All ECU participants earned a medal at Aug. 6 & 7 meet
By Mike Lauterborn
(Posted to Fairfield.Patch.com)
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Fairfield, CT – Demonstrating the high caliber of instruction they had received, each member of the circle of 11 came away with a competition medal. It was a shining moment for the group and their teacher Joe Oppedisano, who also achieve an Absolute Belt honor.
Oppedisano is the owner of Sportsplex@Fairfield-based East Coast United Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Boxing studio and the 11 are his pupils. The group breaks out as seven kids ages 6 to 15 and four adults, ranging in martial arts skill level from white to brown belt. On August 6 and 7, they competed at the North American Grappling Association’s NAGA Fighter match, titled “Battle of the Beach 12” and held in Wildwood, NJ. All scored honors among the over 1,000 competitors, ages 6 to 50. NAGA is one of the largest grappling associations in the world.
Jojo Guaran, the owner of an associated martial arts school, joined Oppedisano in the effort, which was focused on Braziiian Submission Grappling. In this discipline, competitors meet one-on-one, battling until someone taps out. Points are earned by achieving dominating positions and taking an opponent down.
“Everyone earned a medal,” beamed Oppedisano, “which in this case is a samurai sword. It’s the first time this has ever happened in a school environment with which I’ve been associated. I attribute it to the coaching we do here. I truly believe I can make champions out of raw talent. I have kids here who weren’t able to do a simple jumping jack, who have evolved into expert competitors. It’s truly remarkable.”
Among the 11 was Oppedisano’s niece, Gabriella, 15, who is also an assistant coach at ECU. She took first in the white belt competition, against an adult competitor. “This was her first time competing,” said Oppedisano. “Again, very outstanding.”
Oppedisano’s own win, in the brown belt division, came after defeating three competitors.
The martial arts master said these types of accomplishments build self-esteem not only in the martial arts world, but in the real world. “Win or lose, my students are champions just for having stepped on the competition mat,” he said.