KnuckleUp wins big at Legacy 53 and UFC on Fox 19 in Tampa

This last week has been a great one for the Mixed Martial Arts fighters at KnuckleUp. Our MMA team has racked up some serious wins over the last two weekends, winning television events for both Legacy Fighting Championships on AXS TV and for the UFC on Fox.


First, Legacy 53 was here in Atlanta and the card featured KnuckleUp Fitness competitors Chazz Walton and Dave Vitkay. Both of these fighters are on impressive win streaks and they kept them going that night. Chazz kept his undefeated record going, making it a 4-0 run as a pro after going undefeated as an amateur. His :43 second submission win (via triangle choke) over Wesley Golden from ATT Coconut Grove means that he has officially spent less than 5 minutes in the cage as a pro fighter, all first round finishes. Amazing. When Dana White was here at our school for his “Looking For a Fight” series Chazz was immediately on his radar, noting on his card “TUF”, which we think means he wants him in the next Ultimate Fighter. Sounds good to us! Dave Vitkay, 3-0 Bellator vet and also now 3-0 in Legacy, keep his winning streak alive as well. This fight against Cody Wilson, another fighter on the UFC’s radar, makes it 7 wins in a row for Dave. Dave has definitely found his stride and we look forward to him continuing with Legacy, hopefully fighting for their welterweight title in the near future.


Tonight, our very own Michael Graves got bumped up from the Fight Pass card to the televised prelims, so he had a chance to really show his stuff to the TV fans. Man, he did not disappoint! Fighting this week with his long-time friend and KnuckleUp trainer Luke Neyland in his corner, Mike easily finished his opponent, sinking in a rear naked choke during round two and staying undefeated with perfect 6-0 professional record.



“There was a lot of hype around Randy Brown following his appearance on Dana White’s reality series “Looking for a Fight” but Michael Graves put an end to that with a second-round rear-naked choke finish to hand him his first loss.

Graves is considered a top prospect, himself, after appearing on “The Ultimate Fighter” two seasons ago as a member of American Top Team, and he looked very impressive to get his second win inside the Octagon on Saturday.

In the opening moments of the fight, Brown did his best to employ the five-inch reach advantage he had over the Ohio native, but Graves wasted no time moving into the clinch to negate the size difference in the fight.

Graves took Brown to the mat midway through round one and kept him there until the horn sounded while peppering away with short elbows and punches to maintain control on the ground.

In round two, Graves quickly seized another Brown mistake as he latched onto a leg and quickly planted him back on the mat after an ill-advised kick gave him ample opportunity for a takedown.

This time, Graves quickly pressured Brown and advanced his position to side control before eventually taking the back.

From there it was all Graves as he wrapped up Brown like a pretzel and quickly slipped his arm under his opponent’s neck and wrenching up a rear-naked choke.

Brown had nowhere to go as he was flattened out on the mat and he quickly tapped out, handing Graves the win at 2:31 in the second round.

Both fighters could have a bright future in the UFC but Graves remains undefeated with a perfect 2-0 record in the Octagon as he continues his climb up the welterweight division.”



Way to go everyone!!! #123KnuckleUp!!!

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Posted in Atlanta BJJ, The Story of KnuckleUp

Guests and beginners welcome tomorrow for BJJ team training

So as you all know, in conjunction with their team training and belt promotions, the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team is throwing us a party tomorrow at our Sandy Springs / Buckhead location. All of the other KnuckleUp locations are cancelling their BJJ classes and coming to that location for a great day of training, games, food and camaraderie. The team would also like to invite any and all of you to come take the class with them, they want a chance to show you what they do.


So, if you have ever wondered what all those guys and girls are doing on the kimonos over there on the blue mats, come in to the Buckhead school and take the class tomorrow. It’s going to be super fun. Class starts at 11, so try it out!


Remember, free food and drink, live DJ, a bouncy house for the kiddos and LOTS of fun for all. See you there!!!

Posted in Uncategorized

The BJJ team is having a party this Saturday!

