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A Testimonial by Frank Broggi

A couple of years ago my son wanted to join the MMA class at our local gym.  So I signed him up and would work out in the gym while he was taking class.  After my work out I would go back to the dojo and watch the last 15 minutes of his class.  Occasionally there were an odd number of students and the instructor would ask if I minded stepping in and holding mitts, etc.  Before long I made it a point to finish my work out early in hopes that there would be an odd number and my services needed. After a short time that class took a bit of a turn.  Neil Belcher began to take over instruction and was introducing something called Gracie Jiu Jitsu.  I had heard of Royce Gracie and Gracie Jiu Jitsu before but thought it was just another form of martial art.  I was very surprised and intrigued about the core philosophies.  How a smaller person can prevail against a larger and more powerful opponent by using timing and leverage, staying close or farther away, etc. made a lot of sense to me and touched on my own personal history.   I had a pretty large older brother growing up.  And my family had moved often.  By the time I was a senior in high school I have lived in Pennsylvania, California and Texas and had been to more than a dozen schools.  With all of the moves, my brother was always the “new” big man on campus and this tended to bring out the worst in the incumbent tough guys.   They wanted to validate to everyone that they were still the alpha males and always challenged him.  My brother was big, and tough, but not that kind of person.  He hated fighting and would back down even when it would have been an easy victory.  I respected him for that. However, if he would not accept the challenge, they would come to me to get his attention.  Although this was always a big mistake for them, as he would then accept the challenge and let lose a wrath they were not prepared for, I still had to survive in the interim.   I had studied a few martial arts briefly as a kid but did not find them to be very effective against my older, and much larger, brother or his many challengers.  Many of the techniques required standing toe to toe with an opponent and relied on speed and strength.  Well, standing there looking up at my brother or some other giant was never the right place to be as they could literally crush me with one blow.  I had to resort to closing the distance to reduce the ability for them to cause any damage, using momentum, swinging around behind them and waiting for opportunities to control the situation with leverage and crude, on the fly, submissions I would make up as I went along.  I fought with my brother quite a lot, much more than I ever had to fight his challengers.  I think sometimes that he would slow the fight down, giving me opportunities to work on my techniques, to develop the ability to survive, not to win, but to walk away unhurt.  I am sure he had to swallow a lot of pride to do that for me.   When I began to understand that was part of the Gracie philosophy I was hooked and signed up for the class full time.  I had a lot to learn as I really did not have any solid techniques.  Over the next two years I studied Gracie Jiu Jitsu more and more as the MMA class evolved.  I worked with Neil Belcher and completed my Gracie Combatives Blue Belt and am very excited about the opening of the new Gracie certified facility.  I truly believe what I have learned in the last two years will stick with me for the rest of my life.  Although every now and then you have to keep it real, I try to keep it playful and put myself in bad situations when rolling like the Gracie’s tell us.  This has helped me to feel more comfortable and confident and has greatly improved my techniques. Frank Broggi
I first started attending Neil belcher’s MMA classes in the summer of 2012 after graduating from college.  I always wrestled around with friends a lot and got in the occasional scuffle and did pretty good for myself, so I figured why not.  Well let me tell you it was a very humbling experience because it was quite different from my previous experiences with physical altercations in which brute force and a thick head won.  In my first class I learned that the ground work that they practice at USA MMA is called Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.  This was a completely different ball game because an opponent of  a size that I could normally dominate , could neutralize and manipulate me both quickly and efficiently, this of course meant in a physical aspect, but is equally  very mentally frustrating at the same time.  Needless to say, I was hooked out of curiosity at first, but it exponentially increased as class went on, and stuff began to stick with me. Jiu-Jitsu is not prejudice, it does not judge by size or age or even strength.  Sure these things help, but only after the technique is mastered.  If I could go back and roll with myself back when I first started, it would not even be a challenge.  Technique will win every time.  Not only will having the knowledge and technique help you, but it teaches you how to defend yourself in all types of situations.  From posture at the beginning of a potential confrontation, to how to finish it effectively, all while being aware of your surroundings. These are invaluable techniques on how to defend yourself and family in a situation where you may not have any other means of protecting yourself.  Let’s say you consider yourself well protected, and have plenty of guns in your house, some in the gun safe, some loaded and ready to go in the bedroom.  You’re watching TV in the family room, door flies open, an intruder comes at you.  What good are those firearms doing you now?  Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is something you will always have on you at all times, ready to go. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is just a piece of the puzzle of my addiction to USA MMA Academy.  I also grew very fond of sparring.  Now when you get in a fist fight with an untrained opponent, it’s basically just hay makers and straight rights all day long.  I, myself, was in this mindset as well, until sparring a few times and realizing it takes a little bit more than that to win a fight against a skilled opponent.  It’s not every day you get in a fight and people are throwing good combinations.  This again is a game of skill rather than strength. USA MMA Academy caters to all age groups, regardless of size or strength.  From a first timer, to someone that has practiced martial arts in the past; USA MMA has something to offer for everyone. Dan Meekins
Helping the girls train.. Dan Meekins Crazy Horse with my Daughter Lexi My Son Nick “Bear” Broggi