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Maria Vega reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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My wife and I were looking for a friendly, family oriented MMA classes for our son (10) and daughter (12). They love martial arts and have been doing it for years, in an after school program (TKD). Well, after looking around, we joined Gracie PAC MMA. Let me tell you, this place is perfect. Their staff and coaches are incredible; friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and experience on everything MMA. Professor Cris Rodriguez is great with kids, amazing teacher. We are extremely happy with Gracie MMA, their staff is great, they are very organize and their curriculum (bjj, muay thai, kick boxing, etc....) has everything we were looking for. Great place for the entire family.

Tiffany Teal Montague Simmons reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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Come train with the BEST! This is NOT your normal after school karate class. We were amazed at the amount of technique even the youngest students pick up after just a few classes. Coach Cris is awesome with the kids. She expects more then just good fighting from them. She stays involved with how they are doing in school and at home, giving her students the incentive to be the best at everything they do.

Dana Fields reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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I have been looking for a great exercise program to get involved in and finally found it here. I have learned so much in the two months I have been here and can't wait to continue to get stronger. Love This place!! Coach Cris is the best at making me not want to give up.

DorothyandMark Winter reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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PAC MMA is fitness for the whole family. Kids programs, adult classes and even the best woman's fitness and self defense around, this is the place to go. Make your family a part of the PAC family.

Amanda Fletcher Moyer reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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Best place ever! My daughter attends the after school program there and she loves it. I just started taking the kickboxing class & it's the best class I have ever taken. Everyone there is awesome.

Gina Lopez Fernandez reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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I can't say enough about how much I love this place! My son is learning so much and he LOVES going to class. There's something so rewarding in watching your child learn and grow so quickly :) Coach Chris, Coach Dan and Coach Rich have all been amazing! I couldn't ask for a better environment for my son. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and so much of yourself - we truly appreciate it!

Erica Ramirez reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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Heard thru word of mouth. Then checked it out and noticed great character in their students and the attentive staff. The coach had noticeable rapport with the kids in the class. My daughter loved it. She can't wait to get back. She even cleaned her room! Huge plus.

Dan Martinez reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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Gracie PAC MMA has been one of, if not the best, mixed martial arts gym I have been a part of. The kids program/instruction is second to none, and offers world class BJJ instruction for adults as well as one of the most promising striking programs in the US, Bang Muay Thai. Countless kids and adults have competed at the highest level under the GPAC banner, with even more discovering what martial arts can do for them. Whether you want to compete or get in great shape, this facility has the program for you

Nicole Dunn reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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Our family has been coming to Gracie PAC Tampa for nearly two years. We began sending our son first. Our main goals were for him to experience the physical and mental benefits derived from regular physical exercise. Instantly we realized how special this place is, and how amazing Coach Cris is with the kids, as well as adults. She is fair but firm, and as she commands respect, she encourages these kids to rise to their full potential, also providing valuable discussions on character, sportsmanship, and leadership, as part of her curriculum.

My husband takes some of the adult jiu jitsu and kickboxing classes, from which he has benefitted greatly, and I truly enjoy being a member of the ladies' bootcamp group. These ladies represent a wide range of fitness levels and ages. Each class, we all get together to kick butt, do our best, and encourage each other in a true team environment. I never leave this class disappointed.
Gracie PAC Tampa MMA - best place EVER for your anyone in your family to train at.

Lynzie Johnston reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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Well it's about time I write a review! My boys joined Gracie PAC as little Ninjas about 4 months ago. They absolutely love it! Professor Cris is an amazing teacher! She's very enthusiastic about teaching and she is very patient. My boys love going to class. They are 4 &7 . They never want to miss a class. They have learned so much and continue to learn with each class. They love earning strips on their belt. This is a really great positive atmosphere for kids and families. I'm very satisfied with our experience.

Jesse James Maldonado reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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I took Jiu Jitsu a few years back at another facility and decided to give this one a try. I took my first lesson last night and could not believe the content. Very structured and professional. Easy to learn and everyone was eager to assist me being the new guy. Other places teach you a couple of moves. Each involving many steps and you still won't understand it. Garcia PAC teaches you a technique and teaches you other techniques that involve some of the same steps. It made me confident that if I try something and am not able to secure the submission, then I can roll into another technique just as easy and It gives you options and makes you think. I liked that approach rather than what I was given in the past. A+ school and is 100% legit. I am confident this time around I will take it all the way with my training. When you find a place like this you take advantage of the opportunity to train there.

