June 12, 2016

    Last weekend was my first time attending a New Breed Grappling/BJJ Tournament. Not the first for Ivey League, but the first for me, Coach Danny.

    We took a small team consisting of only 6 students up to Ryder University in NJ. I’ve gotta be honest, my levels of expectations were low.

    I say low because I’d heard mixed reviews about New Breed. That it’s a small tournament and the level isn’t that high and blah blah blah.

    I only went because Jon Garlington insisted that the last event was one of the best he’d seen. He compared it to a local NAGA Event and when I heard that I said fine we’ll give it a shot.

    What started out rough ended on a high note…

    When we first got to the venue I kid you not, there was like 10 people in the building. 20 if you count New Breed staff. That’s not a good sign in my book.

    As the day went on other competitors and teams did start to show up little by little but still, it was a small tournament compared to a NAGA or Grapplers Quest.

    Those who know me know I love me some smack talk and this was giving me all the ammunition needed to unload.

    So I picked up my iPhone and started texting Jon and Sarah Garlington talking all types of trash like “man you tricked me” and “you guys will pay for this!”.

    They kept telling me to give it time and wait till the matches start. Then I’ll see the point of attending this event.

    Well as much as I hate admitting this, it turned out to be a well run, highly organized and friendly grappling tournament.

    The New Breed Staff went out of their way to find lots of good matches for our team. BBC Student Fin Moreno is a good example of this (see below also for more on Fin).

    Fin is new to competing and we wanted to get him as much experience as possible. New Breed did just that and went around asking coaches if they had a kids for Fin to go with.

    By the time Fin was done he’d had 8 matches against kids of all ages and skill levels around his size.

    This meant a lot to myself and Fin’s parents because the name of the game is experience.

    They did this for all our competitors. So yes maybe the tournament was small scale but still, you get a bunch of matches in, and that’s what truly counts and what we came for in the first place.

    Not to mention the people there, from the coaches to the refs to the other competitors that were just so friendly, helpful and just all around nice folks.

    One person in particular, Head Referee Mike Cardosa stands out in my mind. He went above and beyond for us when he didn’t have to. With guys like Mike around New Breed is on the right track.

    Grappling and BJJ tournaments don’t have the greatest reputation for nice people. It’s getting better but we’ve still got a ways to go so it was nice to see this at New Breed.

    Anyway, so yeah in short this turned out to be a great tournament and my hat goes off to New Breed. You guys do a great job and I predict success in your near future.

    I know Ivey League MMA will be at future events to support and help you grew. Alright on to the results…

    Who did what and placed where? See below:
    Joe Huggins – 1st place
    Fin Moreno – 1st place
    CC Fowler – 1st place
    Joe Coggiano – 1st place
    Darryan McKann – 1st place
    Michael Garlington – 1st place
    These 4 little tomato cans pulled in the team title with lots of action packed matches!
    These 4 little tomato cans pulled in the team title with lots of action packed matches!

    Not one of our competitors placed lower than 1st…wow! And on top of that we also won the Kids Team Title with just 4 children competing…(see pic above)!

    As a coach, I was delighted with the results. Everyone’s been working super hard in the room and this was a well earned day in the hot sun indeed. We need more days like that.

    I don’t have time today to do write ups for everyone although they truly deserve it. Today I focused on one of the kids and a little story about never giving up hope. Check it out.

    Never count a kid out…The Fin Moreno Story

    I remember the first day little Fin Moreno came into my academy a few years ago. In fact, I ended up being the first person he met and also the one who did his introductory lesson.

    I always liked Fin and so did the staff. He’s a happy-go-lucky kind of child who smiles a lot and like most kids, loves Mindcraft.

    But when it comes to success in martial arts, specifically Brazilian style Jiu Jitsu, it takes more than a smile to be successful.

    For a while I’d teach Fin a move and send him off to drill it. Sure enough, 1 minute later he’d tell me he “forgot” what we were doing and I’d have to show it all over again.

    When Fin was invited to our BBC program at first he didn’t win much when rolling with the other kids. This is common due to the higher level skill in those classes.

    But although it seemed like Fin wasn’t learning or getting better, he very clearly was.

    The first sign of improvement came when he competed at the last New Breed Tournament in Pennsylvania.

    The Fin we saw on the mats in PA was a very different version than the one who goofs off in the practice room.

    Fin laid down the law and won both his divisions, placing first in both divisions. He did the same last weekend and did so with a new higher level of technique and timing not yet seen, at least not by me.

    I’m telling you all this for good reason. As a coach, you can never give up on a child no matter what results you get back early on.

    Success doesn’t come right away for most people, kid or adult. I was very patient with Fin and never lost sight of the end goal.

    Now look at him just a little less then 3 years later. He’s winning tournaments, having success in a practice room filled with other tough kids and getting the results we’ve all been waiting to see.

    It’s really nice to see all this unfold right before my eyes. Not overnight success by any means, but that doesn’t matter because success doesn’t work on a set timeline.

    Fin is proof of this and I couldn’t be happier for him. Atta boy and I foresee many more gold medals in your future 🙂

    2016 is moving in the right direction for us.

    You guys rocked it and this is certainly a show of progress being made inside the walls of this YWCA building in Arnold.

    Next up for IL is the NAGA Virginia Beach on June 25th. Let’s keep this momentum going! Below are some photos from the tournament, check them out.

    Oh and let me plug New Breed one more time by providing a link to their website. http://www.newbreedgear.com/

    Pictured left to right is Fin, Stella, Mike and Darryan.
    Pictured left to right is Fin, Stella, Mike and Darryan.
    Joe Coggino placed 1st in both Gi and NoGi. He looked awesome!
    Joe Coggiano placed 1st in both Gi and NoGi. He looked awesome!
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