UFC Fighter, Jim “The Beast” Alers MMA Seminar Review

Jim "The Beast" Alers MMA Seminar
Jim “The Beast” Alers MMA Seminar

This seminar has already happened, however you can see clips of it here:

Jim “The Beast” Alers will be teaching a seminar for charity at Grappling Mastery on June 18th.  Minimum Donation $25

This will happen before his next UFC Fight on July 23.  Jim Alers is a 13-2 MMA Fighter with a 69% Submission Win Percentage!

Jim is a old training partner and friend of Grappling Mastery Instructors, Professor Brian Ruscio and Mitchell Chamale.  Jim has an extensive background in Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and some Boxing.  He will be teaching how he uses his Grappling skills amidst striking to help him win in MMA.

This will be a No GI event.  If you’re a GI guy or girl, remember, anything you can do without the GI can be done with the GI barring some moves that may be illegal in your division.

This Seminar will be for Charity Only and will be added to our Team Jay Event on Saturday, June 25thDonations will be a minimum of $25.00

Team Jay: Jay is a 9 year old boy from Mount Dora, Florida who has battling leukemia since January 17, 2014. During that time he has had to overcome multiple setbacks beyond the expected challenges of chemotherapy. His treatments are ongoing still today, over 2 years later.  All donations will go directly to Jay Ryon, Jr. and his parents.  His parents stay with Jay each time he s in the hospital and drive form Lake County to Orlando multiple times each week when Jay is home. Please support him as he fights leukemia!

FOCUS Magazine Features Kai “The Hammer” Staton

Kai "The Hammer" Staton, Florida BJJ State Champion

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.


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

Caio Terra Seminar Review

Prof. Brian Ruscio with 10 time World Champion, Caio Terra
Prof. Brian Ruscio with 10 time World Champion, Caio Terra
Prof. Brian Ruscio with 10 time World Champion, Caio Terra

I just got back from the Caio Terra No Gi Seminar in Titusville.  The very first technique was a variation I hadn’t seen before.  It was a great experience from the very beginning.  Caio Terra is a 10 time World Jiu Jitsu Champion that fights at rooster weight and walks around at about 130 lbs.  Being smaller, he is a huge advocate of proper technique over strength or speed.

Caio says that the guys and girls that have the easiest time doing and learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques are the ones that he also sees performing the Jiu Jitsu specific warmups before classes.




Caio focused on the Guillotine Choke specifically and how to grip in a way that it is “unbreakable”.  Using this “unbreakable” grip, the guillotine can be used to not only submit an opponent, but also to recover guard or get on top when needed.  We also reviewed how Caio  transitions into another Guillotine, Brabo Choke, or D’arce Choke once on top position.  We also reviewed common defenses and counters.  At the end we had some Q&A in which Caio Terra reviewed the Single Leg X, and also his variation on a footlock from De La Riva Guard.  We will be reviewing Caio Terra’s Guillotine Series of techniques at Grappling Mastery this week.

Caio Terra Seminar 2015
Caio Terra Seminar 2015

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!”

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.

Trouble Viewing?

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!

Grappling Mastery Team Members receive an Exclusive Discount on UFC in Orlando

Exclusive Discount for UFC Fight Night December 19 in Orlando Florida for Grappling Mastery Members
Exclusive Discount for UFC Fight Night December 19 in Orlando Florida for Grappling Mastery Members
Exclusive Discount for UFC Fight Night December 19 in Orlando Florida for Grappling Mastery Members

UFC Fight Night will be coming to Orlando on December 19th and Grappling Mastery Team Members will receive an exclusive discount!  Please stop by Grappling Mastery for more details on how to get tickets.

UFC Fight Night will feature Donald Cerrone vs. Rafael Dos Anjos

Event: UFC on FOX 17: “Dos Anjos vs. Cerrone 2”
Date: Sat., Dec. 19, 2015, on FOX
Location: Amway Center in Orlando, Florida

UFC on FOX 17 Main Event:

155 lbs. UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos vs. Donald Cerrone

UFC on FOX 17 Co-Main Event:

265 lbs.: Junior dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem

UFC on FOX 17 Undercard/Prelims (FOX, FOX Sports 1, UFC Fight Pass):

155 lbs.: Nate Diaz vs. Michael Johnson
185 lbs.: C.B. Dollaway vs. Nate Marquardt
185 lbs.: Tamdan McCrory vs. Josh Samman
155 lbs.: Danny Castillo vs. Nik Lentz
135 lbs.: Sarah Kaufman vs. Germaine de Randamie

Please come to Grappling Mastery at 19051 US-HWY 441, Mount Dora Florida 32757 for ticket prices, seating, and more information and to become a team member.


New Muay Thai Classes in Mount Dora!

Kids Muay Thai Kickboxing Classes in Lake County, Florida
Ladies and Kids Muay Thai Kickboxing is great for self defense
Muay Thai Kickboxing Classes for Kids and Adults!

Grappling Mastery is proud to announce our New Muay Thai Kickboxing Class Schedule.  Due to our continued growth we have decided to split our class into a Kids Muay Thai Kickboxing Class at 5pm until 6pm on Fridays and Adult Muay Thai Kickboxing Classes every Friday at 6pm until 7pm.  We will hold Open Mats afterward to allow time for additional drilling, sparring, or even rolling.  You can find the Grappling Mastery Class Schedule here.

Grappling Mastery Head Instructor Brian Ruscio and Muay Thai Coach Mike Sgroi
Grappling Mastery Head Instructor Brian Ruscio and Muay Thai Coach Mike Sgroi

All Muay Thai Kickboxing Classes are taught by Coach Mike Sgroi and Coach Brian Ruscio!

Muay Thai is known as the art of 8 limbs.  Some of the greatest fighters in the UFC and other MMA events are Muay Thai fighters.  Coach Sgroi and Coach Ruscio have trained many MMA Fighters, both Pro and Amateur.  Muay Thai is an effective martial art for self defense and will prove to be a great workout as well.  Many places offer “Cardio Kickboxing” which may give you a workout but wouldn’t serve you well to protect yourself or your family.  Our Muay Thai Classes at Grappling Mastery will teach you proper techniques to help you learn how to defend yourself should you ever need to while giving you workout you are looking for.

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