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June 2019

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Beyond The Mat – Instructor Chris Iavarone

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Sensei Chris Iavarone’s Thoughts On Being An Instructor

What separates Tiger Schulmann’s training from other types of gyms?

There are many things that separate Tiger Schulmann’s from other types of gyms and the biggest one is atmosphere.  From the minute someone walks through the door, they are greeted as if they’re already family. There are so many relationships are built under the TSMA roof. By the end of your first week everyone knows your name. 

Share a story of a student that joined Tiger Schulmann’s to make a dramatic change in their health and/or their overall fitness. What results did they achieve under your guidance?

We as instructors are very fortunate to have such an impact on someone’s life. In all my years of teaching one student comes to mind, Sarah. She came in and asked if we taught adult classes. Sarah explained to me that she tried other gyms but none of them seemed to work for her. She was tired of walking aimlessly around the gym wondering which machine to use and worse, nobody was ever around to show her proper technique. She felt like it didn’t even matter if she went because no one would notice. After much debate, she ended up trying out a class. She was amazed how a one hour class could feel like 5 minutes and be so enjoyable. Sarah continued to train and lose 48 lbs over the course of a year and was the happiest she has ever been. The look on her face when she told me that she fit into the same size pants as she was years ago was priceless.

Have you competed in martial arts competition? If so, how do you think you benefited from your experience(s)?

Yes, I have competed in more competitions than I can remember. Starting at the age of 10 years old competing has made me a more confident person and has taught me to find a way to get through any challenge.

What are you thoughts about the importance of competition for your students?

Every student should experience competition and all it has to offer. It is very important to know what it’s like to train for something and be okay with what ever to outcome. Win or lose, a true competitor will get backup and try again.

How do you motivate and set goals for your students?

What motivates one person might not motivate another. We get to know each individual and find out what their strengths and weaknesses are. I believe positive reinforcement is the best way to motivate. Goals should be set according to the students potential.

How does the competitive nature of martial arts play into your teaching philosophy?

I think that being competitive is important in life. My teaching philosophy is simple, try your best to be the best!

Share an example of how you helped coach or mentor someone. What improvements did you see in the person’s knowledge or skills?

A few years back a little girl walked into the school with her parents and she was so shy, she didn’t even look up at me when I said “hello.” Her parents went on the tell me the biggest reason they were there was to build her confidence. The next day she came back to take a trial class. She didn’t want to go on the mat. I told the parents that this was normal and it had to be her own terms, but not to worry because Tiger Schulmanns is exactly what she needs. Over the course of a month, and 10 tries, she completed her first class. They signed her up and it was on to the next challenge, counting to 10, an exercise we do in class to build up our students confidence. Soon enough Jane was heard loud and clear as she became one of the loudest in class. Jane’s parents couldn’t have been any happier.

Tell us about the path you took from student to instructor.

My path from student to instructor started in 1989 when I was only 10 years old. Never really involved in sports, I was overweight and not very confident. My mom had asked if I wanted to try a karate class and I said yes. It was the best decision I had ever made. It really became the place I went to feel good about myself and all the physical activity made it easy to lose the excess weight. Reaching my first black belt in record time (less than two years) gave me the confidence I always lacked and skills to defend myself. At an early age I learned the power of self discipline and what can be achieved. Continuing my training through my teenage years, while going to school and having a part time job to help my parents pay the bills, I never let go of the feeling training gave me. After working as a stock broker trainee in my twenties and becoming a series 7 certified broker, I quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. I knew what I wanted to do and I took a position at Tiger Schulmann’s – Bayside and never looked back.
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Cooking With Sensei – Cold Noodle Salad

By Diet and Nutrition, TSK No Comments
Cooking With Sensei – Cold Noodle Salad

Today on Cooking with Sensei we are making a wonderful cold noodle salad that can be made in advance to save you more time. Our salad calls for udon noodles, which are thick noodles made of wheat or brown rice. This dish is easy to prepare and affordable too.  It’s perfect for preparing a healthy meal in minutes. Udon noodles are very low in calories and rich and complex carbs as well as protein. I really love to mix it up in the kitchen using all different kinds of ingredients and make eating healthy fun again. 

Cooking With Sensei – Cold Noodle Salad


  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup of chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup of sliced carrots
  • 3/4 cup of shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup of water


  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger juice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Pinch of black pepper


  1. Combine the cucumbers, scallions, and peppers in a medium bowl then refrigerate.
  2. Preheat wok and spray lightly with canola oil.
  3. Sauté carrots, mushrooms, sesame seeds and water a little at a time, then let cool.
  4. Combine the carrot mix & cucumber mix.
  5. Mix together the dressing ingredients. 
  6. Toss salad with dressing and enjoy!

