I can remember the phone call like it was yesterday. My little brother Keith was calling me and telling me about this new pay-per-view event called the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The best and toughest martial artists from all over the world with different styles would meet in a cage and fight it out.
For Keith and I, this was going to settle our debate about which style was the best. There were no weight classes back then and not many rules. One skinny man from Brazil would prove over and over again that his family style of jiu-jitsu was the best. He was Royce Gracie, our new hero and he inspired us to start training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). We started training in our basement. Our mats were thin green rugs that covered our cemented floor. Takedowns, drilling and even sparring took place in this new family dojo. We trained every day, first learning from tapes, because we did not know of any places to train.
Keith was the perfect training partner. Whatever I didn’t remember about executing a certain move, he did. As the more natural athlete, Keith always had a supreme confidence in himself and in BJJ. When it was time for sparring, he would give me fits. After two weeks of training in our basement, Keith and I entered our first competition. Keith took 1st place in the intermediate division, submitting all of his opponents even those who had much more experience than us. I took second in the weight class above Keith’s.
Shortly afterwards, we started formally training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under black belt Roberto Maia. With a legitimate teacher and various high level training partners, Keith and I trained even more and competed in many tournaments.
After traveling all over the world and training with the best BJJ had to offer, Keith and I began to understand the depth of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We became more and more passionate about the art. Even after we both earned our black belts, we knew there was still much to learn. Our opponent then became time itself.
From the thin green rugs in our basement to the mats of the biggest BJJ and submission tournaments and ultimately to the UFC’s octagon, Keith and I have truly enjoyed this martial arts adventure. Keith has always been in my corner and has been my coach from day one. I sometimes joke how Keith may be an even better martial arts coach then he is a brother, lol.
It is now time to give back to those who want to learn what martial arts gave us. On September 2nd we are opening the Florian Martial Arts Center in Brookline, Massachusetts. We will have classes and programs available for those who want to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, Mixed Martial Arts or who want to just get in shape with our fitness programs.
Our school is for individuals who want to train and study in a safe environment while taking advantage of learning the Florian training methods from world class coaches and staff.
Martial Arts will give you a great sense of accomplishment and make you understand that anything can be conquered, either by a counter action or by going with that motion. With this school, we hope to give to others the same self confidence, techniques and physical benefits that we learned.
We look forward to seeing you on the mats.
All the best,
REGISTRATION DAY – FRIDAY AUGUST 22nd 12NOON-7PM
Florian Martial Arts Center6 Webster Street (across from Subway Shop)Brookline, MA