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Monthly Archives

January 2014

12 Year Old TSMMA Stamford Student Excels In Grappling And MMA

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Stamford School Too Enticing To Pass Up

Billy Griffin was five years old. That’s when he first began to train at TSMMA Stamford. The school was right across the street from his house and at Billy’s urging his parents signed him up. Nearly six years later and it’s been a life changing decision.

This past weekend it took him up Interstate 95, off 295 to Route 146 in Rhode Island. Billy’s trip wasn’t an unusual one, in fact it happens most every weekend. This time it was NAGA New England and the Griffin’s couldn’t have been happier at the outcome. 11 year old Billy won the Advanced division for 11 & 12 year olds. Not that Billy was worried about taking on kids older than he is.

That’s because the Griffin’s have taken Billy around the Northeast to the tune of 50,000 miles in the last year, helping him compete in competitions like NAGA, Grappler’s Quest and Tiger Schulmann’s in house tournament, The Challenge of Champions.

Griffin and Joshu Petrello with Billy’s Championship Belt from NAGA New England.

Stamford Boy Competes In Every Aspect of MMA

The discipline it takes for Billy’s parents is made easier by the changes they’ve seen in their son outside of the school. Billy has taken the teachings of Sensei Demetrius and Joshu Petrello and well beyond the mat he trains on.

“Billy has more confidence and discipline. He does well in school,” says his mom Denise. “It was probably one of the best decisions we made when we walked into that school.”

She says Billy looks up to Sensei and Joshu as mentors. They have helped teach him the most important thing a kid can learn.

Griffin looks up to his instructors, who helped him take home trophies in Kickboxing and Grappling at Decembers Challenge of Champions.

 “Billy competes a lot. He doesn’t always win but he has that non-quitting spirit so it just pushes him to do better next time.”

Stamford Martial Arts School Becomes Second Home For Griffin

Griffin will always be a special student for Sensei Nick Demetrius. A Martial Arts Instructor can only ever have one student who is their first to go all the way from white belt to Black. That’s the distinction Griffin holds for Demetrius.

“He reminds me a lot of myself as a young student. All he wants to do is train,” says Demetrius. “He travels all over the organization, training at other schools and at headquarters to get better. You can see the effects of his hard work.”

Just like his Sensei, Griffin is competing in every aspect of Mixed Martial Arts.

 Denise Griffin says this is what her son wants to do. She expects to be a part of Tiger Schulmann’s Stamford for years to come.

“We love the school. We consider them our family!”

By: Sensei Thad Campbell

Son Following Elmwood Park Instructor’s Footsteps

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Martial Arts Family Turns To Wrestling

Anyone who knows Sensei Dave Tirelli knows his son DJ was going to be a warrior. The genes passed down from father to son guaranteed it. Combine that with his father’s Hall of Fame credentials in Martial Arts and the younger Tirelli’s recent success is no surprise.

DJ Tirelli represents his River Dell wrestling team as a Captain.

 Wrestling may in fact be the earliest form of Martial Arts. It’s origin can be traced to cave drawings dating back 15,000 years and was the centerpiece of the Ancient Olympic Games. Passengers on the Mayflower were excited to show their sport when they landed, it surprised them to learn it was already popular among Native American cultures. It was a sport that helped bond the two groups.

Wrestling Brings Father And Son Together

The two Tirelli’s are just the latest in a long line of father’s and son’s bonded through the wrestling. Tirelli has been training in Martial Arts with his father since before he could walk. As he entered high school four years ago his focus switched to wrestling from the Kickboxing and Grappling his father teaches TSMMA Elmwood Park students every day.

Younger Tirelli Makes Speech after receiving Outstanding Wrestler Award.

 This year DJ’s effort has started to pay off. At the inaugural Garden State Duals, Tirelli put his name on the map. He knocked off two of the top wrestlers in the state in a single day and took home the award for outstanding wrestler. One of his opponents finished third in the New Jersey state wrestling finals last year, a tournament many in wrestling consider the best in the country.

The elder Tirelli went out on top, winning his final MMA fight over a future Ultimate Fighter Finalist.

