Grasshopper: Deaf and Disabled, Bullied as a Child; How Brazilian Jiu Jitsu helped!

Grasshopper: How one man overcame bullying and his disabilities with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

David Robarge’s life has been a battle since early childhood. The 33-year-old, deaf since he was 5, has endured multiple car accidents, survived brain surgery, and, most recently, severely injured his hip after falling off a roof.

In addition to this, Robarge has been targeted by bullies because of his short stature and physical disabilities. Robarge believed that wearing two hearing aids made him more likely to get picked on by bullies at school, so he would remove one in hopes that it would curb the harassment he endured. Not only did it not stop the bullies, but he caused permanent damage to his right ear by not wearing the hearing aid.

As an adult, he became afraid to go out by himself and grew depressed. His depression and anxiety would have continued had it not been for a chance encounter on Facebook with Brian Ruscio, owner of Grappling Mastery, a local gym specializing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Brian Ruscio sent Robarge a friend request and invited him to visit his facility and try out Jiu Jitsu.  A year later, Robarge credits Jiu Jitsu and the Grappling Mastery team with changing his life. He has become a more confident person and is giving back by helping young kids learn Jiu Jitsu as well as how to deal with bullies.

Grasshoper from Tom Benitez on Vimeo.

David Robarge’s life has been a battle since early childhood. The 33-year-old, deaf since he was 5, has endured multiple car accidents, survived brain surgery, and, most recently, severely injured his hip after falling off a roof. In addition to this, Robarge has been targeted by bullies because of his short stature and his disabilities. Robarge discusses how Jiu-Jitsu has improved his quality of life and made him a more confident man.

“Grasshopper” is part 2 of a 3 part series by 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 prevent or overcome Bullying Problems, Depression, Lack of Confidence, Self Esteem, and other issues.

Watch Part 1 “Doc”

Watch Part 3

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

BJJ Techniques: Back Takes from Stack Passing the Guard

Grappling Mastery: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & MMA Academy

Here are two Leg Reaping or “Scorpion” style back takes when passing the guard.  Most times when you are in the guard your focus is to pass or attack footlocks.  The Scorpion Leg Reap and Rolling Scorpion are two unorthodox back takes that give you an alternative to passing the guard.  You can skip the pass and go directly for the back and the submissions that it yields!  These are advanced techniques and require significant drilling to master the movements.  These back takes are a part of a much larger game and not for everyone.  Give them a try and let us know what you think.

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2 Year Anniversary Celebration!

Grappling Mastery 2 Year Anniversary Celebration
Cake Cutting at Grappling Mastery 2nd Year Anniversary 2015 Celebration
Cake Cutting at Grappling Mastery 2nd Year Anniversary 2015 Celebration

We are happy to announce that Grappling Mastery introduced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to Lake County Florida just over 2 years ago.  We’ve now been teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Tavares, Florida and the Lake County area for at least two years now and are growing tremendously in size and skill!  After helping run a Gracie Barra in Orlando for 7 years, Brian Ruscio moved to Leesburg and started teaching private lessons in his garage for free!  As word spread he was given the opportunity to teach his passion in an actual dojo.  Now, two years later, Grappling Mastery has it’s own location, Professor Ruscio has earned his first degree and we’re bursting at the seams!  Things are definitely looking up for our team this year and more big things are on the horizon.

We welcome everyone to join us in celebrating this milestone!

We plan to be celebrating at Grappling Mastery on December 12, at 10 am.  Invite your Family and Friends, all are welcome.  We will be doing a team picture at 11am so bring your GIs!  The gym will also be open so you roll and we will also have a bounce house and cake for the kids!

You can RSVP Here

Afterwards, you can Watch UFC 194 Aldo vs. McGregor with the Grappling Mastery team!

 

Techniques: Wrestling for MMA and BJJ – Turtle Guard Reversals and Escapes

Grappling Mastery: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & MMA Academy

Turtle Guard is generally thought of as a defensive position in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA, however when practiced it can prove difficult to submit a turtling opponent that knows all of his/her options.  Turtling opponents can escape, sweep, and even submit careless opponents.  Turtle Guard can be used an alternative to shrimping and replacing guard.  Turtle Guard is very similar to “Referee’s Position” in Folkstyle Wrestling, so many wrestlers develop a strong turtle guard when transitioning to BJJ.  It also allows the wrestler to defend without laying on your back.  The following instructional videos provide several options from turtle guard that will be familiar an useful for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Practitioners or Wrestlers.

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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?

 

BJJ Technique: Bow and Arrow Choke with GI from the Back

Grappling Mastery: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & MMA Academy

The Bow & Arrow Choke in BJJ is one of the most powerful and effective chokes.  Holding the opponents pant leg near the knee and using your entire body weight to lean back and apply the choke makes it very difficult to escape.

