On Oct, 29, UPMA brought 9 athletes to compete at the SJJIF World Special Needs tournament with great success. It was truly touching to see the impact this one of a kind event had not only on our athletes, but on everyone in attendance that day. This is the first time that the SJJIF has included a special needs division. They also had deaf and para categories. Everyone at UPMA from the coaches to the athletes and parents was ecstatic about the experience and the performance of our fighters. The atmosphere was loud and exciting, but no one was overwhelmed. Every student did a great job of listening to their coaches and following directions. Perhaps the most amazing part of the tournament was how many spectators were truly touched to see our athletes out there. There were a lot of teary eyed people at the Long Beach Convention Center that day. Since then, there have been many people reaching out to us as well, some even wanting to start similar programs. Our hope here at UPMA is that this will be the first step in bringing Jiu Jitsu to everyone. Countless people have witnessed what our amazing students are capable of and will hopefully use this to bring more opportunities to the special needs community. We can not thank the SJJIF enough for all that they have done. Please watch the compilation video shot by one of our volunteers.
The third edition of the Grappler’s Heart Tournament took place this past weekend in New York City. It is great to see some familiar faces as well several new competitors taking part. This tournament continues to be the only one of it’s kind geared toward people with disabilities.
Congratulations to all of the competitors! Hopefully, this is just the beginning of great things to come in the Jiu Jitsu world for all of them. This also marks the 2nd year that Ian Matuszak’s memory was honored with the Heart of a Champion Award. We hope that his memory will live on through this tournament.
What a blessing. As of 3/29/17, both beginning classes are full. It’s time to bring in more help and think about adding more classes. Volunteers do not need martial arts experience. A patient heart and an energetic spirit are all you need. Please contact coach Kristen directly if you are interested firstname.lastname@example.org . Any new classes will be announced and posted on the schedule page.
Stay tuned for news about our next competition opportunity!
The UPMA family was saddened to learn that yesterday Ian Matuszak lost his battle with cancer. Ian was an inspiration to all of us both on and off the mat. He didn’t let anything stand in the way of pursuing his dream of training Jiu Jitsu. He directly had a hand in leading several of our students to sign up for their first tournament. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Matuszak family in this difficult time. An announcement regarding a tribute to Ian will be forthcoming.