carlos Gracie Jr. When Rolls died Carlos Gracie Jr. was unanimously voted by the students to take over the teaching. Soon after, Carlos moved the academy to Barra da Tijuca where he founded the Gracie Barra Academy. Marcio was awarded his black belt by Carlos Gracie Jr. As a Gracie Barra Black Belt, Marcio is in an elite group of fighters that includes Renzo Gracie, Ralph Gracie, Crolin Gracie, Rillion Gracie, Rigan Machado, Jean Jacques Machado, Marcio Feitosa and numerous world champions.

Marcio Simas and Gustavo "Gutty" Muggiati with Marcio Feitosa
Marcio Simas and Gustavo “Gutty” Muggiati with Marcio Feitosa

Marcio has been doing Jiu-Jitsu for over 39 years and has four schools. He is also President of the Federation in Florida of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He introduced Jiu-Jitsu here in Florida; also expanded Jiu-Jitsu here in the state of Florida because by bringing the Pan-American Championships to Florida for four straight years. He started training Gracie Jiu Jitsu in Brazil and brought it to Florida in 1994 when he opened his first school. Since then its expanded a lot. The fact that Royce Gracie fought in the UFC helped a lot to promote Jiu-jitsu and nowadays it’s grown so much that in every corner of this planet that you go you can find Jiu-Jitsu.

Multiple World Mundial Champion, Gustavo "Gutty" Muggiati, Professor Brian Ruscio, Pro Wrestler Tim "Patterson" Dodson, Professor Marcio Simas, and Professor Rodrigo Lango
Multiple World Mundial Champion, Gustavo “Gutty” Muggiati, Professor Brian Ruscio, Pro Wrestler Tim “Patterson” Dodson, Professor Marcio Simas, and Professor Rodrigo Lango

“It was hard to explain to people that didn’t know what Jiu-Jitsu was about. They all were asking questions like do you do katas? Do you have forms? And we didn’t really have anything like that. Also, to explain and to show how effective Jiu-Jitsu was. Another aspect was that everybody saw Jiu-Jitsu for the first time thru the UFC, so a lot of people were scared to even watch the class, thinking we were going to beat them up and it wasn’t like this. Also the way we train, because when I came here with my first school, I came with a Brazilian mentality and I came from a fighting school we didn’t have hobbyist at that time. Pretty much everyone that was in the school was to fight and our training was towards the competition fighting all the time. Later on we understood, we had other people interested in a form of Jiu-Jitsu but the class was not directed towards those kind of people. But nowadays we did it and we can accommodate everybody. Because in reality Jiu-Jitsu is a self defense and you can drive Jiu-Jitsu to a competition, you can use for MMA and you can use to lose weight for instance.

Marcio and has trained many MMA Champions in the past two decades he has been teaching in Central Florida
Marcio and has trained many MMA Champions in the past two decades he has been teaching in Central Florida

The athletes nowadays, because of the information, because of the internet, because of YouTube, people know more and have access to more information. The athletes that practice Jiu-Jitsu today, they are much better because they can get the information much quicker, they know better how to train themselves, less injuries, they can take of the injuries. Also, nutrition is a factor; people understand nowadays, they eat better than in my time when I was fighting. So definitely the level of the fighters if you compare with my generation it’s much better.  In terms of techniques, the base of Jiu-Jitsu did not change, of course you have different techniques nowadays, sweeps for instance is something that is a little bit different from my time, more sweeps nowadays. But the base of Jiu-Jitsu did not change at all. One guy that is still there to prove that is Roger Gracie that wins his competitions with no fancy movements. A lot of people are eager to learn the black belt moves. In reality, the difference is in the black belts, the moves that they sometimes emphasize, is that the guy has more experience than a blue belt. He’s been practicing longer and has perfected within himself.”

(excerpts from an interview by Vireo Puro)

Read More about Grappling Mastery’s Gracie Barra Lineage

Fighting with Disabilities in MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt, Jean Jacques Machado

I’m reminded of an old wrestling poster that said “Any Body can Wrestle!” featuring a large heavyweight and a very small wrestler, both Champions.  This is especially the case in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu where many times it’s focus is to use leverage and technique to overcome strength and size.

