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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

Tiger Schulmann's Martial Arts | Mike Trizano Promotion

Joshu Mike Trizano Promoted To Sensei

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Congratulations to Mike Trizano for earning his promotion to Sensei! 

Mike’s StartMike’s Start

Mike “The Lone Wolf” Trizano started his training with Tiger Schulmann’s in Summer of 2009. At 17, he always a decent athlete who loved football and baseball, but his Dad said he didn’t have faith in his discipline and reluctantly signed him up. At first, his father didn’t want to pay; he was convinced Mike would quit in 3 months. Fueled by his father’s doubts and motivated by the team around him. Mike’s natural raw talent and newly designed training began to catch the eyes of Sensei Shawn Rapoport.

Mike’s Love For Fighting

Mike was encouraged by Sensei Rapoport to begin teaching  around 2011. His schedule was part time because he was going to college. After a few semesters the two sat down together and he said he spoke to his parents and they earned their support to focus on his career in the MMA on one condition, his promise to push himself to  “go all the way”!  Started fighting in summer of 2012. There was never had to worry about his conditioning or weight, he always was ate right, kept to his program and would training on his own until he was the last one in the gym.

Mike’s Start

The Lone Wolf’s Success In The Ring

In 2014, Earned his black belt and became head instructor in Nanuet, and since 2015 has been the head instructor in Paramus while pursuing a professional fighting career.  As a professional, Mike has an undefeated record in UFC, and was recently crowned the lightweight champion of The Ultimate Fighter 27.

Tiger Schulmann's Martial Arts | Men Group Photo

Nissim Levy & Lyman Good Promoted To 3rd-Degree Sensei

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Congratulations to Sensei Levy & Good on earning their promotion! 

Nissim Levy and Lyman Good posing with Shihan ShulmannnThe Story of Nissam

Nissim Levy was a kid on the wrong path. He would get into fights at school, small trouble in the neighborhood  and his future wasn’t looking good. His reputation preceded him. He was a tough kid, but a good kid; everyone who knew him loved him. When he came into the gym for the first time, it was clear that he was a natural. He listened, he learned and most importantly he brought his own method for things, but they worked for him.

After a few years of training, Nissim made a decision to enter the Daily News Golden Gloves with little to no experience in boxing. It was his first major amateur fight and he made it all the way to the finals under the lights in Madison Square Garden losing a very close decision and finishing with the Silver Gloves.

Lyman Good recieving his 3rd degree sensei promotion

Lyman’s Story

Lyman Good joined Tiger Schulmann’s the same year Nissim did. He was a 19 year old skinny kid who walked in the first day to a trial class that his Mom bought him for his birthday. Coincidentally he was paired up with Nissim and the two became fast friends. Through Nissim’s training and Lyman’s hard work it was only a matter of time before Lyman ascending from student to helper to instructor. He was strongly built, a natural fighter; disciplined, strong and tough.

Lyman won his first few professional MMA fights and then entered the Bellator world championship tournament and became the first Bellator Welterweight World Champion. Today Lyman continues to grow as a teacher and as a fighter. He continues to pursue his dream of becoming a UFC Champion

Lyman and Nissim Together

Lyman and Nissim are the ‘watchdogs’ of the Manhattan school. There are plenty of stories from their humble beginnings training together to their amazing accomplishments both on the mat and inside the ring. They are loyal to a fault; and have turned from young teenagers to strong, respectful honorable men. Congratulations

Tiger Schulmann's Martial Arts | Men Standing Group Photo

Matt Castillo Earns Sensei Promotion

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Congratulations to Matt Castillo on his promotion to Sensei! 

Sensei’s Beginning

Matt is a great example of growth within the Tiger Schulmann’s family. He originally came in to spar on weekends,  with little boxing experience and quickly saw that TSMA was a perfect fit for him. 

At one point he in his life he was dealing with a lot of  adversity, both personally and with his family. He felt he should be farther along in his  career path as for someone his age. He continued his training but left to work in automotive finance, but quickly saw what working in a different environment was like and realized TSMA was his calling so he came back  and threw himself into it 100%.

Sensei Matt Castillo receiving promotion from Tiger Schulmann at Tiger Schulmann's Bayside location.

The Path To Sensei

Matt is extremely personable and well liked throughout the organization. We all know Matt to be a tough and talented martial artist. Throughout his journey from student to school owner he always kept up with his training, despite many injuries. He served as one of Lyman’s partners helping him get ready for his fights and his test for black belt was long and difficult but he rose to the occasion.

Matt has created an amazing environment in his school. The school is disciplined, professional, well organized and above all like a family. His students rave about him. He has begun to turn out some very dedicated and talented students who he is mentoring to be instructors and competitors. His school has been very successful in the COC placing in his schools division in the team competition in the last tournament and producing a winner in the last 90 day challenge.

Taking Over Huntington

When he first took over our Huntington school it was quite a struggle and there were times when he was doubtful and worried about the future, believe me we had many long conversations about the path he was on, but he never let those negative thoughts hold him back.  Matt epitomizes the non quitting spirit and provides an excellent example for us all of what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication.

