Foster Kennedy’s Flying Arm Bar Highlights Strong Showing for KnuckleUp Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team.

Foster Kennedy Victorious

Last Saturday several members of the KnuckleUp Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team competed in the American Grappling Federation 2015 Atlanta BJJ Open resulting a night of exciting highlights.

·  Fresh from a strong showing as a White Belt in the World Championships, Ultra Heavyweight Ryan Raleigh won his first tournament as a Blue Belt.

·   Kyle Prope’s took second in his first tournament as a Brown Belt.

·   Parker Graham won all his fights by submission

·   Blue Belt Alex Enriquez won the women’s no gi Absolute Division when she scored a huge victory over UFC fighter Angela Hill in the finals.

·   Foster Kennedy scored the move of the tournament when he landed this sensational flying arm bar in his first match.

Overall the KnuckleUp Team placed second in the competition. Unfortunately a scheduling issue caused the tournament to cancel the final slate of Open Gi matches, which cost KnuckleUp the chance to compete for enough points to finish in the lead.

Lead Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor for KnuckleUp, Ricardo Murgel was encouraged by the performance of the team and is already looking forward to the next big event.

“This competition was a warm-up for the big one, which will be the Atlanta Open at the end of August.  I am very excited about the future of KnuckeUp’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program. We have a Golden opportunity for tremendous success with this team, especially with some of the teenage competitors.”

To find out about how KnuckleUp uses the power of world  class martial arts instruction to make our fitness classes fun, exciting, and effective contact us here.

Posted in Atlanta BJJ

KnuckleUp Fighters Win Big in front of UFC Boss Dana White

A photo of Chazz" The Hybrid" Walton and UFC President Dana White

Saturday night in Atlanta at Center Stage two top KnuckleUp Fitness prospects scored sensational victories in front of an enthusiastic, hometown crowd that included two very big hitters in the professional fighting world; UFC boss Dana White and former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra.

Kickboxing instructor and amateur mixed martial artist Anthony Cooper was first up winning by a 2nd round submission via arm bar.  Cooper is a well-rounded fighter, well versed in submission with a background in Kickboxing.  He’s also one of KnuckeUp’s top instructors and runs several popular classes at the KnuckleUp gyms in Sandy Springs and Alpharetta. Cooper was ecstatic over his victory.

I could hear everyone screaming and cheering as I pulled off the win and it was an amazing feeling. The energy was incredible.  Plus to have Dana White and Matt Serra wish me congratulations after the fight was an experience that I’ll never forget!

Next, newly minted instructor and hot prospect Chazz “The Hybrid” Walton, who has never been defeated as a pro or amateur, scored a seven second knockout over his opponent when he followed a looping head kick with a sneaky punch that landed right on the button.

Getting a quick KO like that in front of Dana was awesome! I can’t even explain how much it means to me that he was impressed! God has been good to me and I look forward to what the future holds!

White, who runs the gargantuan promotion the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is widely regarded the most powerful man in MMA.  He was in town shooting a pilot for a new reality TV show and earlier in the day visited KnuckleUp’s historic gym in Sandy Springs with friend and costar Matt Serra.

Anthony Cooper celebrates his victory saturday night.

Anthony Cooper celebrates victory.

 

To find out about how KnuckleUp uses the power of world  class martial arts instruction to make our fitness classes fun, exciting, and effective contact us here.

Posted in Knuckleup Fitness News

Chazz Walton – Recipe For Success

Chazz Walton II

Chazz Walton is confident that hard work and a great team at KnuckleUp will lead him to victory this Saturday.

This Saturday night at Center Stage in Atlanta KnuckleUp Kickboxing instructor and professional fighter Chazz Walton will face off against Shawn Stoffer of Orlando Florida. When I spoke to him he had just finished his final day of training at KnuckleUp and was focusing on resting his body and cutting the last little bit of weight.

