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USA MMA Academy History

Neil Belcher on the History of the USA MMA Academy

“While we are opening the actual facility in December 2013, its origin is much older and it has been a long and winding road.  It started in 1983 when I was 13 and began taking Goshen Jitsu Karate.  I studied that art for 5 years and believe that time to be the foundation of  which the rest was built on. Once settled in at college, Judo was the next step. While I can say it was a lot of fun working with the people as they prepped for tournaments, it just wasn't what I was looking for. Over the next ten years, I experimented with Ishen-Ryu and Aikido but neither lasted long for no other reason than the next thing in life just popped up.  A job, a relationship, housework something else always seemed to take precedence.   When I was 32, I went back to Karate with the mentality of completing what I started almost 20 years prior. Beginning at white belt,  I studied under Kevin Kane for just over 6 years until I earned my black belt in Goshen Jitsu Karate.  In 2005, while still working toward my black belt, I also started training Mixed Martial Arts, learning techniques from various disciplines.    Around 2008, while still pursuing Goshen Jitsu Karate and Mixed Martial Arts, I found GRACIE JIU-JITSU.  For the first time the road looked a little different and maybe a little more clear. The main point is it was heading in the direction of something I believe in.   I was excited to pursue Gracie Jiu-Jitsu but had worked diligently, and was very close to earning my Goshen Jitsu Karate black belt. That black belt was a 25 year dream about to come true. So I decided that my main focus would be on that belt and tried to incorporate Gracie Jiu-Jitsu into MMA classes whenever time allowed.  After achieving my black belt in Goshen Jitsu Karate, my focus switched to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, specifically  Gracie Combatives.  It was amazing how relevant what I was learning was to actual combat situations.  What I was learning was designed to be applied to real life, real street.  It actually made me more confident by exposing my biggest weakness, which at the time was being taken to the ground by a larger stronger opponent.   Well I'm sorry to inform the "Bad" guys but that weakness exist no more thanks to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.   It took from 2008 until September of  2012  to get my official Gracie Jiu-Jitsu blue belt.  From there I went on to the Gracie ICP (Instructor Certification Program) which I can honestly say, taught me more about “how to teach” something than anything else I had ever learned before.  The teaching in layers and framing of techniques are now something I use in everyday life, not just in Martial Arts.   After all of the years of training in so many different disciplines it comes down to one thing for me.  What I have learned to teach in a one year program of Gracie Combatives, will stick with you and prepare you for real life situations better than all of the other arts studied combined in that time frame.  I do feel like the other arts are worthy and have there place.  But I consider Gracie Jiu-Jitsu as a core discipline that one can build on, a fundamental base that allows for practical and reality focused defense as well as for a healthy mind and body. From that core we will add in all the other arts to form the end result of a complete package. The reality is when someone comes in for a self defense training chances are something may come up in life just as it did in mine that will interrupt training, possibly indefinitely. For this reason you need to commit to a plan that can truly prep you to survive a life threatening attack in the shortest time possible while sticking with you for a life time.   This belief is the spark that ignited everything that we have worked so hard to offer to the public here at the USA MMA Academy . A self defense plan offered in a safe clean family oriented environment. Here at the Academy MMA stands for exactly what it originally stood for which is combining the arts together to make the best possible "YOU"
Neil Belcher