It was a great weekend at the Serra BJJ Academy, with professor John Danaher down for yet another incredible seminar. The seminar focused on back control, which is a huge part of grappling. There were approximately 45 students in attendance to learn from one of the best in the world!
In addition, we had some promotions that took place, including one new blue belt, two purples, two brown belts, and a new Jedi Black Belt!
First up, Anthony Soriero received his blue belt. Anthony has been training for about a year now and has a wrestling background. He's consistently training on the mats and improving his BJJ game day by day. Congrats on a well-deserved promotion!
Next up was Nabih Barakat, who received his purple belt! Not only has he been accelerating in BJJ, but also in the MMA circuit as well. His fight last week at Ring of Combat proved his growing MMA athleticism and although he lost a decision, he definitely caused more damage. Nabih brought his fight game and performed extremely well. Congrats on your new promotion and your well-fought fight!
Our next purple belt is Mike Horun. Recently Mike was asked by Matt and Nick Serra to run and direct the kids' classes over in our East Meadow academy. He has been doing a great job over there working with the young up-and-comers. It's not an easy task to teach kids and it takes a special instructor to do so. Well, we are happy with the choice as the younger groups are having a lot of fun. It is a testament to this well-deserved promotion. Technically sound on the mat and as an instructor is why this promotion was a must have!
On to our brown belts! First up was Jason Gershon. Jay had the pleasure of learning and training under the Renzo Gracie academy back in 2002, and soon after working his way to Long Island, he continued his training with Matt and Nick Serra. Jay is an outstanding BJJ martial artist who always has a great attitude not only on the mats but in life, and it shows every time he comes to train. Despite a very bad torn ACL and surgery not too long ago, Jay got back on his feet and did everything he could to get back to training. Now, stronger and more technical than before, he is back on the mats training harder than ever. Jay has become part of our teaching staff taking on the early bird classes at 7am. We've heard nothing but great things about his teaching and his classes. We're all glad that we have him as a part of our team and family!
Our next brown belt went to Al Docket! Al has been depressing a lot of the younger guys over the years, to say the least. He is extremely dedicated to the art of BJJ and is willing to train at all hours of the night to improve his game. One thing about Al is that he takes the time to understand the techniques that he has learned with constant repetition among his after-hours training crew! If there is mat space available at 12 midnight, he'd be there! Al is a great asset to the academy and yet another student who has a great attitude and makes training at our academy a great experience. Congrats on your promotion!
And last but not least, Yasha Magyar received his black belt! Yes, we have a new Jedi among us and it's about time. As Matt Serra said, when you hear from all the other brown belts what a tough time they have rolling with Yasha and seldom have an answer for his technique, you know he's just about due. Yasha is one of those guys who has a lot of the ingredients that help BJJ come naturally. He's tall, extremely strong, and very agile. To make matters better, he understands the concepts of BJJ very well. It probably helps that Yasha is a doctor who fully understands the workings of the human body, so if he breaks your limb (he won't, he's too nice) he can fix it. Congratulations on this long journey and path to becoming black belt!