This Saturday, April 2nd, in conjunction with the monthly BJJ team training held at the Buckhead / Sandy Springs location, the KnuckleUp Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Team is throwing a big party for all of the KnuckleUp members! The party will be both in the gym and outside in our parking lot. In case you have never been there, the address is
4540 Roswell Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30342
We will have food and music, activities for adults and games and a bouncy house for kids. We have some awesome vendors bringing us food and drinks. The Brazilian Taste BBQ food truck will be on site serving up tasty grilled stuff, Urban Cookhouse will be here as along with several other local restaurants and vendors.
All KnuckleUp Kickboxing, Boxing, Muay Thai, CrossFit, Kid’s BJJ, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes will occur at their regular times. The bouncy house and games will be ready for fun at 11 and the party will be going on all day!
Come on out on Saturday from 11:00am to 3:00pm and let the KnuckleUp Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team celebrate YOU!
Posted in Uncategorized

Patrick K.’s KnuckleUp Yelp Review

Although not from our old Yelp listing, we thought Patrick’s review too well written to be stuck in the “not currently recommended” by Yelp column on our new listing so we are going to share it.

Patrick K.

KnuckleUp Sandy Springs/Buckhead

5 stars – 01/15/2016


I’ve been a member with KnuckleUp for close to 10 years, worked out at various locations, and I recommend it to everyone I know.  I initially started with cardio kickboxing and loved it – all of the trainers are great!  It’s a great way to get started, or even to just stay with.  But for me, over time, I have gone back and forth with different things that KnuckleUp offers:
-Personal training (with Stephen Upchurch and Dave Vitkay),
-BootCamp and CrossFit (with Moe Travis) and
-Brazilian jiu jitsu…
I could probably name drop more, but seriously, all of the trainers and coaches are great!

To talk about the gym, one of the best benefits of being at KnuckleUp is the bond and friendships created with the trainers and other people training to better themselves.  They actually care about your health, your development, and work with you to obtain your personal goals.  Unlike big box gyms that work the numbers and hope you don’t show up, the trainers at KnuckleUp want you to show up and care about whether you are getting what you said you wanted out of your membership.  And now that they are in their new space in Buckhead, it is even more amazing.  So much more mat space and even more bags for cardio kickboxing!  (Everyone always like to have some space).  And more mat space for muay-thai kickboxing and jiu jitsu.  The gym also now has an “official” CrossFit affiliate and the space/equipment is fantastic!

When I have done CrossFit at KnuckleUp, Moe goes over form and emphasizes proper form.  Unlike other places, it’s not about slapping a workout on the wall and throwing max weights around until failure.  Because of Moe, KU CrossFit is truly different from all the other CrossFit affiliates.  She cares about form, technique, and your health!

When I do cardio kickboxing, I am motivated to keep up with the class.  You know your limits, but its fun to try to keep up with the guy or girl in the corner of your eye that’s hustling a little harder than you.  And sometimes, I may not be able to hustle like others, but I can focus on landing power shots or focus on getting the technique down.  It’s up to me, but I also like to keep up with the pace of the class.

Personal training sessions (I’ve worked with Dave and Stephen) have been great!  They have been flexible to what worked for me and the things I wanted to do.  When I have done personal training, the results have been very satisfying!

Jiu jitsu is very new to me and I am loving it.  I’ve had about six classes now and the fundamentals class is great and perfect for me.  I also love taking part in the Saturday classes and learning from others that are more experienced than me.  The instructors and other experienced practitioners are just wonderful.  I’m not very good, but I am learning!

Some folks may not be interested in all of these things, but KnuckleUp has them and more.  You can get whatever you want.  All you have to do is show up and do the work!

This gym really has everything a person could ever want.  However, this is not the gym if you like to pose in front of the mirror and just socialize after work.  And like I said earlier, the friendships and personal bonds I have formed at KnuckleUp are just an added benefit, so there is the friendships and socializing, but you gotta do the work.

I’ve known a lot of these people for close to 10 years and experienced life with these people.  Trust me when I say this – the people that leave negative reviews weren’t interested in being the catalyst for change in their life to get the results they wanted.  They wanted something else – a dream, an excuse, a “supposed” quick fix.  They just didn’t want to do hard work.



Posted in Uncategorized

Megan W.’s KnuckleUp Yelp Review


Since we have so many great experiences shared on our old KnuckleUp Yelp listing, we thought that we would share a few of the more thoughtful posts with you all. Megan has done Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) with us for a while now, and is now even trying her hand at Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) as well. We are super proud of her accomplishments and look forward to watching her skills continue to grow.


Megan W.

KnuckleUp Sandy Springs

5 stars – 07/21/2013

“I was first introduced to KnuckleUp Fitness when I decided to try out Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to lose weight. I started out at a different location, that ended up closing, which forced me to relocate to the Sandy Springs location. It ended up being a blessing because my commute was cut in half and Sandy Springs had so much more to offer. I was blown away at my first class, it was so different than I had experienced anywhere else…

There are so many other women that train there, it puts competing on another level and everyone is very team oriented. Not to mention, it’s always more comfortable to have other women training with you. There are classes that cater to the advance jiu jitsu practitioners as well as fundamentals classes for those just starting out.