Meghann Thacker reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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We love it at Gracie PAC! They focus on fitness, strength, form, and most importantly they work hard every lesson to help teach my children how to effectively defend themselves against bullies and other attacks. It's easy to see this group of educators clearly loves kids and have a passion for sharing their vast knowledge with their students! Best MMA in the Bay for kids!

Chandra Ahrendt reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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I took my first class tonight. As soon as you enter, you are greeted by smiling faces who are just as excited to have you there as you are to be there. The coaches there were phenomenal. They were so incredibly encouraging and patient, it was a breeze picking it up because there was no pressure. Great job at creating such an inviting atmosphere.

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4 Steps for Helping Your Child Set Effective Goals (Plus a Bonus Tip)

Science says 92 percent of people don’t achieve their goals. Perhaps, most of them have never learned how to effectively set goals.

You can help your child learn the skill of goal-setting, which is critical for developing grit and just simply getting what you want out of life.

Other reasons WHY your child should learn goal-setting include:
• it teaches them to take responsibility for their own behaviors and learning
• it promotes a “can-do” attitude
• it forms a powerful lifelong habit

So how do you teach your kids to set their own goals?

Below, I’ll share four research-based steps for helping your child set effective goals, track progress, and stay motivated in the process.

Step 1: Let Your Child Choose Their “Big Goal”

If your child has a genuine desire to reach their goal, they’re far more likely to be intrinsically motivated, driven, and ultimately successful.

Instead of pushing your child to set a goal that you want them to reach, help them consider what they truly want to accomplish or achieve this year.

Ask questions like:
• What’s something you wish you could achieve?
• What’s a challenge you would feel very proud to overcome?
• What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Then, help your child brainstorm ONE major goal they would like to achieve this year. Make sure the goal is specific, measurable and trackable.

For instance, avoid vague goals like, “I’ll pay more attention in class this year.” There’s no clear way to know when or if this goal has been achieved.

Here are examples of measurable goals which are much more effective:
• “I’ll take daily notes this year and review them each week.”
“• I’ll score ten points higher in math this year.”

Your child needs to be able to realize their progress toward the goal, so be sure it’s something specific and measurable.

Step 2: Discuss the Purpose of Your Child’s Goal

In order for your child to be truly motivated to reach their goal, they must understand their “WHY.”
Why do they want to achieve this goal? Why does it matter? What is their purpose?

In education, it’s long been clear that when students see a purpose for what they’re learning, they tend to “buy-in” and perform better.
Four 2014 studies found that this is especially true when students have a self-transcendent purpose for learning. This means that students are more successful when they understand that their learning can also benefit others.

This same rule can apply to your child’s goal-setting. For instance, if your child’s goal is to earn an “A” in Science, a purpose like, “I want to have better grades,” or, “I want a career in science,” can be helpful to some extent.

But it will be even more helpful if your child can find a self-transcendent purpose like:
“I want to do better in Science so I can make discoveries or inventions that help people.”

Help your child find their purpose by asking questions like, “What do you think is the greatest benefit to you doing well in this class? How can that help others?”

In the above example, you can also discuss:
• Advances made by other scientists
• How science has helped or does help people
• Future needs science can address

If your child can find a greater purpose behind their academic goals, you’re likely to see greater results. Plus, you’re encouraging critical thinking and kindness.

Step 3: Break the Big Goal into Smaller Steps

An effective goal must be reasonably within reach. It should be neither too challenging nor too easy. And your child must be able to sustain their motivation for an extended period of time.

One way to achieve this is to help your child break their big, long-term goal into more manageable short-term steps.
Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy explains that people often fail to reach their goals because the goals they have set are too massive and unrealistic. These people focus too much on the outcome and not enough on the process.

Instead, it can be helpful to set a string of small, incrementally more challenging goals.

Incremental goals can help your child stay motivated, continue improving and practicing the skills needed to reach their “big goal,” and give them more opportunities to celebrate success along the way.