 The elder Tirelli couldn’t be prouder of his son. He gets help from many of the fellow instructors at Tiger Schulmann’s so he can get to DJ’s wrestling meets in the winter. This week was a tough one for both as DJ wrestled the #1 ranked wrestler in the state, Anthony Giraldi of North Bergen.

“DJ wasn’t himself tonight. He didn’t wrestle the way he’s capable of,” said dad.

Elmwood Park Martial Arts Intructor Proud Of His Son

That didn’t stop the elder Tirelli from oozing pride in his son’s accomplishments. In fact the two are set to make a trip to Massachusetts this week to check out two more of the colleges hoping the younger will compete for them next year.

“I’m excited. We are going to Bridgewater and Springfield. I went to school in Boston and can’t wait to get back up there.”

The younger Tirelli still has some unfinished business. One loss to the highest ranked wrestler in the state won’t deter Tirelli. He will call back on the Martial Arts he has been training in since he was three and draw on his Self-Discipline.

Dad watches all of DJ’s wrestling matches with pride!

 “He’s heard ‘non-quitting spirit’ a few thousand times in his life. It’s something we believe in Martial Arts and it’s something I know he has. He’s already proven it throughout his wrestling career.”

Non-quitting spirit is the foundation Tiger Schulmann’s was built on. Sensei Tirelli has been training with Tiger Schulmann for nearly 30 years. He was a trailblazer for the organization, competing in Mixed Martial Arts fights long before they became popular.

“He helped our organization learn what our curriculum needed to be,” says Tiger Schulmann of the older Tirelli. “His courage to go compete in a relatively new sport helped us understand exactly what works and what doesn’t work. His efforts were incredibly important for what TSMMA has become today.”

Tirelli had setbacks in his own fighting career, but went out at the very top of his game with a victory over a future UFC fighter. His biggest hope is that his son will do the same. With the genetics he’s drawing from there is little doubt DJ will find a way to succeed.

 By: Sensei Thad Campbell – TSMMA Elmwood Park

 

Hamilton Realizes Life Long Dream With Championship Belt

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Brooklyn Kid Fulfills Dreams In Manhattan

Will Hamilton didn’t waste any time getting in to the competitive side of Martial Arts. Shortly after joining Tiger Schulmann’s in Rego Park, Will Hamilton’s instructor invited him to enter The Challenge of Champions. The C.O.C. has been a proving ground for all of the members of the Tiger Schulmann’s fight team and Hamilton competed in one only six months after beginning his training.

The Challenge of Champions is a great opportunity for students to get over the stress and anxiety of competing. Brackets are separated by Belt, Weight and age groups, so the competition is extremely fair. For Hamilton it let him get his feet wet.

Will Hamilton was a Black Belt when he got his first taste of victory at The Challenge of Champions.

Will Hamilton was a Black Belt when he got his first taste of victory at The Challenge of Champions.

Ironically many of the elite fighters on team Tiger Schulmann didn’t excel in the lower belt divisions of the Challenge of Champions. It was their perseverance that truly paid dividends as they began to excel at the Black Belt level and into competitions outside of TIger Schulmann’s in house tournament.

Will Hamilton was no different. His first memory of winning at the tournament was not until he was a Black Belt. He earned his First Degree in 1999, passing a test that was the toughest in the country. He was required to demonstrate perfect technique on every aspect of TSMMA’s curriculum before competing in ten consecutive 1 minute battles, each against a fresh new Black Belt.

Hamilton had his hand raised every time he competed in Kickboxing.

Hamilton had his hand raised every time he competed in Kickboxing.

To this day Hamilton doesn’t forget the gauntlet he survived and credits that one moment with giving him incredible confidence. He took it with him into the Black Belt Division of the C.O.C. where he took home first place in sparring. The Black Belt division is a proving ground for future fight team members and it would put eyes on Hamilton’s future.

That future would have to wait a bit though as Hamilton joined the NYPD in early 2000. He would spend half the year in the police academy before officially getting his posting in December. Soon after he asked Tiger Schulmann if he could train with the fight team. It was a question that would lead Hamilton to fulfilling a dream.

“Three things stood out to me right from the start,” says Tiger Schulmann. “Will had uncommon desire to learn. He would focus on things to the point of perfection. He just wanted to do everything right. He also wouldn’t let anyone outwork him. His willingness to work hard motivated every other person in class, he had that innate ability to inspire everyone through his own hard work. Finally, he had unusual power. We would train guys hard to get ready for fights. Hamilton’s power was undeniable. Our best guys had to be wary training against him.”