If jiujitsu isn’t for you (and for most it’s not), there are Muay Thai classes, as well as boxing, mma, wrestling, and of course, what they’re known for – kickboxing. I actually just started taking the morning kickboxing class and was relieved to discover you can go at your own pace and it’s an awesome workout. There is also cardio/weight equipment that you would find at any other gym, but you’re missing out if you don’t take any of the classes. Whether you want to be the next Ronda Rousey or just get in better shape, KnuckleUp is where you need to be.”

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Posted in The Story of KnuckleUp, Yelp Reviews

One year ago today…

It’s easy to forget how much can happen in one year, until we are reminded by significant dates in our lives. One year ago today, we stood in our beloved Sandy Springs location and witnessed the destruction the fire had caused. From burning our locker rooms and sauna to ruining our Jiu Jitsu mats, dealing with portable toilets and showers to losing our cardio machines for 8 months.  To say it was a defining moment in our business is an understatement.


It was this moment when we would truly see what we were made of. The following months were not easy; battling the insurance company, seeking a new place to call home. Many thought we couldn’t do it. Thought we would shutter the doors and move on. We knew better.


With a dogged tenacity we pressed on. We secured our new location in prestigious Buckhead…we moved to the front! The doors flew open with an exciting new energy and an air of hope, with the addition of amazing programs like KU CrossFit in a facility with even more workout and mat space. A new era had begun.


What we knew then, but appreciate even more now, more than ever before, is that it’s all about the people. From the KnuckleUp Kickboxing and Boxing instructors who embraced the challenge of moving classes from room to room, the BJJ and Muay Thai instructors that had to deal with the dust and the noise, to the members that endured the inconvenience and the ambiguity of the construction timeline. Thank you for all your hard work, dedication, and patience.


We cannot possibly express enough our appreciation for everyone who believed in us. Everyone that knew we would rise, like a phoenix from the ashes. Stronger, smarter, more determined, more resilient.


To the members, your unwavering faith and loyalty cannot be rivaled and will never be forgotten. We hope you know our loyalty to you runs just as strong and deep. It’s more than a slogan, it’s a way of thinking. #cantstopwontstop


1,2,3, KNUCKLEUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



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Posted in Knuckleup Fitness News, The Story of KnuckleUp

Jiu Jitsu is for Everyone

Disabled, un-athletic, competitors, hobbyist…man or woman…young or old…all shapes and all sizes, Jiu Jitsu has something for all of you.

Many people think that we must compete and dedicate our lives to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or we shouldn’t be doing it at all. At KnuckleUp Fitness we disagree. Although we do highly encourage competition, and have had a very successful competition team for almost two decades now, competing is not a requirement for our Jiu Jitsu members. At KnuckleUp we welcome anyone to train, not just those that want to compete, or want to make BJJ their life, but anyone that is willing to give us a little of your time to show you the martial art that we love so much. We believe that even if you are not a competitor or you can’t attend classes often, a Jiu Jitsu player should still be welcomed to the mats with open arms. We can still learn, progress, and yes, even be promoted, without competing.

Whether you are here for the sport, to try and learn some self defense, or just as a fun way to workout, we have space for all of you on our mats.

We hope that over time, even those that are only able to train part time, that don’t get Jiu Jitsu yet, are awkward or un-athletic, or that just don’t compete, will learn to love Jiu Jitsu, learn to love what it teaches us. Not just what it teaches us about the martial arts, but what it teaches us about ourselves. Many people that come to Jiu Jitsu wind up eventually finding something in themselves that they never knew existed. They come to pass the time, or to maybe just to be able to say they did it, but they learn that they are stronger than they ever thought, that there is a warrior hiding inside them. In order to find that inner strength we must be given a chance to do so, we believe you should be given the time to find your way. Everyone is different and everyone will find this at a different time, or maybe not at all, but that’s okay too.

Different schools have different goals and training philosophies regarding the subject, and those philosophies are all correct, for themselves. You see, everyone has their own opinion, what they like, don’t like, want or don’t want to accomplish while training or teaching Jiu Jitsu. There is no right or wrong way, as long as you are doing it the way you want to do it. That is another thing that is so great about Jiu Jitsu, there’s a school for everyone too.