But what about people with disabilities?

In my BJJ journey I’ve learned that many of the “guards” and other positions/techniques were often developed to overcome a handicap or injury that an athlete had.  From PTSD to a bum leg, amputees, partial hands, diabetes, suffering seizures, and being exceptionally weak are only a few real examples of disabilities BJJ and MMA fighters have overcome. These are some physical or mental disabilities that people may be concerned about.  I have also experienced parents with concerns of their children having ADD, ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia and other behavioral disabilities or special needs that they think might hold their child back from learning.  In many cases, I found it to be the complete opposite! Many times these are the children that excel and thrive in my kids classes!  Many adults and kids experience huge benefits from Grappling specifically pertaining to their challenges.  This is in addition to the long list of benefits of training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu every person who trains can tell you about.

In the following post I’ll be reviewing some of the most popular Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, and MMA athletes that overcame their disabilities to improve themselves rather than letting it hold them back.

  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt, Jean Jacques Machado
    Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt, Jean Jacques Machado

    The first that comes to mind is Jean Jacques Machado.  Cousin to the Gracie’s, and a Black Belt under Carlos Gracie Jr., Machado suffered birth defects resulting from Amniotic Band Syndrome, which left him with only his thumb and pinky finger on his left hand. Despite this affecting his ability to grip in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, he won many National and International titles, including Gold in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Nationals for 11 consecutive years.  He also won a Gold in Abu Dhabi and earning the “Most Technical Fighter” award.

  • Kyle Maynard wrestling
    Kyle Maynard wrestling

    Kyle Maynard, born with congenital amputation, is a quadruple amputee who wrote the book No Excuses: The True Story of a Congenital Amputee Who Became a Champion in Wrestling and in Life.  Maynard began training in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in 2005.  He had his amateur debut fight on April 25, 2009.

  • At 19 years old, Roberto “Gordo” Corriea suffered a knee injury in competition and damaged the cruciate ligaments in his knee.  This injury lasted a very long time and prevented him from using one of his legs.  He didn’t let this stop him from getting better.  He overcame the injuring by working around it. Through his adjustments in his jiu jitsu game, he contributed to the development of the “Half Guard”, one of the most important positions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu today!
  • Keith Miner, MMA fighter
    Keith Miner, MMA fighter

    In May 2000, then 19 year old, Keith Miner was feeding trees into a wood chipper when the driver of the truck it was on pulled forward without telling anyone. He tripped and his hand and forearm got caught in the wood chipper.  Right handed, but now without without being able to move anything past his shoulder, he had to learn how to do everything left handed!  He started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA, holding a record of 5-5 and becoming the first professional amputee fighter.

 

  • Tracy "Tra" Telligman, UFC Fighter
    Tracy “Tra” Telligman, UFC Fighter

    Tracy “Tra” Telligman was in a car accident crushing his ribs when he was only one and a half years old. Tra can be seen fighting with a deep recess in his chest because he is missing his right pectoral muscle and his right lung due to the accident! Telligman began training in karate when he was 8 years old, continuing until he was 13 years old, and then began boxing until he was 15. During high school he started training in jiu jitsu.  Tra Telligman has a professional Boxing record of 4-2 and MMA record of 7-5-1 and has fought some legendary UFC fighters!

  • Garrett Holeve, MMA Fighter with Down Syndrome
    Garrett Holeve, MMA Fighter with Down Syndrome

    Garrett Holeve, of Cooper City Florida struggles with Downs Syndrome and is also fighting to be allowed to compete in MMA.  On November  8, 2014 he earned a victory in his first sanctioned MMA bout.