Hamilton won a fight with Derrick Riddick to earn his shot at the US title. He won the fight with a rare body kick knockout.

Hamilton won a hard fought battle with Derrick Riddick to earn his shot at the US title.

Hamilton would display that power throughout his career. It started on Long Island where Hamilton first got a chance to Kickbox in Lou Neglia’s early amateur events. Hamilton’s success would grow along with Neglia’s promotion. The fights originally held in a small gym in Minneola moved to Bowery Street in Manhattan a couple years later. In between Hamilton honed his reputation as the most feared power puncher in Kickboxing as he steamrolled opponents.

While he truly shined in Kickboxing, he also pushed his limits, competing in the prestigious New York City Golden Gloves tournament where he reached the semifinals in 2002 and the quarter finals in 2003.

He also took part in the International Police and Firefighter games Boxing tournament, taking home a first place trophy.

Wearing headgear didn't help Hamilton's opponents at the Police and Firefighter games.

Wearing headgear didn’t help Hamilton’s opponents at the Police and Firefighter games.

All this experience led him to June of 2006. It was a Friday night in Manhattan where Hamilton got the chance of a lifetime. His success in Kickboxing earned him a shot at the WKA Super Light Heavyweight Muay Thai Championship. Hamilton had dreamed of putting a belt around his waist since he was a kid. Finally he had the chance to earn that right.

Steven Richards would put Hamilton to the test. His opponent was trained by Extreme Lacosta. There was plenty of history between the two camps from many previous fights on the local Kickboxing circuit. Hamilton only heard about this the night of the fight, but didn’t let it distract him from his goal.

Richards proved enough of a test without adding extra pressure. Hamilton had spent countless hours preparing for the fight in training, but also prepared mentally. He took the time to write down a plan for himself, visualizing and then spelling out exactly how the fight would go down.  The mental preparation came in handy because what he got from his opponent was not what film study had showed him.

“He was a lot better in the ring than I expected. I had seen some tape and I didn’t take him lightly, but he was definitely far better in person.”

The turning point would come late in the second round. Hamilton had been setting it up all night and finally he caught Stevens with a straight right to the jaw. Stevens hit the ropes before collapsing to the canvas. Richards somehow managed to stagger to his feet before the bell rang and the referee may have given him a little more leeway to continue because of the title on the line. Hamilton did what he was trained to do, maneuvering Richards into a corner and unloading until the bell ended the round. Richards hadn’t really recovered from the knockdown and after the further punishment his cornerman was forced to carry him back to his own corner.

Hamilton's fighting career all came together with one punch.

Hamilton’s fighting career all came together with one punch.

The Doctor stepped in to the ring to check on Stevens, effectively ending the fight and saving Stevens from further punishment. It was clear from the way he stumbled before his cornerman grabbed him that he wasn’t going to recover any time soon, let alone in the one minute break between rounds.

The smile never left Hamilton’s face as he stood with Tiger Schulmann putting the belt around his waist, nor later as he took pictures with the hundreds of TSMMA fans who stuffed The Capitale ballroom to cheer him on.

Hamilton fulfilled a life long dream with his championship victory.

Hamilton fulfilled a life long dream with his championship victory.

That’s not really a surprise though as the smile never leaves Hamilton’s face. He took it with him into a new arena as he wasn’t content to be a champion in Kickboxing. He stepped in to the MMA cage in 2007, matched up with a former Division 1 All-American wrestler.

Geurin talked about the fight four years later when he gave an interview saying how tough it was to take the first three punches from Hamilton. He was thankful his wrestling kicked in and he was able to avoid the same fate in the second and third round. Hamilton couldn’t get back to his feet once Geurin got him down and lost the fight in a decision.

Undaunted, he turned that into further motivation. For the last five years he’s competed in countless grappling tournaments, perfecting his ground game. He’s brought home first place in the advanced division of NAGA three separate times.

Hamilton has taken home multiple titles in grappling, taking what was once a weakness and turning it into a strength.

Hamilton has taken home multiple titles in grappling, taking what was once a weakness and turning it into a strength.