Jiu Jitsu has something, and is, for everyone. We can all take something home from our time on the mats. Do what works for you, train as much as you can or want, compete or don’t, and at a school that makes you happy, but whatever you do, do Jiu Jitsu.

Come in and try a complimentary week trial at our Buckhead – Sandy Springs, Windward – Alpharetta, Cumming, or Duluth locations. You just might learn something… about yourself.

See you on the mats. Oss!

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Posted in Atlanta BJJ, The Story of KnuckleUp

Giving Thanks- Chazz Walton Says Faith In God Makes Him A Better Fighter.

Chazz_jumping rope web

Chazz “The Hybrid” Walton is an up-and-coming MMA standout training at KnuckleUp Fitness. His current undefeated record of 3-0 speaks to his hard work and dedication.  But just a few years ago, Walton was on a different path—one that ultimately led him back to his Christian faith and a fighting career that was fueled by it.

There was a time in his past when MMA prospect Chazz “The Hybrid” Walton was anything but the dedicated and focused human being who now lives for practice at KnuckleUp Fitness. In fact, he was on a path of self-destruction and destined for failure.

As a child growing up in Douglasville, GA, Walton, his mother and grandmother regularly attended the Douglasville First Baptist Church. “I was raised in a Christian household and it instilled those values in me,” says Walton.

In high school, however, things started to change. “You kind of get sucked away from anything your parents are telling you to do. You go the opposite way and that’s what I did for about three years of my life,” explains Walton.

“I was going down a path in my life that I wasn’t really proud of. I got involved in drugs really bad. I was doing drugs and selling them.”

Walton found himself addicted to Xanax, a Benzodiazipine intended to treat anxiety. “It just gives you like a euphoric, really relaxed feeling, but I can also make you a completely different person. When you’re on it, you don’t seem to care about anything and I started caring about things and noticing things that I didn’t like in my life. I started seeing some clarity. My partner at the time, she wasn’t on the same page as me so we ended up splitting up. I started going back to church more often after that.”

Discussing the changes that were taking place within him, Walton states, “I was hanging out with really bad people and one day I just got sick of it. I felt like I had been lost for a really long time.”

With new-found courage and conviction, Walton was able to refocus and reconnect to his faith and church family at West Ridge Church. “I kind of just came back to it. I started praying and going to church again, kind of going through the motions.”

Once he reconnected to his faith, Walton started thinking about his future away from drugs. “I started training around the same time that I quit taking and selling drugs. I figured my whole life was upside down and I should probably join the military so I started training to get ready for that.  I figured there weren’t too many other things you could do to prepare yourself for boot camp.”

Today “The Hybrid” is laser-focused on his mixed martial arts career and is a clear standout at KnuckleUp Fitness as a highly dedicated member and fighter with an undefeated record and is one of the fastest rising stars in the South East.

Walton says it’s his faith that keeps him humble and that the good Lord helps him to continue to push his body and mind and protect himself and his opponents inside the cage. He is also thankful for the physical gifts he’s been granted which allow him to fight in the first place.

Chazz In Training


Posted in Knuckleup Fitness News

Core Exercise Platforms for CrossFit by Geof Travis

Moe with weights standng

This week Geof Travis explains the basic core exercise platforms that CrossFit is based on.

Olympic Weightlifting: Also referred to as Weightlifting, also called Olympic-style Weightlifting, or Olympic Weightlifting, is an athletic discipline in the modern Olympic program in which the athlete attempts a maximum-weight single lift of a barbell loaded with weight. Olympic Weightlifting is especially useful in the CrossFit world due to its ability to hit on almost all of the ten general physical skills. The two competition lifts in order are the snatch, and the clean and jerk.

CrossFit adopts these lifts and their various accessory exercises – push press, snatch balance, clean pulls. In comparison with other strength sports, which test limit strength (with or without lifting aids), Weightlifting tests aspects of human ballistic limits (explosive strength); the lifts are therefore executed faster and with more mobility and a greater range of motion during their execution than other strength movements.

Properly executed, the snatch, and the clean and jerk are both dynamic and explosive while appearing graceful, especially when viewed from a recording at a slowed speed. While CrossFit does emphasize traditional Olympic Weightlifting tests of one rep maxes once an athlete has exhibited competence, Olympic Weightlifting’s accessory exercises and movements are often used (at a relatively low percentage of the athletes max capability) in higher rep schemes for conditioning workouts. As stated above, the movements satisfy most of the ten general physical skills adopted by CrossFit. While there are relatively few competitive Olympic Weightlifters, the lifts performed in the sport of Weightlifting, and in particular their component lifts (e.g. squats, deadlifts, cleans), are commonly used by elite athletes in other sports to train for both explosive and functional strength.