Sensei’s Tip of the Day

Use the “Clean” as you go method instead of leaving it all at the end; just take a moment to wipe down your workstation.   

Motivational Quote

Tell yourself the challenges isn’t over, it only continues.

Check me out on on IG at @tsmmaglendale  | @chris_iavarone and make sure to tag your healthy meal photos with #My90Day

Tiger Schulmann's Martial Arts | Champion Collage

Challenge of Champions 46 Recap & Team Champions

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Challenge of Champions 46 Recap & Team Champions

On June 2nd, over 1600 athletes from across the Tiger Schulmann’s organization gathered in Edison NJ to compete in the 2019 Challenge of Champions event. Students both young and old squared off against their peers in a competition of skill. Each school showcased their top talent in the disciplines of kickboxing and/or jiu jitsu. In front of cheering crowds, students displayed their skill and dedication for friends, family and spectators alike.

Challenge of Champions 46 Winners Collage

For many students competing, the Challenge of Champions is a rite of passage. One that solidifies their dedication to the sport of martial arts and allows each student an opportunity to test their skills and push themselves to levels they never thought possible. Competition is more than just winning an award. It’s the journey of training, the comradery of a team, the accomplishment of a personal goal that you set for yourself. For many, it goes far beyond the day of competition and becomes a way of life. As students advance in martial arts, they learn more about themselves, about who they want to be as a person and build lasting respect for their Sensei, their training partners and their teammates.

While attending this year’s event a young, first time student was discussing his match results with his parents. It was the simplicity of his comment that stood out among all others that day and that best captured the essence of the tournament – 8 simple words that encompassed the importance of effort, the spirit of self-discipline and the ability to overcome obstacles both on and off the mat.  As he turned to his parents I heard him quietly say, “Training and trying makes me a better me.” Wise words we call all live by.

Until our next competition – Osu!

Here are the Challenge of Champions 46 Team Results.  Congratulations to this year’s competitors!

Challenge Of Champions – Beginner Division

1st Place – Seaford

2nd Place – Huntington

3rd Place – Mount Kisco

Challenge of Champions 46 Beginner Division Winners

Challenge Of Champions – Intermediate Division

1st Place – Tottenville

2nd Place – Princeton

3rd Place – Williamsburg

Challenge of Champions 46 Intermediate Division Winners

Challenge Of Champions – Advanced Division

1st Place – New Dorp

2nd Place – Elmwood Park

3rd Place – Syosset

Challenge of Champions 46 Advanced Division Winners

Challenge Of Champions – Expert Division

1st Place – Bay Ridge

2nd Place – Rockville

3rd Place – Manhasset

Challenge of Champions 46 Expert Division Winners

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Cooking With Sensei – Grilled Shrimp Tacos

By Diet and Nutrition, TSK No Comments
Tiger Schulmann's Sensei Iavarone teaches us how to cook grilled shrimp tacos.

Today on Cooking With Sensei, we are making Grilled Shrimp Tacos with a Yogurt Cabbage Slaw.  Just think about having this yummy refreshing taco on a summer’s day with friends and knowing it is good for you.  Grilling up shrimp happens to be one of my favorite things to cook during the warmer months. Did you know Americans eat one billion pounds of shrimp every year?  Instead of using regular old taco shells, we are using whole-wheat tortillas wraps that we downsized a little to lower the carb intake.

This will be a three part recipe that will come together very quickly. Let’s get to cooking and making so healthy food!

Cooking With Sensei – Grilled Shrimp Tacos



  • 1 lbs. cleaned large shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • juice from half lime

Cabbage Slaw:

  • 1 cup of shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup of shredded purple cabbage
  • 1/4 cup of shredded carrots
  • Sliced Avocados for garnish
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas



  1. Either fire up the grill or a pan on the stove top to cook shrimp.
  2. Combine the shrimp, olive oil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and mix in a bowl.

Yogurt Slaw:

  1. In a mini food processor combined the yogurt, honey, garlic, salt, pepper, cilantro, apple cider vinegar, and lime juice then mix until smooth.  
  2. Mix the green and purple shredded cabbage with the carrots.
  3. Add yogurt sauce one spoon at a time until desired consistency is reached and it’s mixed well. Save extra sauce to pour over tacos later.
  4. Assemble tacos and enjoy.

Sensei’s Tip of the Day

Lower your carb intake by cutting off 1/4 inch around the edge of tortillas, using a pizza cutter to get a nice circular line.

Motivational Quote

Eat healthy long enough and you’ll begin to think it’s just the way it is.

Check me out on on IG at @tsmmaglendale  | @chris_iavarone and make sure to tag your healthy meal photos with #My90Day