My weight cut has been kind of rough.  Because of my other job I had to be out of the gym for about three months and when I came back I was close to 200 pounds.  My opponent and I are both natural lightweights but we are fighting at 170(because the fight was made on short notice) so the weight cut isn’t as bad as it could have been.

He’s confident that, even at the higher weight he’ll be able to win the fight in dominating fashion.

I plan on staying undefeated. In my training I don’t focus on just one area.  I try to be great at everything. That way I can be dominant in whatever situation we get in once the fight starts.  I feel like if the fight stays on the feet I’ll knock him out and if it goes to the ground I’ll end up submitting him. I’m confident in all aspects of my game right now.

He credits a productive, if short, training camp with his team at KnuckleUp for getting him ready to fight. Among his primary training partners are fellow KnuckleUp instructors Dave Vitkay and Quentin Rosenzweig.  Both of who are high level fighters in their own right.

Dave and Quentin are good for me to train with because they are both very skilled on the ground but it’s also good for me to have to deal with their strength.  I’m tall and lanky and my opponent might be a little stronger than me but he’ll be nothing like those two.   Both Dave and Quentin are bigger than I am and working with them gets me used to a high level of resistance and forces me to really concentrate on technique. 

Chazz says although both David and Quentin have similarly dominant records on the local scene and are primarily ground fighters, that’s where the similarities end, in the sparring at least.

Quentin likes to play the leg game and is extremely technical.   Dave is technical but he’s also like a wrecking ball.  Dave uses his size and strength against you more than Quentin does. Plus Dave is a little more unorthodox. Whenever I’m training with either of them I have to be very technical and move a lot.  I can’t stall or keep my back flat on the mat or stay in in one place.  Dave has been especially good to work with.  He’s going to be in my corner too.

But what is Chazz’ secret weapon? What has allowed him to build an unbroken win record as both a pro and an amateur?

 My wife, Megan, is going to be in my corner along with Stephen Upchurch.  She’s been in my corner for my last two fights and I won both by knockout.   I figure as long as she’s in my corner I’ll keep winning.  I’m not going to let somebody beat me up in front of my wife.

 

Megan and Chazz

 

To find out about how KnuckleUp uses the power of martial arts to make the fitness classes at our gym fun, exciting, and effective contact us here.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Knuckleup Fitness News

What is Will Power and How Do You Make it Stronger?

Leadknee

There are two main theories about will power. One sees it as a sort of energy that a person has a limited supply of. Whenever confronted with a choice it uses some of this energy to make a decision about the choice and act on it.  Choices that conflict with low-level desires like sleep, hunger, the avoidance of pain and the desire for pleasure, take more energy to enforce than choices that satisfy these desires. For example: it doesn’t require a lot of mental effort to sleep that extra 15 minutes, have the extra serving or the one beer too many. This view suggests that every time you make a hard choice it depletes your reserves of mental energy and you have less to resist the next time, at least in the short term.  Most mass media advertising is based on this deterministic view of will power and human behavior in general.

The other way to view willpower is that it is like a muscle and every time you use it becomes a little stronger.  My personal experience supports the second view.  The second view also presents a happier vision of mankind, supports the notion of free will and suggests that we can, if we work hard enough, improve ourselves and the conditions of our lives.

“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.” – Henry David Thoreau

The truth is that probably both views are partially correct.  We can strengthen our will power by using it, but no man’s strength of mind is infinite. Everyone has a breaking point and once a person’s will shatters it’s hard to put back together.  So the key to developing stronger willpower is to exercise it consistently without breaking it. This is a fundamental principal of any successful exercise regime.  It’s also why working with a coach or personal trainer is such a good decision.  A good instructor will know how to help you push just far enough and not too far, then a little further the next time.

We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”- Aristotle

The great enemy of willpower isn’t weakness, but confusion. If a person is confronted with too many choices or unclear choices, then the situation requires exponentially more mental energy to deal with.  This is our predicament in modern life.  We are overwhelmed with data, distraction, and noise. Marketing messages bombard and political messages obfuscate, or worse, inflame. Rather than presenting clear choices to the mind, life points us in a million different ways.

