Relson Gracie Seminar, November 2018

When Relson visits Connecticut, he always seems to bring difficult weather, so it wasn’t surprising that our first snowstorm of the season started during our youth seminar and continued through the night. Yet we still had 17 youth students and 23 adults in attendance for their respective events. For those who couldn’t make it due to the weather, we are truly sorry! Feel free to read on to see what you missed.

Youth Seminar

Relson started off with some self-defense for our younger students, including the wrist grip break, defense to a choke from behind, and defense to a double-handed front choke. He also worked double-leg defense and a number of other techniques. Once the hard work was done, each youth student was able to take pictures with Relson, individually and as a group, and then get their belts and gis signed.

Adult Seminar

We pushed back the start time of the adult seminar to 6:30 to give people more time to navigate the snowy roads. Sadly, three of our expected attendees didn’t make it, but we’re glad that number wasn’t higher! We worked tons of submissions, with a major focus on arm bars from guard and numerous different submissions from side control. Many of us felt we were learning how to “add extra hot sauce” to some of our familiar techniques, which is always a plus! Feedback has been great so far, so look forward to some review this upcoming week. Following that, we promoted some well-deserving people right before everyone took pictures with Relson.


First and foremost, I’d like to extend a MASSIVE congratulations to Alex Vazquez and Antonio Occhialini for earning their blue belts! Anyone who’s trained with these two knows how hard they’ve been working to reach this point. Not only have they been showing up to class consistently and working their self-defense, but they’ve also been teaching newcomers for a while now. They will be the first to have the opportunity to participate in our “blue belt buddy program” (better name to come…or not), where they have the option to invite a friend to train for free for one month, no strings attached. As new blue belts, they will act as mentors to their friends, and their friends will hold them accountable for continuing to attend class. No more disappearing blue belts! And with that being said, congratulations once again to Alex and Antonio!

Last, but certainly not least, the following individuals also deserve tons of credit for receiving degrees:

  • Gabriel Alvarez: 1st-degree gray belt

  • Tim Sullivan: 1st-degree white belt

  • Kenny Stevenson: 2nd-degree white belt

  • Matt Payne: 3rd-degree white belt

  • Mike Bafuma: 4th-degree white belt

  • Steven Alvarez: 1st-degree blue belt

  • Marty Pirog: 1st-degree purple belt

  • Jeremy Payne: 2nd-degree purple belt

  • Coach Daniel: 4th-degree brown belt

There’s a sampling of pictures below, but for MANY more, check out the two albums on our Facebook page.