To help your child visualize this step-by-step process, offer to fill out a “goal ladder.” At the top of the ladder, write down the big goal, then work your way through the steps it would take to achieve it.

Let’s say your child’s big goal is to learn to ride a bike over the summer. The first step on the goal ladder might be watching Mom or Dad ride a bike. The second step might be learning to ride a bike with training wheels. A step up from that could be pedaling the bike while Mom or Dad holds on. And finally, practice riding on your own.

It’s important for your child to understand that they may not reach their long-term goal right away. As long as they’re making progress and completing short-term goals, they’re still climbing the “ladder” to success and shouldn’t get discouraged.

Step 4: Brainstorm Potential Obstacles

If you don’t plan in advance for potential obstacles, an unforeseen challenge or difficulty could derail your child’s motivation.
Psychologist Gabriele Oettingen set out to study the success rates of people who had optimistic beliefs about their future goals vs. the success rates of people who had pessimistic beliefs.

The surprising results?

Neither group of people was particularly successful at achieving their goals. Optimists ignored or glossed over obstacles, while self-defeating pessimists didn’t believe in their own capabilities.

Oettingen found that the KEY to successfully reaching goals lies in two cognitive strategies:
(1) Mental Contrasting (visualizing achieving a goal and understanding what obstacles currently stand in the way) and
(2) Implementation Intentions (planning a method for overcoming these obstacles beforehand).

From this research, the acronym WOOP was born:
• Wish – Think about something you want to achieve.
• Outcome – Visualize how it would look and feel to achieve this goal.
• Obstacles – Picture the things that have held, do hold, or could hold you back from reaching this goal.
• Plan – If and when these obstacles occur, how can you respond? If [insert obstacle] occurs, then I will [insert behavior or action] .

As you plan for potential obstacles, talk to your child about bad habits or negative thoughts, including a desire to give up.

You can ask, “If you feel like giving up, what will you do instead?”

Planning for potential obstacles in advance can help your child stay motivated and succeed even in the face of challenges.

Bonus Tip

Here’s a very simple way to help your child follow through with their goals:
• Write them down.

Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews found that by simply writing down your goals, you’re 42% more likely to achieve them. (Telling a friend—or perhaps a parent—increases this rate to 72%.)

This can help your child clarify their goals and feel more motivated to reach them. If you post their goals somewhere prominent, it’ll be easier for your child to see and celebrate their progress.

What if My Child Wants to Give Up on Their Goal?

We’ve all seen it before: Our child begs for a new toy and is over the moon excited when they finally get it. They’re going to play with it every day and love it forever. Less than a week later, we find the neglected toy in a corner of the room, gathering dust.

How can you keep your child’s shiny new goal from this same fate?

Here are a few ideas:
• Remind your child of their purpose.
• Remind them of the plan they developed for confronting this particular obstacle, and help them follow it.
• Recognize and celebrate small steps toward achieving your child’s goal, including climbing the steps on their “goal ladder.”

Instead of focusing on the perceived failure, focus on how they can continue improving. Why do you think it didn’t go so well this time?

What could you try next time to keep getting better?

Celebrate your child’s effort, determination, and persistence. For example, even if they don’t do well on a test, acknowledge the amount of time they spent studying.

Teach your child to have positive self-talk by talking positively about both yourself and your child. Teach statements like, “I can do this,” or, “I’m working hard to reach my goals.”

If they experience setbacks or failures, help them put them in perspective. Give examples of your own struggles at their age, or turn to examples of famous people like Thomas Edison, who reportedly tested 10,000 different materials for his electric lightbulb before finding the one that worked. What if Edison had given up on the 9,999th attempt?


This week, spend time with your child reflecting on the upcoming school year and what they would like to accomplish.

Follow these four steps to help your child set an effective and meaningful goal:

Step 1: Let your child choose their “big goal.”

Step 2: Discuss the purpose of your child’s goal.

Step 3: Break the big goal into smaller steps (and fill out a goal ladder!).

Step 4: Brainstorm potential obstacles, and make a plan for how you will address them.

And remember to put all of it in writing!

180 school days from now, you may be very pleased by both your child’s achievements and the life skills they’ve developed by setting their goal and sticking to it.

If you’d like for your child to get even more help with Goal Setting, join us for our FREE Community Event: Goal Setting Through Board Breaking