A good gym is a refuge from this numbing complexity.  In the gym the choices are simple.  You perform or you don’t.  Every workout is a series of tiny contests between your will and desire. You win or you lose. When your conscious will overrides low-level animal desire “you” win. If you have a good instructor and on a good day at the gym you experience this type of victory dozens of times, your mind gets used to winning and it becomes addictive.

Like having a strong body, developing strong willpower alone is morally neutral. A person may have indomitable will power but use it towards bad or stubborn ends.   A person’s character is what determines the ways they will use their will power.  You may see a bad person with strong willpower but you will never see a good person with weak willpower.  This is because, by nature, a person’s mind will flow towards the path of least resistance, or, towards the desires that tempt them. Because it combines the will-strengthening benefits of athletic training with the character development present in any good student/teacher relationship, martial arts training is a great way to achieve health, a stronger mind, and a happier outlook on life.

To find out about how KnuckleUp uses the power of martial arts to make the fitness classes at our gym fun, exciting, and effective contact us here.

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Sitting is the New Smoking – These Three Tips May Save Your Life

From Gargantua and Pantagreul

Sitting all day may be slowly killing you. In fact studies show that the modern sedentary lifestyle might be as deadly as smoking. For every additional average hour per day you sit at a desk your chance of death by heart disease goes up an average of 14 percent. Additionally, sitting for long periods of time over the course of your day doubles your chance of getting type two diabetes, dramatically increases your chances of being obese, and has also been linked to depression and anxiety disorder.

Here are three simple tips from KnucleUp Fitness to help counter these ill effects.

Walk More – Walking has been shown to fight heart disease, obesity and improve mood. Many residential communities are now designed to encourage walking. Find ways to walk at work as well. Consider parking your car farther away from your building and always use the stairs instead of the elevator.

Stand Up – Tasks you usually perform sitting can many times be done standing up. For example, when you talk on the phone, stand up and walk around. Not only will it improve your health but it will make you sound more energetic on the phone as well. If you commute on the bus or train then opt to stand instead of sit. Try watching TV standing up or get up and move around during commercial breaks.

Join a Gym – Exercise can counteract many of the problems caused by prolonged sitting. Joining a reputable gym can help you exercise more effectively through proper instruction and motivation. Your gym can also be a great place to meet new friends and likeminded people as well.

To find out about how KnuckleUp uses the power of martial arts to make the fitness classes at our gym fun, exciting, and effective contact us here.

Posted in KnuckleUp Company Wellness

Georgia Crucial to the History of MMA says Pioneering Promoter Brett Moses.

randy_couture UFC 13

The argument can be made that the UFC would never have amounted to more than a Gracie Jiu Jitsu infomercial be it not for wrestlers. Most fans know that the wave of amateur Freestyle and Greco Roman wrestlers who came into the sport following the initial dominance of Jiu Jitsu players forever changed the landscape of mixed martial arts. But did you know that the state of Georgia played an historic role in the emergence of these athletes on the MMA scene? Pioneering MMA Promoter Brett Moses recently explained how.

In November of 1997 I helped promote an event called Martial Arts Reality Super Fighting (MARS). The beginnings of wrestling in MMA in large part come from that event because of a man named Rico Chiapparrelli. Rico was a NCAA Wrestling Champion in the 80’s and he was one of the first, if not the first, who thought wrestlers, could do well in MMA.

He brought in guys like Tom Ericson, the huge heavyweight wrestling Champion to that event.

Brett gives Chiapparrelli credit for being open minded about training different styles when many in martial arts were not.

Back in those days there was a complete separation. If you were a wrestler you didn’t train with Jiu Jitsu people if you were a Jiu Jitsu guy you didn’t train with wrestlers.