 Hamilton now approaches his 40th birthday with the same relentless approach he took in his fighting career, only now his competitions take place in different arenas. It is as the father of three kids, one with autism, executive director of physical training and tactics at the New York City Police Academy and finally as coach for Team Tiger Schulmann where Hamilton fights his battles.

There is no more belt on the line for him. Only the lives of his family members, fellow police officers and young students. In many ways that fight is even more important to Hamilton as he brings the same focus and determination to each area of his life he brought to The Capitale on his championship night, June 23rd, 2006.

 Stay tuned for Part 4 next week.

 By: Sensei Thad Campbell

 

Team TSMMA Seeks To Continue Dominance at Ring of Combat 47

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Following Footsteps of Greats

The best fighters in the history of Team Tiger Schulmann all cut their teeth at Ring of Combat. Trailblazers like Dave Tirelli, Elvis Garcia and Nissim Levy were around for the single digit versions, as was Lyman Good who spring boarded to a  welterweight world title.

Jimmie Rivera, Nick Pace and Louis Gaudinot all took their Ring of Combat experience to the biggest stage, fighting in the UFC.

Friday the 24th of January it was time for the next generation of fighters to stake their claim to Ring of Combat glory.

Stephen Regman vs. Jonathan Hughes

The first matchup for Tiger Schulmann’s pitted two guys looking for their first win. Both lost their debut as professionals with Stephen Regman’s coming in a close split decision. He wouldn’t let the judges decide this fight.

regman

Regman is known for his incredible punching power, something he displayed in a successful amateur career in both MMA and Kickboxing. Apparently Hughes got the message as he quickly looked to take Regman to the ground. This has been the one area that has challenged Regman, who has spent countless hours bringing his ground game up to speed with his standup.  That work paid off.

Hughes was able to control Regman on the ground for a while, but eventually the Tiger Schulmann’s fighter was able to reverse Hughes and unleash a torrent of ground and pound. Regman continued to strike until the final bell appeared to save Hughes.

The one minute break wasn’t enough for him to recover though as Hughes failed to answer the bell for Round 2.

Regman gets into the win column with a TKO victory at 4:00 of Round 1.

Jose Villanueva vs. Leodegario Muniz

Jose Villanueva’s been on a streak of a different kind. He’s had four straight scheduled fights that never saw the opening bell for one reason or another. Tonight he would get his chance to knock off four and half years of ring rust.

‘El General’ showed no ill effects from the layoff in the first round as he showed the control that earned him his nickname. Villanueva’s blend of wrestling and striking was simply too much for Muniz to handle as Villanueva did what he’s done to nearly every opponent he ever faced.

Muniz came out in the second round needing a miracle comeback. Unfortunately for Villanueva that’s exactly what he got. Muniz attempted a flying knee as Villanueva came forward for the takedown. The combined impact left Villanueva unable to defend himself and the ref stepped in to stop the fight.

It was a tough loss for the always game Villanueva. Hope to see him back in the cage before another four years passes.

Julio Arce vs. Jason MacLean

Finally it was a Bantamweight Title bout between Julio Arce and Jason MacLean. There was more than a little history in this matchup as MacLean is the person responsible for the only loss on the record of Arce’s teammate Jimmie Rivera. MacLean’s trainers, Sean Santella and Jim ‘B-52’ Smith, both have multiple fights themselves against TSMMA fighters.

julio

Arce didn’t need that motivation to help him though. His Self-Discipline is unquestioned among his teammates and the hard work Arce has put in to earning the title shot was more than enough to push him to his best.

That’s exactly what MacLean got from Arce. Right from the start MacLean struggled to find the taller Arce, who’s movement was impeccable. He continually used lateral movement to avoid the hard charging MacLean early in the fight. He was able to control distance beautifully with his jab. Something he used through the fight.

As the first round wore on so did Arce. He landed a beautiful push kick with two minutes left in the round. It led to a flurry of punches that landed on the face of Maclean.

The shorter opponent tried to use a low kick to get back in the fight but Arce caught the kick and landed a hard straight left hand that stunned MacLean.

Another kick led to a takedown as Arce finished the round on top of MacLean landing ground and pound for the better part of the last minute.

