This past Saturday I was honored to be coaching over a dozen of TSMMA’s future champions at the North American Grappling Associations event in Albany, New York. Kids of different levels and ages showed what non-quitting spirit can truly do as the tested their abilities against all comers. Some kids left with medals and some kids did not. They all left stronger and better for their tremendous efforts. Like Master Tiger Schulmann says ” You either win or you learn.”
Some of the highlights included young Katie Berisha who at 5 years old competed in her very first competition although you would have never guessed. She showed pose and focus like a veteran and came away with a first place win. Way to go Katie!
Another great match was between two TSMMA kids from different locations, Rhett Alvarado and Giovanni Jean Pierre. (Vails Gate & Mount Kisco) This is the third time these boys have met in the finals of a NAGA event. I would imagine if they grappled each other 100 times the final score would be 50 – 50. The match went back and forth with great submission attempts and escapes. There were furious scrambles and great technique demonstrated. Of course there could only be one winner, but both boys showed tremendous heart.
It takes a lot of courage to travel to an event and compete. You do not know what you will get. You may have one other kid in your division or 20 other kids. You may not even have someone in your division to grapple. This was the case with two of my own students, Jasmine DiDona and Marc Berisha. They were both given the choice of going home without a match or moving up a level. Never backing down from a challenge they showed great heart in choosing to go up a level.
We also had a few TSMMA fighters left with Championship belts. Alisia Scipioni, AJ Miele, Jonathan Inglieses, Lauren Rose and an unnamed girl from our Yonkers location all achieved the top honor by winning first place in the expert divisions. This is an amazing accomplishment for these competitors and something they should be very proud of. Their hard work and discipline are responsible for this achievement.
It was a great day and like I said, you either win or you learn. I was so proud of everyone’s efforts and demeanor. It’s hard to remember sometimes that these are just kids out there. Congratulations to all those that competed.
Some other notable finishes
Brandon Carcaterra – 3rd place in expert
Alex Berisha – 3rd place in advanced
Robbie Miele – 3rd place in beginner
Gianni Scipioni – 2nd place in beginner
PJ (Staten Island) – 1st place in advanced
Michael Stone – 1st place in beginner
Tyler Mackay – 1st place in novice
I know there were more that I cannot remember right now and I apologize. Everyone did amazing! Osu!
For more information about NAGA Tournaments Visit – http://www.nagafighter.com