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!

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!


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.


What are the Basic Positions and ways to Score Points in BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu)?

Grappling Mastery: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & MMA Academy

The philosophy of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu positioning is to improve your position while preventing your opponents from improving theirs.  “Position BEFORE Submission” is the mantra.  Most positioning revolves around use of the legs. Points are scored when we improve our position and are also explained below. There are many variations, however the most basic positions are as follows:

  1. Takedown (2 points)
  2. Guard (no points, however we can avoid the 2 point takedown if we “Pull Guard”)
  3. Mount (4 points)
  4. Side Control (3 points for passing the opponents Guard to this position)
  5. Back Control (4 points)
  6. Half Guard (no points, prevents opponent from scoring 3 points for passing)
  7. Passing the Guard (3 points) (additional points can be scored from “Knee on Belly” and “Mount”)
  8. Advantage Points (can be scored with takedown attempts, submission attempts, sweep and passing attempts, dominant top half guard, and forcing an opponent to turtle.

Here is a video reviewing the basic positions in BJJ.  These positions are also important aspects of MMA and Self Defense in addition to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Stayed tuned for future videos when we will show more advanced positions in detail including:

What is Grappling?

Grappling Mastery: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & MMA Academy

Grappling is a style of fighting that does not involve punches, kicks, or any other type of striking.  Some Martial Arts that use Grappling Techniques are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, Judo, and Sambo.  Some striking arts have grappling elements such as Muay Thai and Sanshou or Sanda.

Grappling specializes in Throws, Takedowns, Controlling your Opponent, Dominant Positioning, Sweeps, Joint Locks, Chokes, and other Submissions.  Some Grappling Styles use a Gi, or Kimono, while others do not.

In the early days of UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships) Grappling was introduced as a formidable style of fighting when Royce Gracie and the Gracie Family fought in a No Holds Barred tournament to show which styles came out on top.  Royce beat most opponents without throwing a single punch and used a lackluster front kick only to distract people from his attempt to clinch for a takedown.  His biggest rivalries were against Ken Shamrock, a submission fighter and Dan Severn, a Greco-Roman Wrestler.  He also had a notable fight against Kimo Leopoldo, in which Kimo was credited as a Taekwondo Black Belt, though he also wrestled growing up.

Other UFC, King of the Cage, and Pride FC matches proved over and over that Grappling Arts were superior to the striking arts.  Not until later, when strikers started to learn techniques from Grappling and how to counter them, did they start to overcome the grapplers.  In response, Grapplers started to learn how to strike and combined it with Grappling.  This was the evolution of mixed martial arts we see today.  Many fights now come down to who the better athlete was, not which martial art is superior.  This is because the athletes are both familiar with striking and grappling.  Grappling remains a vital part of every MMA fighter’s training regimen.

At Grappling Mastery we specialize in the Grappling Arts.  Professor Brian Ruscio is a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and has been Wrestling since 5 years of age.  He also has extensive knowledge of Judo and Sambo techniques.  Grappling Mastery also offers Muay Thai Kickboxing Classes to compliment our Grappling Techniques.  Muay Thai Coach Mike Sgroi and Professor Brian Ruscio both have a history of training MMA Fighters, both amateur and professional, some even appearing on TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) and UFC.

Come try a FREE Class at Grappling Mastery to see what Grappling is all about.  We have a great group of people waiting to help you!

Caitlin “Meathook” Kelley training with Kai “The Hammer” Staton

Kai "The Hammer" Staton and Caitlin "Meathook"

Caitlin “Meathook” Kelley is an 11 yr old Mixed Martial Artist.  She didn’t speak until she was 5 and has dyslexia but doesn’t let that stop her! She competes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, MMA, and is a RMA ambassador against bullying. Caitlin has been training with Mike Sgroi in Muay Thai Kickboxing at Grappling Mastery and has found a unique training partner in Kai “The Hammer” Staton who has an impressive Boxing and Kickboxing record himself. Below are some videos of the training.

2013 IKF World Classic Jr. Novice Girls Welterweight International Rules Champion Tiger Schulmann First Degree Black Belt 2012 November Fightergirl of the month 2012 Nationally Ranked 1st State of Florida 2012 Nationally Ranked 4th South 2012 Nationally Ranked 47th Nation 2011 Nationally Ranked 1st State of Florida 2011 Nationally Ranked 2nd South 2011 Nationally Ranked 13th Nation 2011 1st place COPA Sport MMA 2011 2nd place COPA Sport MMA

Caitlin: “I have been a fighter since the day I was born. Like Ronda Rousey, one of the female fighters I want to be like one day, I was born with the cord around my neck. I did not speak until I was 5 or 6. I have dyslexia but will not allow any of it to keep me from reaching my goals!! I love to train and compete. My mom says if I’m not training I’m not happy. I work to be a great role model for other kids and other girls. I end each fight with a smile and a hug. I believe that anyone who gets out there should be proud.”

Trouble viewing?

BJJ Technique: Von Flue Guillotine Escape

BJJ Black Belt, Brian Ruscio

Professor Brian Ruscio demonstrates a Counter to the Guillotine when your arm is free.  A neck-only guillotine choke is a dangerous submission that finishes opponents quickly.  It is popular in the UFC and other MMA events.  Due to this fact, it is also a popular hold with in street fights with individuals who may not know any martial arts.  This counter will be effective for MMA, BJJ, or Self Defense for this reason.

Vital Keys to the Technique:

  • Tripod on your toes and the top of your head
  • Address the choke, relieving pressure
  • Hug all they way around to the opponents opposite shoulder (I call this “elbow deep”)
  • Don’t waste energy squeezing. Transition all of your weight to the shoulder on the opponents neck to perform a choke of your own.
  • The opponent will either let go to push you off, tap, or pass out.
  • If it takes more than a few seconds to get this result you may not be positioning yourself properly.

Remember! Our first defense should be to never hang our head.  If caught, we should pass the guard immediately.  If these aren’t viable options, then this technique will serve as an effective defense or counter, possibly submitting your opponent.

Note: A similar technique known as the “Von Flue Choke” can performed from side control.

Techniques are for demonstration purposes only and should not be performed without a professional instructor present.

Watch UFC 184 for Free: Rousey vs. Zingano

Join Grappling Mastery as we watch UFC 184 as a team.  All members and guests are invited.  Contact Brian Ruscio, Rita Rojas, or a Grappling Mastery member for more details.

RSVP to the UFC 184 Watch Party


Main Card


Fight Card as found on MMA Fighting.com