Plyometrics: Also known as “jump training” or “plyos”, are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power (speed-strength). This training focuses on learning to move from a muscle extension to a contraction in a rapid or “explosive” manner, such as in specialized repeated jumping. Plyometrics are primarily used by athletes, especially martial artists, sprinters and high jumpers, to improve performance.

Powerlifting: Is a strength sport that consists of three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. Powerlifting evolved from a sport known as “odd lifts”, which followed the same three-attempt format but used a wider variety of events, akin to strongman competition. Eventually odd lifts became standardized to the current three and CrossFit has adopted these lifts as one means for gaining strength.

Gymnastics: Is a mastering of bodyweight manipulation in which complex, high-intensity movement patterns and elements of varying difficulty are executed as a sport. In CrossFit, use of pull up bars, gymnastic rings, parallettes, and other various movements using body weight such as burpees and handstands, are utilized for gains found in pursuing the ten general physical skills.

Girevoy Sport: Also known to most as Kettlebell Sport, CrossFit adopts this sport that in many ways mimics Olympic Weightlifting movements, but makes use of Kettlebells and tends to use the more simplified progressions of the sport by way of simple swings.

Calisthenics: Coupled closely with gymnastics, Calisthenics are intended to increase body strength, body fitness and flexibility through movements such as pulling or pushing yourself up, bending, jumping, or swinging, using only one’s body weight for resistance. They are usually conducted in concert with stretches. When performed vigorously and with variety, Calisthenics can provide the benefits of muscular and aerobic conditioning, in addition to improving psychomotor skills such as balance, agility and coordination.

Strongman: An extension and spin off to what is now common Weightlifting and Powerlifting, Strongman as a sport involves training that builds overall explosive strength in the gym, and training with competition implements to gain familiarity. In the gym it is necessary to train the entire body for strength, especially with variants of the squat, deadlift, and overhead press. Also important is explosive power, developed by weightlifting-style lifts, and cardiovascular conditioning. Grip strength must also be developed. Like any sport, it is necessary to train using the equipment one encounters in the sport. In the case of Strongman, these include logs, tires, yokes, farmer’s walk implements, etc.; building strength in the gym alone is insufficient.


KU CrossFit Logo large

Posted in KU CrossFit

Winning My First IBJJF World Title by Parker Graham

Credit: Todd Graham

Parker Graham Brings IBJJ World Title Back to KnuckleUp

Going out and competing in the IBJJF No-Gi Worlds was a last-minute decision. I hadn’t competed in no-gi in almost a year, and I only train no-gi once a week. I like gi competition a lot more because you have the ability to grab your opponent, and no-gi feels a lot more like wrestling in that you have to rely more on speed. We initially thought the competition was held in New York so we were planning on driving, but when found out it was in Los Angeles, we were able to find some cheap tickets and decided to go.

I lost in the finals match of my weight class by a takedown in the last couple of seconds. I was up by an advantage towards the end, and if I pulled guard I would’ve won. I felt like I missed my opportunity to bring a world championship to KnuckleUp and The Union Team. In the light absolute division (anyone in lightweight and under) I had three matches and won all of them. I felt like I made the right adjustments and really dominated all three of my opponents. In the finals I beat a guy from 10th Planet (a team that only trains no-gi), which I thought was pretty cool.

Winning didn’t feel like a life-changing moment for me, but I was proud to win a title for my team. I try to treat every tournament the same, no matter how big or prestigious, that way each tournament feels like just another tournament to me. That keeps me from getting overwhelmed and keeps me from putting extra pressure on myself. It allows me to focus on my matches and what I need to do. I’m lucky to have a great team with great instructors and teammates at KnuckleUp.

Master Ricardo Murgel is my main Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor, I have been with him for about eight years and he has always been up to date with new moves and positions. He has really taken me under his wing and become an important person in my life. Quentin Rosenzweig is a BJJ black belt under Master Murgel and is also a great instructor who also teaches a lot of modern techniques and is very technical. I also have great teammates  in Sandy Springs and Alpharetta who push me and force me to get better every day. I couldn’t have done it without KnuckleUp and my instructors and teammates who have been there every day, pushing me and making me better.



Posted in Atlanta BJJ