My martial arts career started around 1985 with Shukokai Karate under sensei Shigeru Kimura. I never felt very comfortable in this system as it just felt very rigid to me causing me to struggle. Needless to say I didn’t last very long and set out to find another art that I could excel at and not leave class frustrated every night. After trying a few different schools I eventually decided on a Tae Kwon Do Academy that taught a more traditional style of Tae Kwon Do based on fighting and self defense; NOT sport. After years of training I then found the art of Sil Jun Do which to me seemed to make more sense than anything else I’ve seen in my martial arts training and I’ve been there training under Master Richard Raciti every since. In my years of training with Master Raciti I have gotten to the level of 3rd degree black belt in his Sil Jun Do system and I’ve also earned my Black kruang in Muay Thai.
About 13 years ago Master Raciti brought in Sean Alverez for a seminar in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Sean brought with him one of his students Jojo Guarin who was purple belt at the time. The seminar was amazing and I was hooked immediately. I wasn’t the only Edge student who felt this, there were about 7 of us who wanted to continue this journey. So Edge BJJ program was born. It started with Jojo coming to our academy on Saturday afternoons for a 2 hour BJJ class. After a few weeks of this we added a second night of training on our own with the drills and techniques we were taught. I feel this commitment to drilling gave us a solid foundation on which to build.
After a few years of training and some changes in the program we were training under we had the need to find a new affiliation. Enter 8th degree Coral belt Master Joe Moreira who we have been under ever since, and the evolution of our BJJ program.
I feel that under Master Moreira my Jiu Jitsu has grown and developed to the point where I have a sense of confidence that combined with my other martial arts skills there is no situation I can’t handle with calm and deliberate action.
On Thursday April 7 2016 for Master Joe Moreira along with Richard Raciti and Justin Rios, I was put to the test to prove these skills. After first demonstrating my attacks and escapes along with BJJ principles I was then put to the task of defending myself using these skills from various positions of disadvantage. After this I had to fight using only my BJJ against a fighter who had the ability to kick, punch, and whatever else he could throw at me, and finally roll (spar) pure BJJ. This test lasted hours and when I finally finished the test I was completely spent. I was mentally and physically drained, but it was one of the best days I every spent on the mats.
On Saturday April 9 2016 at the conclusion of Master Moreira’s seminar at The Rush Defense Academy in Bernardsville NJ I was called to the front of the class were Master Moreira awarded me with my Black Belt and Certificate in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Master Moreira also awarded Richard Raciti with his 3rd degree Black belt and Justin Rios with his 1st degree black belt and instructors stripes and certificate.
I feel extremely honored to receive this promotion from Master Moreira and share the day with both Richard Raciti and Justin Rios. I also feel grateful to those of my Edge Family who were there to witness this promotion. I am also so thankful for having the best girlfriend anyone could ever ask for and that she was there to share this moment with me.