MacLean tried to change things up early in Round 2, pushing Arce to the cage. The TSMMA Bayside Instructor was able to secure a plum clinch off the cage, a phenomenal display of strength, and MacLean abandoned the position.

It was back to a Kickboxing display as Arce spent the rest of the round peppering with jabs before finishing Round 2 with a beautiful step knee kick that landed flush.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Arce started Round 3 with a flying knee that landed before going right back to his Kickboxing. He began using feints that had MacLean reacting to punches that never came before being hit with punches he didn’t see coming.

All credit to Jason MacLean who never stopped trying to get the win, even throwing a vicious spinning back fist in the last minute of the fight. The attempt missed, which was the story of the fight. He simply couldn’t find Arce nearly enough to win.

The three judges all scored in favor of Arce although it is a mystery how one of the three scored one round for MacLean. Not sure if there was something extra in his water bottle.

An amazing display by Arce and one that leaves his fans excited for the future.

Another great night by Team TSMMA at Ring of Combat as all three fighters displayed amazing skill. A tough loss for Villanueva, but a great win for Regman and more dominance from the young Julio Arce.

It will be exciting to see all three back in action in the cage soon.

 Article By: Sensei Thad Campbell

Below Photo Gallery Below by Jersey Strong MMA

Shihan Gary Hellman Featured on WFLA Daytime News – Video

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WFLA News Channel 8

Gary Hellman is a leading expert in the field of mixed martial arts with over 26 years of experience teaching men, women, and children of all ages. He is the 3rd highest ranking instructor in the country, and is the owner of Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts center here in Tampa.

Shihan Gary Hellman started his training in a basement dojo in Spring Valley NY where he met his soon to be lifelong instructor Danny Schulmann. When they were kids, the two of them once showed off there skills in front of the world famous Mas Oyoma. This is where Hellman learned one of his first lessons from “Tiger”, a spinning foot sweep which took him down. Ever since that day, until he moved to Florida 17 years later, he trained and studied directly under the Master himself and his brother Shihan Ron Schulmann. Shihan Hellman was privileged to bring the Tiger Schulmann method to the sunshine state in 1997.

He has trained thousands of students, hundreds of instructors, and just as many competitors at every level. This includes professional and amateur fighters, as well as several world champions. Hellman has written a bestselling children’s book, “The Karate Way”, published by Random House children’s books. As well as writing and illustrating his own book, Shihan Hellman designed the Tiger Schulmann’s logo which has been associated with excellence in martial arts for many years, and reportedly has been quite the popular tattoo.

WFLA News Channel 8

 

Executive Officer of Physical Training and Tactics For NYPD Found Confidence at Tiger Schulmann’s

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Part 2 of 4 Part Series on Sensei Will Hamilton

Life was supposed to be perfect for Will Hamilton in the winter of 1995. It was a  New Year. He had recently graduated from Katherine Gibbs School of Business and every day he traveled in to Manhattan for a great entry level position at the prestigious Marriott Marquis on Broadway.

Still he couldn’t get over the feeling that something was missing.

He grew up in East New York the oldest of four siblings. After his father and mother separated, he would often be left in charge of his brother and two sisters. That sense of responsibility might have been one reason Hamilton didn’t feel quite right.

With a new Business Degree Hamilton's future in 1995 looked like it would involve a Suit. It turned out he felt more at home in a Tiger Schulmann's uniform.

With a new Business Degree Hamilton’s future in 1995 looked like it would involve a Suit. It turned out he felt more at home in a Tiger Schulmann’s uniform.

 He was the father of a young daughter and didn’t want her to grow up to see what his mother had. During his parents separation, Hamilton had spent much of his childhood watching his mother in a doomed relationship. The man she was dating would often turn to alcohol and violence. It was not a good time when he was intoxicated.

“At the time I felt helpless. I felt like if I was stronger and smarter things would have been different.”

Hamilton was working at the Marriott when he saw a series of commercials for Tiger Schulmann’s Karate on television. He had always wanted to get involved with Martial Arts, having dreamed of winning championships the way he had seen on Television growing up.

Hamilton took home first place in the Black Belt Division of the Challenge of Champions, launching a successful competitive career.