For example; Carlson Gracie got real mad at Renzo (Gracie) because Renzo was teaching Rico Jiu Jitsu and Rico was teaching Renzo wrestling. Carlson Gracie made a big stink so Renzo had to quit training with Rico. Carlson got the whole Jiu Jitsu community up in arms.

A short time after MARS, another event in Georgia had an even bigger impact on the development of MMA. UFC 13, held in Augusta, featured the debut of another fighter trained by Chiapparrelli, a 38-year-old wrestling coach named Randy Couture. Of course Couture ended up winning the tournament at UFC 13 and the rest is history. Tito Ortiz, another wrestling pioneer in MMA and the UFC also debuted at that event and Vitor Belfort wiped out Tank Abbott

 

At KnuckleUp Fitness we use the power of world-class martial arts instruction to make exercise fun and exciting. If you want to see the remarkable results our classes and personal training sessions can have on your body and mind then sign up for a free trial membership today.

Posted in Uncategorized

Georgia MMA Pioneer Andy Foster Discusses The Early Days of the Sport with KnuckleUp.

Andy Foster

Andy Foster has worn many hats over the course of his involvement with MMA in Georgia.  From fan, to student, to competitor, referee  and ultimately high powered official, he’s done it all.   I  recently spoke to  Andy about the history of MMA in Georgia and the important role he played in getting the sport off the ground here.

There was a core of different characters that were mainly responsible for building MMA in Georgia and I had the good fortune to be involved with them. Mike Carlson, James Corbett, Matt Waller, John De Angelo, Brett Moses, Steve Headden, I’ll throw my own in there. These are names that are integral to the creation of mixed martial arts in the state.

Foster first got interested in fighting by watching Royce Gracie in the early days of the UFC.

I was really impressed by this little guy, Royce Gracie, beating fighters who were much bigger than he was. At the time I was involved in wrestling and I had a friend who was involved in Karate. We’d try to slow down the moves and copy what we saw Royce doing.

 Then Jacare Calvacanti came to Atlanta in 1996 or so. My friend and I were from Dalton about 80 miles away but we started going to his classes. I ended up getting a Blue Belt in 1998.

Foster tells me that in those days MMA, or NHB as it was called, got started much the same way it did in Brazil; as a way to settle beefs between martial arts schools.

When we were training at Jacare’s the students from all the different schools wanted to see how they’d do against each other and compete. They wanted to participate in what they were seeing happening in the UFC. It wasn’t called mixed martial arts in those days but NHB for No Holds Barred.

One of the first local events that stick out in Andy’s mind was called the Submission Fighting Open promoted by Matt Waller.

It was a Pankration style event with open handed slaps and grappling. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. John De Angelo is another promoter who comes to mind. His events were quite a bit rougher that Matt’s stuff. John’s events were full-blown No Holds Barred with no gloves.

 I watched a fighter named Bull Shaw fight someone at a bar from a boxing gym and man I thought he killed him. That fight went way too long but back then nobody knew anything. That’s also when I learned that glass bottles and fights don’t mix together. Read more ›

Posted in Knuckleup Fitness News, Uncategorized

Ricardo Murgel breaks down Werdum vs Velasquez from UFC 188

Master Ricardo Murgel

Knuckleup Fitness Head Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Instructor Ricardo Murgel has a special connection with new UFC Champ Fabricio Werdum. Back in 2006 Murgel trained Werdum for his victory in Japan against Alexander Emelianenko. Last Saturday night at UFC 188, Werdum defeated Cain Velasquez to become the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion. I spoke to Master Murgel about his insights into the fight.

“In short, Velasquez was not prepared to fight at the high altitude in Mexico City,” summarized Murgel.  “ His main strength has always been his conditioning which allows him to apply pressure to his opponents non stop but Saturday night you could see from the first round that he was getting tired at a rate he wasn’t used to. “

Murgel theorized that Velasquez’s strategy going into the match had been to keep the fight standing up early and not go to the ground with Werdum, who has submitted many top fighters in his career from his back, including the great Fedor Emelianenko.

