Teaching martial arts requires more than just explaining how to kick and punch or how to shoot a double leg takedown. If you ask many of the top fighters coming out of Tiger Schulmann’s MMA they will tell you that martial arts is a way of life and not just the ability to fight. When one truly has mastered a discipline of martial arts, all the disciplines practiced in the ring or on the mat carry over to nearly all aspects of that person’s life. Take Sensei David Tirelli of Tiger Schulmann’s Elmwood Park, who is a fifth degree black belt and practicing numerous disciplines of martial arts for over thirty years. His teaching techniques are not limited to the traditional karate, but also include boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, jiu jitsu, and mixed martial arts. Sensei Tirelli competed himself in the earliest stages of MMA throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s, earning him his induction into the NJ MMA Hall of Fame and considered one of the original MMA pioneers. Sensei Tirelli does not simply teach his students how to survive in a self defense situation, he instills teachings of discipline and confidence to allow somebody to live up to their full potential in life.
Under the tutelage of Sensei Tirelli, children have built up their confidence allowing them to be themselves, and adults have been able to discipline themselves to reach their fitness goals. The tool Sensei Tirelli uses to change his students’ lives is martial arts, specifically kickboxing and grappling. Teaching his students self defense on both the feet and in ground fighting is only a bonus of the true differences Sensei is capable of making in his student’s lives. Specifically myself, writing as a twenty-four year old college graduate, Sensei had deterred me from typical college life consisting of drinking, smoking, and becoming lazy. Sensei Tirelli made me fall in love with MMA so much that I would rather spend my days training to compete than drinking and spending money on living frivolously. Though I thought my only goal was to compete and become a fighter, which I have, there were many other aspects of my life which changed unknowingly. I was no longer late everywhere I went, I made sure if I was going to take on a project I would aim for excellence as I completed it, and overall I simply became a more genuine and honest person. Could these changes in my life have conveniently coincided with maturing as an adult? Maybe. Did I use lack of maturity as an excuse for the countless mistakes made becoming a man? No. Sensei Tirelli and the Tiger Schulmann’s family is credited with giving me a push in a certain direction, which is the direction I associate with accomplishment.
Whether your goal is to lose weight or to instill more confidence in your child, Sensei Tirelli’s method of teaching cannot be compared to anything else in the world. Where else can one go to acquire life skills which correlate directly with accomplishment and success? If a child goes to school and realizes that he/she is a mathematician, does this skill matter in the long run when it is coupled with a lack of confidence and inability to function in a social environment? The answer is an outstanding no.