Hamilton took home first place in the Black Belt Division of the Challenge of Champions, launching a successful competitive career.

 After the third time he watched the commercial he trekked from his Jamaica, Queens apartment over to Rego Park to try an introductory class.

“I felt like a hundred bucks. The discipline, how it was structured, the way I felt after the class was over. I felt stronger, it was everything i was looking for.”

It was January of 1995 and Hamilton made the first of many life changing decisions. He joined Tiger Schulmann’s and embarked on a journey that hasn’t slowed down for 19 years.

He began by taking classes three days a week, but couldn’t get away from the feeling of confidence class was giving him. Quickly he became a fixture at the school, training nearly every single day.

“I loved the feeling, the after effect after I left that class. All my life I felt a little helpless and after I left that class I felt confident and felt I could handle myself.”

Taken by the discipline of his Tiger Schulmann’s classes, Hamilton looked for more. He joined the Army in 1996. He had to take a brief hiatus from his training during boot camp in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, but he returned to Tiger Schulmann’s as well as his job at the Marriot after returning to New York City.

He would train constantly for the next few years, competing in Tiger Schulmann’s in house tournament, the Challenge of Champions, and competing against himself each and every time he trained.

Hamilton found direction for his life while earning a Black Belt at Tiger Schulmann's.

Hamilton found direction for his life while earning a Black Belt at Tiger Schulmann’s.

 “Class taught me never to give up. My instructor would give me challenges I didn’t think I could do and then he would help me do it. I learned you can do anything if you set your mind to it.”

It was 1999 when Hamilton achieved his first major goal with Tiger Schulmann’s.

It was then Hamilton’s instructor would invite him to test for his Black Belt. Like many of the challenges he faced in his training, he passed with flying colors. What he won’t ever forget is the final hurdle to his belt.

“You had to fight ten different Black Belts before you finally passed the test. Knowing I had accomplished that, it gave me amazing Confidence.”

Four years into his training and Hamilton had just started on his journey.

 By: Sensei Thad Campbell

Stay tuned for part 3 of this 4 part series on Sensei Will Hamilton

Mother & Daughter Find Happiness Training at Tiger Schulmann’s

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Brooklyn MMA Gives Woman Courage

We cannot change our past. Our Sensei has changed our future. My daddy was the first bully who ever hit me. My ex-husband was the last. I was a victim of physical abuse and domestic violence.

I didn’t want the girls I love to ever be scared of men like I used to be. My older daughter was overweight. My younger daughter became a bully herself. Something had to be done.

 

Brandi Hoffman had no idea the benefits she and her daughter would see inside TSMMA Midwood.

 With the intention of bringing them and my nieces for some fitness classes along with anti-bullying discipline mixed in, I joined Tiger Schulmann’s just weeks after Hurricane Sandy flooded our home. I only expected we would exercise together and let off some steam. What my family received instead has been life changing.”

Strength From MMA Leads To Life Changes

In the best sense of the word, I am a quitter. After 25+ years of smoking, I finally put out my last cigarette.

Goals have always been for “other” people. Being a full time working single parent of teenagers is stressful and many years have passed me by without a thought to my own physical or mental health.

Not anymore. In the year since training with Sensei Nolan at the new Midwood location, we have all been affected in profound, but different ways.

Brandi (left) and her daughter Amber have both seen life changing benefits from Tiger Schulmann’s MMA in Midwood, Brooklyn.

 

Being promoted is just the “atta girl” we never thought we’d strive for, but now work very hard to achieve. For me, being on the mat is exactly what I need at times when everything around me seems overwhelming. As hard as it was to learn to empty my cup before each class, I now look forward to the release.”

Learning MMA Not Only Benefit For Brooklyn Family

“The benefits we’ve discovered are not just self-defense, weight loss or letting our aggression out on a bag. Although these are great reasons to train, they go beyond that for me.

I have gone to the ‘gym’ without any feelings of loyalty or accomplishment. I found that at Tiger Schulmann’s because it is not a gym, it is a school, I am a student again!

I am learning a new language, new moves that improve my body, new ways to improve my mood, even reasons to do the food shopping differently. I am doing this alongside the most important young ladies in my life.

My daughter recently made a post on Facebook that she “wants to thank Tiger Schulmann’s for helping me overcome what has been bothering me my whole life, I was never comfortable with my lifestyle and the way I looked.