 

“You expect great things from your children, but you learn how to be realistic with a child that has sensory problems early on. You learn their limits fast and try not to push too far past those too fast. Most people know my awesome fun loving son, but haven’t seen what it took to get there. He amazes me all the time, but on this day he really went past his limit and way beyond. He showed strength, heart, control, and above all respect. He put it out there on the mat then with the exception of a few heartbroken minutes he left it there and told me what he was going to work on in the future. I am proud to call him my son and I have seen the struggles we went through break through the clouds to a beautiful moment. It’s almost too much and I never though Jiu Jitsu of all things would bring this out of him. So thank you Brian Ruscio and Rita Rojas, you have given me something way more precious than any medal he could bring home.”
– Brandi Rust, Mother & Behavioral Health Tech.
“Building Champions On & Off the Mats!”

Professor Brian Ruscio earns his First Degree Promotion on his Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

IBJJF/USBJJF First Degree Black Belt Card of Professor Brian Ruscio
IBJJF/USBJJF First Degree Black Belt Card of Professor Brian Ruscio
IBJJF/USBJJF First Degree Black Belt Card of Professor Brian Ruscio

Professor Brian Ruscio recently met all requirements and earned his First Degree and Stripe on his BJJ Black Belt.  On average it takes 10 years to earn a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  For some it takes much longer, and others it takes less.  Brian Ruscio earned his Black Belt 7 years after starting Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  He credits his mat awareness, balance, base, and understanding of fundamental positions he learned from USA Wrestling since an early age for his quick understanding and improvement in the sport of BJJ.  It helped him understand what to look for when his instructors were demonstrating the techniques.  It didn’t take him long to recognize that a fight didn’t end when someone was on their back, and unlike wrestling, the match keeps going.  He fell in love with the sport and the ability to be even more creative with his techniques and strategy.  BJJ goes beyond Wrestling in that aspect and quickly became a passion for him.

Professor Brian Ruscio earned his Black Belt in September of 2012 at Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu, from Marcio Simas.  He was even awarded special recognition from Marcio Simas.  Professor Brian Ruscio is an International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) and United States Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (USBJJF) recognized Black Belt.

According to the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Guidelines, once a person achieves the rank of Black Belt they must do the following to earn their first degree:

  • Athlete must have a Black Belt awarded by a 2nd degree Black Belt certified by the IBJJF
  • Contribute to the Art/Sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for at least 3 years after Graduation, examples are competing, teaching, and refereeing.
  • Maintain CPR Certification
  • Maintain Affiliation with the IBJJF
  • Keep up to date on the rules set forth by the Federation by attending the most recent Rules Seminar.
  • Must pass a Background Check

What’s Next?

Professor Ruscio now has his sights set on his second degree.  To him this will be the most important because at 2nd degree Black Belt he will have the ability to promote his students to Black Belt.  As a student of Professor Ruscio at Grappling Mastery students will have their BJJ Belt recognized by the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation!  Abiding by the Federation Guidelines is an important part of maintaining the integrity of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a martial art and representing your academy as a legitimate place to train.  It also allows students to compete at some of the most prestigious BJJ tournaments.

The following are the Ranks of Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu:

  • Black Belt (read how to get your Black Belt in BJJ)
  • First Degree Black Belt (3 years as Black Belt and req. above)
  • Second Degree Black Belt (3 years as First Degree)
  • Third Degree Black Belt (3 years as Second Degree)
  • Fourth Degree Black Belt (5 years as Third Degree)
  • Fifth Degree Black Belt (5 years as Fourth Degree)
  • Sixth Degree Black Belt (5 years as Fifth Degree)
  • Seventh Degree Red & Black Coral Belt (MASTER) (7 years as Sixth Degree)
  • Eighth Degree Red & White Coral Belt (MASTER) (7 years as Red & Black Coral)
  • Ninth Degree Red Belt (GRAND MASTER) (10 years as Red & White Coral)
  • Tenth Degree Red Belt (This Belt was reserved for the Founders of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Carlos Gracie Sr., Gastão Gracie, George Gracie, Oswaldo Gracie, and Hélio Gracie)

Is your Instructor a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt according to the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation?

 

Technique: BJJ Collar Choke from the Back

Grappling Mastery: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & MMA Academy

Here is a detailed instruction of how to do a Collar Choke when you have the Back in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) with the Gi.  This is a very effective choke and is always a threat when someone has the back in Jiu Jitsu.

 

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