Four Days, Two Counter Right Hands, Two TKO Victories For Team TSMMA
It almost felt like I’d read this book a couple days earlier. Only this one had one less chapter. All the plot lines were the same. Long time teammate. Sensei who I remember as a teenager. Holding my breath with excitement. Biggest stage there is in fighting. Debut performance. Surreal lack of jitters. Opponent with long track record in said organization. Scintillating counter right hand making for quick work of things.
It’s the kind of story I’d love to read again. Sort of like reading the tenth Lee Child novel. It sure seems similar to the first nine, but I’m still loving every second of it.
Of course the book I’m alluding to is not really a book. It’s still exactly how I felt watching Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera dispatch of Marcus Brimage in the very first round of his UFC debut Saturday morning. The sole difference between the TSMMA Gramercy Sensei’s amazing performance and that of teammate and fellow Manhattan Instructor (TSMMA Chelsea), Sensei Lyman Good, was Rivera’s lasted roughly 7 fewer minutes.
Just as when “Cyborg” dispatched Andrew Craig on Wednesday it was clear from the first few seconds Rivera was not intimidated by Brimage. He was willing to fight on the inside. He was willing to trade power punches. He had no fear of gassing out as many first time UFC fighters do after experiencing the dreaded “adrenaline dump”.
Instead it was clear for the second time in four days that Tiger Schulmann and the many coaches who have trained these two fighters had prepared them to succeed at the highest level of Mixed Martial Arts.
You couldn’t help notice the mental similarities; the confidence in walking to the cage, the clear sense of calm in the midst of a standup battle, the ability to make small adjustments in the middle of said stand up battle because they noticed the openings they were being given.
Just as apparent were the technical similarities. In fact so similar that both fights ended with the same technique. There was a difference in the execution of said technique; Lyman slipped his head far to the left to avoid an Andrew Craig right elbow, thus opening the angle for his own short right hand, while Rivera did a slight pull to avoid a straight punch from Brimage before coming back with a straight right of his own. The results were slightly different too. “Cyborg” saw his opponent crumble to the canvas before pouncing and forcing a ref stoppage. “El Terror” literally punched his opponent into the cage before forcing his own TKO.
The celebrations were slightly different as well. Good stayed firmly rooted on the canvas before working his way towards his coaches, Shihan Tiger Schulmann, Shihan Ron Schulmann, and boxing coach Ray Velez. Rivera made a slight detour first, hopping to the top of the cage to share his excitement with the crowd. They looked identical wearing the Reebok sponsor apparel in the corner. 5159 miles and the Atlantic Ocean didn’t keep them from appearing at the cage door to congratulate their fighter.
In fact calling them “their fighter” might be the greatest understatement in history.
Fighters like Brimage begin their martial arts careers either as wrestlers or as students at small regional martial arts schools before joining gyms like American Top Team, Jackson/Winklejohn, Alliance MMA, or any of the other “Fight Schools”. Tiger Schulmann’s has now seen a handful of fighters enter the UFC cage and another compete in The Ultimate Fighter Season 3 (shoutout to Sensei Mike Stine of TSMMA Rego Park for paving the way).
All TSMMA fighters who entered the Octagon began as white belts. None had prior Martial Arts Experience. In fact the average age of the Team TSMMA competitors who have fought for the UFC is 10 years old. They are truly students of Tiger Schulmann’s. They learned the same exact curriculum as the other 8000+ students who trained at TSMMA in July alone!
For Shihan Tiger Schulmann, Shihan Ron Schulmann, and boxing coach Ray Velez the relationship is much more father/son than coach/fighter.
That was apparent in the pure joy exhibited in the faces of all three coaches. That same respect went the other way as both Rivera and Good spoke with reverence of their coaches.
The two are a testament to everything Tiger Schulmann’s curriculum teaches. Focus, Non-Quitting Spirit, and a positive attitude can indeed help someone accomplish their dreams. Further, the techniques of self-defense taught to each and every student are so effective they work even against other fighters with more experience and training at supposed “Super Schools”.
Congratulations to both Sensei Rivera and Sensei Good for representing Team TSMMA and the 200,000+ students who have called Tiger Schulmann’s home in the last 30 years with the highest possible class and ability. While the book may have read much the same, it was still a pleasure to read. There thousands of fans (yours truly included) can only hope that future editions read just like these two.
By: Sensei Thad Campbell