Amber was over 200 pounds when she started, now she’s proud of her body!

My girls and I are training to become victors, not victims. Thanks to Sensei Nolan at Tiger Schulmann’s MMA Midwood for showing me the best way to teach my girls that strength is important to both our bodies and our minds. As women, we have learned we can overcome anything if we just give a few hours a week to being on the mat. I was never so motivated to change my family tree and will never forget or regret our first trial class 12 months ago.”

Osu!

Brandi Hoffman – TSMMA Midwood

The Light at the End of the Tunnel: A Paramus Teenager’s Story of Success Through Self Defense Training

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The Light at the End of the Tunnel: A Paramus Teenager’s Story of Success Through Self Defense Training

Written by Paramus Mixed Martial Arts Student, 16

My Story

The year 2012 was the hardest year of my life, and without Tiger Schulmann’s I can honestly admit I would not have survived it.

After being attacked on the street and sexually assaulted I became introverted and terrified of the world around me. I told no one about what had happened and I didn’t get help until it was almost too late. After three suicide attempts in October 2012, I came out of a hospital thinking things needed to change before I got worse.

So, in search of stress relief and exercise, which I thought would help me to get my aggression out, I joined a gym. Not only did it cost a lot of money, but I rarely went. There was no personalized program, no kind of guidance. So I quit, which not only disappointed my parents but made me feel even worse about myself.

After a month of surmounting depression, and self harming on daily basis as well as starving myself to get skinny, I hit my second lowest point. I cut myself so badly I needed stitches in my leg and I passed out after losing a lot of blood. When I woke up the next morning I realized I needed to do something different because the gym wasn’t enough. In school the next day the nurse noticed me limping and I told her everything. She told me that I needed something with structure, something that I won’t give up on.
“Have you ever thought about kickboxing?”

I laughed nervously. That stuff is for people who have much more nerve than someone like me.

Paramus Kickboxing

I went home that night and told my mom, almost jokingly, what the school nurse had said to me about Kickboxing. To my surprise, she made a call the next day and told me we were going to check out a kickboxing class at a martial arts school in Paramus. It was the first week of January 2013 and Tiger Schulmann’s had entered my life.

The first week, I felt something I had really never felt before: at home. I remember my first class I was told to kick and I had to be convinced to lift up my leg! I was afraid to let my feet leave the ground. What if I fell? What if everyone looked and laughed?
But Joshu Murray was patient with me, another thing I had never really had before.
I felt amazing finally hitting back. I saw the face of my attacker, the bullies at school, the friends I had lost, myself at times. But now I could take it out somewhere else. I didn’t need self harm anymore. As long as I went there most days I was happy. Truly, without exceptions, happy.

photo (48)

Close Range Self Defense: Facing My Greatest Fear

As time went on, I began staying after class or coming in early to watch the Close Range Self Defense classes. Although it looked intriguing, it TERRIFIED me. This was exactly what I had been so scared of: being that close in contact to another human being ever again. I had a big problem with being touched but I decided I needed to change that too.

After a few months of Beginner Kickboxing I asked Joshu Murray if I could try out the Close Range Self Defense class. He was surprised but of course welcomed me into the class. I was afraid to do most of the exercises at first. But once again, this was handled with patience and time. The first time I rolled someone over onto their back, I apologized relentlessly. I didn’t want to hurt anyone, but then I realized this is yin and yang. My classmates and I were there to help each other learn to defend ourselves and prevent each other from ever being hurt. Then, I became lost in the movement and much less worried about being so close to someone – instead I became more focused on the technique of the exercise. As I became more in tune with my body, I felt an attachment to it. And self harm along with self starvation was unfair to my body. How could I hurt something so willing to help me? Close range self defense brought in a new element of self discovery.

self defense grappling tsmma

The Difference

I began coming to class five times a week to either one or two classes a night once the Summer rolled around. I kick, I punch, I hit hard, and I don’t mind getting flipped on my back! I take the Intermediate/Advanced Kickboxing class now, too, and I love it. I’m not afraid to be attacked on the street again because quite frankly, I would hurt an attacker more than they could ever hurt me. For the first time in years, I have felt really truly safe. And it is because at Tiger Schulmann’s, this is not just a class. It is not just kicking and punching or grappling. It is self discipline, self defense, and honest caring of one another. It has completely changed me as a person.