A sensei is a teacher, role model, mentor, guru and leader by example. Matt is all of those things and more. He truly deserves the title.  

Tiger Schulmann's Martial Arts | Woman Punching

Fight Like a Girl – A Short Film by Jillian Rivera

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“Fight Like a Girl” is a short 5-minute documentary about how several women in the organization use martial arts as a form of empowerment and as an escape from sexual assault.

These women include Sensei Munah Holland (TSMA North Plainfield), Nicole Tuminski (TSMA Englewood), Naima El Jaouhari (TSMA Chelsea), Lauren Fish (TSMA New Windsor), Sophia Mirabella (TSMA Chelsea), Kim Ansaldo (TSMA Chelsea), Danielle Harrington (TSMA Princeton), and the director herself, Jillian “Grizzly” Rivera (TSMA Yonkers).

In the film, the women discuss why they chose martial arts, and how it has helped them in life. They disclose personal experiences with sexual assault and abuse, and how they encourage women everywhere to take action and stand up for themselves with martial arts.

A little foreward from the Director, Jillian Rivera

I chose to make this film because as I am getting older and becoming more aware of the world, I am noticing that how no matter how much you hope and pray, not everyone will be treated equally. And we cannot control the way other people want to treat us. However, we can control how we react to those people, how we feel about ourselves, and how we demand to be treated with respect.

Throughout my years of training in this organization, I have met so many hardworking and confident women who I look up to. I wanted to talk to them personally (and with a camera, no big deal) about their own life experiences with sexual assault, and how they deal with it, since it is a topic that has had a lot of attention, lately.

I learned so many things about these women that I had never known. Coming from different backgrounds, they all had different stories, but the one thing that they all had in common was that they have experienced harassment, discrimination, assault, and/or abuse because of their gender.

Once they all started training at Tiger Schulmann’s, they felt liberated and confident knowing that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to defend themselves.

When “Fight Like a Girl” was screened at my school, Fordham University, all I could think was, “Who knows how many people in this very room are going through the same exact thing right now?” I got goosebumps. This is why I wanted to create this film. I wanted to let those people know that they are not alone.

I want to help put an end to the battle of the sexes, and will fight for the equality of all genders, races, religions, etc. I created this film for women everywhere. I want every woman and young girl to see this film and feel empowered, knowing that they have the ability to fight back and stand up for themselves. No more feeling like a victim or a potential victim. It’s time to take action.

Who is the Jillian Rivera?

Jillian “Grizzly” Rivera started Tiger Schulmann’s at five years old, because her parents wanted her to learn how to defend herself. They knew that being a female in today’s society was risky, and that she would eventually be a target for assault and discrimination. She worked her way up in the ranks, and excelled quickly in the sport. Not only did she excel in martial arts, but she also excelled in her schoolwork, piano lessons, and other sports.

With her experience in martial arts, Jillian has developed the confidence to try new things, and the self-discipline to not quit when things get difficult. Martial arts taught her to be a perfectionist, and to always try her best. She is now a 1st degree black belt, and an amateur fighter with a record of 1-0.

‘Grizzly’ got her nickname from Shihan Tirelli in Yonkers, because she is a very soft-spoken and polite young lady, but once she gets on the mat to fight, she’ll maul you like a Grizzly bear.

Jillian will be stepping  out of her comfort zone of being barefoot and sweaty on the mat, and on May 11, she will be competing for the title of Miss Teen New York Earth USA at the Adelphi University Performing Arts Center.

Tiger Schulmann's Martial Arts | Man Speakin on the Microphone

Joe Rogan Talks Tiger Schulmann’s Martial Arts

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Renowned UFC Color Commentator and lifetime martial arts practitioner, Joe Rogan hosts a weekly podcast discussing and debating all the hottest topics and trends in the mixed martial arts world.  On his February 6th, 2016 edition of the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast, Rogan was joined by guests: Jiu-Jitsu World Champion Eddie Bravo, UFC Heavyweight Contender Brandon Schaub, and comedian Bryan Callen. While discussing unique jiu-jitsu submissions, Rogan recalled a high-level, one-of-kind submission that was unveiled during a fight in the UFC. A choke that still to this day has never been duplicated.


“There was one choke that I saw only once in the UFC…. by a kid that was a Tiger Schulmann student.” Rogan states. Rogan soon identified that Tiger Schulmann’s student as Nick Pace and the submission as the “Pace Choke”(referring to his December 2010 UFC submission victory over Will Campuzzano). With the panel of guests intrigued and amazed with how Nick was able to pull off such a submission, Rogan has the panel watching the “Pace Choke” Video Tutorial via Youtube. While observing the tutorial, UFC veteran, Tiger Schulmann’s Louis Gaudinot is quickly identified by Rogan because of Gaudinot’s trademark green hair.