In the past similar strategies have worked well for Velasquez, who likes to wear his opponents down on the feet and in the clinch for a couple of rounds before taking them down in the later rounds and dominating them with his ground and pound.

On Saturday night, however, he was fighting in Mexico City, which is at 7,000 feet above sea level. Velasquez normally trains at sea level at American Kickboxing Academy in San Diego, California. Murgel says that if an athlete doesn’t give his body time to acclimatize to the lower oxygen in the air at high altitude then even well-conditioned ones can become exhausted quickly.   Werdum, in contrast to Velasquez, moved his camp to Mexico City two months ago and had plenty of time to adjust.

In addition to having better cardio than Velasquez, Werdum also thoroughly out struck him. He bloodied Velasquez in the first round as he was trying to close the distance and then punished the Mexican American fighter with knees from the clinch when Velasquez was able to get close.

“Werdum has always been an extremely talented Jiu Jitsu player but you can really see a dramatic improvement in his striking over the last several years,“ commented Master Murgel.

Murgel suspects that Cain had never experienced the type of fatigue he did Saturday night and might have panicked.

“In my opinion Velasquez grew desperate in the third. He executed a very basic maneuver poorly and Werdum, who is a top submission fighter, caught him with the most basic counter there is; the guillotine.”

I asked Master Murgel, who is one of the highest ranked Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Masters in the World, how precisely Velasquez made the mistake.

“What happened is that he went for a basic double leg takedown and instead of being explosive and driving through the takedown with his whole body he drove sloppily with his head and got caught. This is a mistake a fighter at his level should not be making in a World Title fight. “

I asked Master Murgel if Cain would do better in a rematch, one that was held at sea level. He seemed to think the outcome of a rematch might be different saying cryptically, “ I’m not sure how long Werdum will stay Champion because he is already 38 years old. But for right now, he deserves all the credit for a sensational victory. As the saying goes, ‘the king is dead long live the new king.’ ”

 

Why is this man smiling?

Why is this man smiling?

 

At KnuckleUp Fitness we use the power of world-class martial arts instruction to make exercise fun and exciting. If you want to see the remarkable results our classes and personal training sessions can have on your body and mind then sign up for a free one-week trial membership today.

 

 

Posted in Atlanta BJJ, Knuckleup Fitness News

Muay Thai Sensations

Muay Thai Sensations

Posted in Knuckleup Fitness News

How Georgia Pioneers helped bring MMA to Iraq.

Alpha Company

A few years ago, when American troops were still fighting the Iraq War, Georgia combat sports pioneers Brett Moses and Andy Foster helped put together one of  most historic fight cards in the history of mixed martial arts.  Brett and Andy, together with a team of  officials, corporate partners, athletes and other support personnel traveled to a forward operating base outside of Mosul Iraq to produce a free night of fights for the troops.  I was the only journalist covering the event  and below is the story I filed for FIGHT! magazine.   To my knowledge A Fight Night For Heroes is, to this day, the only sanctioned MMA event ever  to take place in an active war zone.

IN THE BELLY OF THE WHALE

The city of Mosul is in the North­ern part of Iraq on the banks of the Tigris River. A sprawl­ing city of nearly two mil­lion inhab­i­tants, it has been here in one form or another for thou­sands of years. It is built on the ruins of the ancient city of Nin­eveh where the prophet Jonah was trav­el­ing when swal­lowed alive by a “great fish” in the famous story from the Bible. It’s said he is buried in the city, beneath a shrine located in the Nabi Yunus Mosque.