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Why Would I Recommend Paramus Mixed Martial Arts?

If there is anyone that feels like they have gone through it all, tried everything, and failed too many times to succeed- this is the right place for you. They don’t LET you give up. They call when you don’t show for class, they know when you’re having a rough time and ask how you are, they tell you what to work on and help you stay on track with your goals. These are the greatest people in my life and I recommend their program to everyone that needs to lose weight, gain confidence, relieve stress, learn self defense and so much more.

A year ago I never would have thought I’d be able to share my story, let alone write it and tell people “look how far I’ve come.”
I couldn’t have gotten here without Joshu’s Murray and Neilson at Tiger Schulmann’s in Paramus because they showed me I had that nerve all along.

NYPD Sergeant Promoted to Third Degree Senior Instructor by Tiger Schulmann

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Part 1 of 4 in a Series on Sensei Will Hamilton

Will Hamilton is a man who gives other men Confidence. It’s a special attribute and one I can attest to myself. It’s a rare person who can give you something you don’t know you’re getting without you realizing you’re getting it.

It’s that leadership that has led Hamilton from being a New York City Police Officer walking a beat to a NYPD Sergeant leading recruits through arrest and close combat tactics that help keep city Police Officers alive every day!

A National Police and Firefighter Games Boxing Championship Belt resides in Hamilton's Trophy Case.

A National Police and Firefighter Games Boxing Championship Belt resides in Hamilton’s Trophy Case.

My exposure to Hamilton came much earlier than that. He was still walking a beat in Brownsville when I first trained with him in 2003.

It was 2006 when I really got a true look into the man he is. I had been training with TSMMA’s successful fight team for three years, but I was still the proverbial left “out” fielder.

I had asked Shihan Tiger Schulmann if I could get a chance to go in the ring. I’ll never forget his response, “stick to broadcasting, you’re really good at it.”

I know Shihan said it to motivate me, and it did just that. The fight was scheduled and I began training four days a week at our headquarters. My main sparring partner for the two months before my fight? Sensei Will Hamilton.

It began painfully. I was in awe of Hamilton. I had called his fight a few months earlier at The Capitale in New York City where he earned the US Muay Thai Title with a vicious one punch knockout. His opponent Steven Richards, was so stunned, his coach literally had to carry him to back to the corner.

Will Hamilton won US Muay Thai Super Light Heavyweight Title with one punch knockout of Steven Richards.

Will Hamilton won US Muay Thai Super Light Heavyweight Title with one punch knockout of Steven Richards.

 Now I had to step on the mat with him for two or three rounds of sparring each day of training. All I can say is thank God for big gloves and head gear.

Something funny happened over the next few weeks though. The punches started to hurt less and little by little I began to hit back. I’ll never forget the day two weeks before my fight. We finished our last round of the day and Hamilton patted me on the head gear.

“Thad, your right hand is no joke. No one hits me with a right hand and you got me good today!”

I spent the two hour drive back to my school in Feasterville on Cloud 9. I had just gone toe to toe with a US Muay Thai Champion and earned his respect. If I could hang with him what chance did my opponent have in his first ever amateur bout.

I won that bout, largely because of the Confidence I gained in my training camp.  I went in knowing I could hang with Will Hamilton, what was Zack Hudgions going to do to me.

His own fighting career completed successfully, Hamilton now spends almost every weekend leading his own Tiger Schulmann's Fight Team students to the same success in the ring.

His own fighting career completed successfully, Hamilton now spends almost every weekend leading his own Tiger Schulmann’s Fight Team students to the same success in the ring.

Hamilton was in the crowd that night, one of the first to congratulate me after my performance. I would continue to train with him constantly as my career shot all the way to the ranks of the New Jersey Tigers of the World Combat League.

It wasn’t until a few years later I realized I had had no business even sparring with Will Hamilton. I don’t know the exact moment, but I can remember laughing out loud at my own stupidity. This amazing leader of men had run a game on me so perfectly I didn’t even realize I was playing.

Stay tuned for Part II of this four part series coming soon.