Rogan and Eddie Bravo’s discussion soon shifted from the “Pace Choke” to their unbiased opinion of the Tiger Schulmann Martial Arts Organization as whole. “Tiger Schulmann’s is legit… You think Uriah Hall, this kid Nick Pace, Jimmie Rivera, there are a lot of really high level guys from Tiger Schulmann’s” says Rogan. “Tiger Schulmann’s is all about evolution,” says Eddie Bravo as he recounts the organization’s shift from its dominant karate roots to it’s complete martial arts offerings of today.  He further describes Tiger Schulmann’s as “open minded” and “modern.”  He concludes by praising their evolution in martial arts while pointing out how many other traditional arts associations have failed to do so.
Tiger Schulmann's Martial Arts | Punching Group Shot

StrikeZone Kickboxing Results

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December 12th – Flyers Skate Zone
 Voorhees NJ 

Diana Zhivanaj (TSMMA Ramsey) vs Kate Allen (Rami Elite)
130lb limit – Title Fight

Zhivanaj wins via decision – New Strikezone Champion

Matt Ramge (TSMMA Ramsey) vs Eddie Torres (Mission MMA)
154lb limit

Torres wins via decision 

Nik Figueroa (TSMMA Old Bridge) vs John Mure (Strikezone MMA) 168lb limit

Mure wins via decision 

Tiger Schulmann's Martial Arts | Group Shot

USKA Fight Night Proving Ground For Team TSMMA

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Bobby Smith and Gerry DeJesus have spent thousands of hours training their Martial Arts Skills. The two Tiger Schulmann’s fighters were given the chance to display those hard earned Kickboxing talents at USKA Fight Night. Irv Althouse has long provided the most successful promotion for Pennsylvania fighters to get their Kickboxing careers started and that’s just what Smith and DeJesus were hoping to do.

Bobby Smith was up first, the sixteen year old TSMMA Feasterville Sempai making his second debut. A scheduling mix up had him facing a 31 year old in the summer of 2013. That fight was turned into an exhibition and the long wait to make a real debut had Smith amped up.

Smith faced a tough matchup against 18 year old Sean Terry. Terry brought a victory into the ring with him and had not only the age, but competition experience advantage as well. What Smith had was a height and reach advantage. The 6’1″ Smith was towering over Terry and he used that height to it’s full advantage.

Bobby Smith surrounded by his TSMMA Family.

Bobby Smith surrounded by his TSMMA Family.

Smith plastered Terry with jabs and low kicks right from the opening bell. At one point he landed three low kicks in less than ten seconds to the same spot on Terry’s leg. Smith’s opponent chose to take a knee and use the standing eight count to try and recoup. It didn’t work as Smith came right back out and blasted a round kick. Terry caught it, but ate four punches for his trouble. As soon as he let go of Smith’s leg he ate another low kick and took a knee for the final time.

See the fight here.

DeJesus was coming off a debut victory of his own, looking to build his record to 2-0. The young TSMMA Bethlehem students now trains regularly with Shihan Simpson at TSMMA Allentown and his hard training would serve him well in this explosive matchup. 

DeJesus had a strong opponent in Eddie Alvarez (not that Eddie Alvarez). The two would spend six minutes trading shots and earning the respect of everyone in the house.

DeJesus started out strong using quick movement to create angles and ultimately rock Alvarez with some powerful punches early in round 1. In fact at one point it looked like Alvarez might have trouble continuing as he was wobbly legged. A funny thing happened a minute in though as Alvarez regained his legs and came right back after DeJesus.

It would be the pivotal Round of the fight as DeJesus traded hard shots with Alvarez but either fighter could have been awarded the advantage.

Round 2 was a beautiful one for DeJesus as he stayed right on top of Alvarez from the beginning. The Bethlehem fighter was landing hard shots to the head of Alvarez in combination. He again rocked Alvarez and left his opponent wobbly legged.  This time DeJesus didn’t let up and continued his dominance through the end of the Round.

Alvarez would once again show his warrior spirit making it an amazing learning experience for DeJesus. It was the kind of fight of which future champions are made. Alvarez came right back at DeJesus in the 3rd Round. The two were trading power shots with each landing and staggering the other. The end of Round 3 left the crowd on the edge of their seats. It seemed clear the fighters traded the last two rounds but the first was up for grabs and no one knew what the judges would decide.

Judge one announced 29-28 for DeJesus, judge two 29-28 for Alvarez, and finally judge three 29-28 for DeJesus. Shihan Simpson and the young DeJesus were airborn in the corner as they displayed their excitement for the hard fought victory.

Gerry DeJesus with Shihan Simpson (far left) and Sensei Villafane (3rd from left) with the victory pose.

Gerry DeJesus with Shihan Simpson (far left) and Sensei Villafane (3rd from left) with the victory pose.

It was a proving ground fight for the young TSMMA Bethlehem fighter, one which could very well launch him towards a highly successful Kickboxing career.

Congratulations to our two young TSMMA Fight team members for their incredible victories on Saturday night. And thanks to USKA for once again providing the battleground for those victories.