I am rumi­nat­ing on the Bib­li­cal prophet’s pecu­liar mode of trans­porta­tion as I travel towards the city myself, in the belly of a dif­fer­ent kind of giant beast. Thou­sands of feet above the Iraqi desert inside a C-130 mil­i­tary trans­port plane, I am trav­el­ing together with a large group: three fight­ers, two pro­mot­ers, three judges, two ref­er­ees, a cor­po­rate spon­sor, a match­maker, sanc­tion­ing offi­cial, two ring girls, a doc­u­men­tary film crew, FIGHT! Magazine’s own intre­pid staff pho­tog­ra­pher Paul Thatcher and about a dozen sol­diers who are going on deploy­ment. We are all being fer­ried to for­ward oper­at­ing base Marez on the out­skirts of Mosul, which in a few days will be the site of a his­toric mixed mar­tial arts event. The fight card has been a labor of love for many, includ­ing Mon­ica San­ford, the owner of Devil Dog Pro­duc­tions. Mon­ica is the wife of a Marine Lieu­tenant Colonel and a tire­less advo­cate for greater accep­tance of MMA by the mil­i­tary. She owns a Jiu-Jitsu acad­emy off Camp Leje­une, NC, and has already pro­moted a cou­ple of hugely suc­cess­ful events on U.S. mil­i­tary bases, but she’s never pulled off any­thing with the scope and com­plex­ity of what they’re plan­ning at Marez. No one has. With her are fel­low pro­moter Brett Moses and Andy Fos­ter, head of the Geor­gia State Box­ing Com­mis­sion, who are here to help with the orga­ni­za­tion and pro­duc­tion of the big night.

Trav­el­ing on the C-130 is a sin­gu­larly unpleas­ant expe­ri­ence. There are no win­dows to speak of, the smell of fuel is over­whelm­ing and the roar of the engines is so deaf­en­ing that we are given tiny orange earplugs before take­off in order to pre­vent per­ma­nent hear­ing dam­age. We are packed in like sar­dines along­side huge pal­lets of equip­ment and lug­gage and we’re required to wear 35-pound flak jack­ets and ill-fitting Kevlar hel­mets just in case any­body takes a pot shot at us. The scene is one of dis­com­fort and claustrophobia.

C-130 Hercules cargo (6)

Irra­tional thoughts begin to race through my mind, “Am I sup­posed to smell this much oil? Maybe there’s a leak! What if this thing catches fire mid-air? What if they land us in the 140-degree Iraqi heat and for­get about us on the plane? Great God, we’ll bake alive in here!”

I have never liked con­fined spaces and even though I real­ize every­thing will prob­a­bly be alright, I begin to sweat pro­fusely in the begin­ning stages of ani­mal panic. If I with­stand this ini­tial wave, I know it will go away for good, so I close my eyes and do my best to place my thoughts elsewhere.

When I open them after a few min­utes, I notice that the expres­sions on the faces of my fel­low trav­el­ers run the gamut from mild con­ster­na­tion to full-on psy­cho­log­i­cal break­down. There are anti freak-out kits behind us on the walls—green pouches con­tain­ing vomit bags and hyper­ven­ti­la­tion units just in case some­body does lose it. I won­der how often this hap­pens. Some­how, know­ing the oth­ers are hav­ing a rough time too makes it eas­ier on me and I even begin to laugh at myself a little.

The plane sud­denly begins to lurch and weave errat­i­cally, send­ing me swerv­ing from side to side in my seat. My ears pop as the plane dives and loses alti­tude quickly. My friend Nick Palmis­ciano, owner of Ranger Up and a spon­sor of the event, is across from me sleep­ing like a baby. A grad­u­ate of West Point and a for­mer Army Ranger, he warned me ear­lier about our land­ing, say­ing the C-130 pilots would put the plane through a series of acro­batic, down­ward­ spi­ral­ing, pirou­ettes in order to make us a more dif­fi­cult tar­get to shoot down.

Mosul’s hot right now,” he had said, using the mil­i­tary slang for an area with a large amount of enemy activity.

Sweet,” I had com­mented, mean­ing just the opposite. Read more ›

Posted in Uncategorized