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Local 13 Year Old Boy makes Front page of Orlando-Lake County Sentinel Today for his skills in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

13 year old local boy, Kai Staton, featured on the Front Page of Orlando-Lake County Sentinel for his skill in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Grappling Mastery’s own, Kai “The Hammer” Staton made Front Page of the Orlando Sentinels Lake County Division for his recent Florida BJJ Federation State Championship win.  13 year old Kai has been at Grappling Mastery for almost 2 years now and has taken to the sport very quickly.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a sport in which there is no striking.  It is know as a Grappling Martial Art, which can be used for self defense as well.  The sentinel highlighted his achievements.  You can find the article here.

 

13 year old local boy, Kai Staton, featured on the Front Page of Orlando-Lake County Sentinel for his skill in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
13 year old local boy, Kai Staton, featured on the Front Page of Orlando-Lake County Sentinel for his skill in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

MOUNT DORA — Kai “The Hammer” Staton has taken a step toward a future in the Ultimate Fighting Championship events with a win in the jiu-jitsu state championship recently.

The 13-year-old won the 2015 Light Featherweight Florida Federation Brazilian jiu-jitsu event held in Pompano Beach Aug. 8. He had two matches that lasted four minutes each.

“I was pretty excited,” he said of placing first in his age group and weighted class of 90 pounds. “I’m just glad it’s over.”

“He gets nervous,” piped up Brian Ruscio, his instructor.

“Lots of stress,” chimed in Michael Staton, Kai’s father.

Kai has been going to classes three times weekly for the past two years at Grappling Mastery in Mount Dora.

Ruscio said, “He’s very good — one of the smaller kids for his age. He’s amazing. He learns very fast — very creative. He understands the goal and gets there creatively.”

Kai recently earned his green belt, which is the school’s second rank. He demonstrated 74 moves, including chokes and take-downs during testing.

“I like to learn, just learn new things. I find it pretty interesting,” Kai said.

The Eustis Middle School eighth-grader also enjoys competing. He starting boxing several times a week at the age of 6 and began competing every three months by 10. That’s when he got his nickname “The Hammer,” a powerful jab known to wear down an opponent. The last time he competed in the ring was in 2012.

When he quit boxing, Kai said, he wanted to do some “ground techniques” or grappling. Grappling in martial arts is any fighting style that uses techniques relying on grasping and controlling the opponent using body leverage as a way of achieving supremacy.

Half of the garage at the Staton home is a boxing ring, so Kai puts in plenty of hours of practice at home. He also practices kickboxing and plays in the Mount Dora Babe Ruth League. It’s not all about physical training, though. He enjoys playing video games such as Call of Duty.

“I plan on trying out for soccer and baseball next year,” he said.

And when he turns 16, Kai will have the opportunity to test for his blue belt, the third rank in the school.

“My plan is the UFC,” he said of the company that promotes events for some of the best jiu-jitsu competitors in the world.

For more information Contact Grappling Mastery at (352)702-5689 about how you or your child can learn more about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and even try 30 days free!

Kai “The Hammer” wins the Florida BJJ State Championship

Kai "The Hammer" Staton wins the Florida Federation BJJ State Championship
Kai "The Hammer" Staton wins the Florida Federation BJJ State Championship
Kai “The Hammer” Staton wins the Florida Federation BJJ State Championship

Grappling Mastery is proud to announce that our very own, Kai “The Hammer” Staton has earned the title Florida Federation of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu State Champion.  We also took home 3 silver medals from the Florida BJJ State Tournament.  This is one more title the Grappling Mastery team has achieved in less than 2 years serving Lake County, Florida since we opened in September 2013.  Kai will be competing as a featured Superfight in an upcoming BJJ Event.  You can read more about Kai “The Hammer” on our website.

Grappling Mastery wins Gold and 3 Silvers at the Florida Federation of BJJ State Championships
Grappling Mastery wins Gold and 3 Silvers at the Florida Federation of BJJ State Championships

Other achievements the Grappling Mastery Competition Team have achieved are:

Photo Gallery of our Recent Open Mat in Clermont, Florida

Open Mat with Grappling Mastery, Gracie Barra Clermont, Gracie Barra Orlando, and Fight Sports

Some of the Grappling Mastery Team recently participated in a BJJ Open Mat Session in Clermont, Florida this Independence Day Weekend.  Some other teams that participated were Gracie Barra Orlando, Gracie Barra Clermont (Ogden BJJ), and Fight Sports Clermont (Xtreme Gracie).  Some impromptu techniques were taught by BJJ Black Belts, Professor Brian Ruscio (Grappling Mastery), 3rd Degree Professor Dave Ogden (Gracie Barra Clermont), and 6th Degree BJJ Master Marcio Simas (Gracie Barra Orlando) at the request of the group.  Afterward we had some rolling sessions with the members of the other teams.  It was a fun event in the spirit of learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  We are all brothers and sisters of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  It’s great that we can all get together and share ideas and techniques no matter what school we train at.  The next BJJ Open Mat will be held at Grappling Mastery!

This is the second time that Grappling Mastery and Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu have teamed up to share BJJ Techniques with anyone who wanted to attend.  Previously Professor Brian Ruscio of Grappling Mastery and Gracie Barra held a seminar for charity in Kissimmee, Florida with a total of 7 Black Belts.