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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
via Facebook

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
via Facebook

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
via Facebook

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
via Facebook

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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Healthy Habits for Kids…

Lakeland, Florida, 2007 at the Copa America Grappling Championship:

“Come on, you’ve got 1 more pound to lose!! Put on that garbage bag and go do Jumping Jacks in the sun,” said the parent to his 11 year old son.

I could see the look of fear and desperation on the boys face.
And I could see a grown man living vicariously through his 11 year old boy. And I was disgusted.

As a Mixed Martial Arts Coach, I’ve seen the brunt of some really bad parenting choices. From parents who mentally beat down their child when they lose, to parents who force their kid to cut weight.

Unfortunately, in wrestling/grappling/mma, weight cutting seems to be a part of the sport that is going to stay. Many tournaments are using different rules to help eliminate people from weight cutting (weighing in right before you step on the mat, using the „Madison‟ system, ect). However, it seems like no matter what rules are made, people are still going to cut weight.

This article was written with a child‟s health as being our number one concern. I am not a doctor. I do not have a degree in nutrition. You should consult your doctor/child’s doctor before making any changes to their diet.

“Most parents have their kids use short-term weight-loss methods. These methods involve reducing a child‟s water weight by restricting fluid intake.” Some more drastic methods include:

  • Fasting
  • Using saunas or rubber or plastic workout suits to sweat off water weight
  • Vomiting
  • LaxativesAll of these methods can have serious health consequences for kids, such as:
  • Dehydration
  • Heat exhaustion or heat stroke
  •  Low blood sugar
  •  Fainting
  •   Electrolyte imbalance
  •  Calcium imbalance

Also, “crash diets can impair the normal growth process and actually reduce muscle mass in kids. Athletes who want to lose a significant amount of weight should meet with a sports dietitian in the off season to develop a plan that promotes safe and healthy eating and weight goals.”

The following is a guide to losing weight 6-8 weeks before a competition in order to get down to the weight class that is most reasonable for your child to be competing in. Your child should not be “Cutting Weight” the week of the tournament. They should have taken the appropriate measures months before the tournament so they do not cause any harm to their body.

1) The Basics of Nutrition –

Diet. Let‟s just throw the word right out of the window and let‟s replace it with the phrase “Eating Clean”. Developing a list of “clean” foods your child can and should eat will be a constant reminder of their health. I suggest making a list and putting it on the refrigerator or in the pantry. It seems that trying to discuss the ins and outs of Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats can be very confusing to a child, so building a list will be much easier approach.

Foods to stay away from during training camp

Potato Chips (Cheetos, Fritos, ect)
Candy (chocolate, gummy worms, sweet tarts, ect) Processed Pastry‟s (Twinkies, Ring dings, ect) Fast Food (McDonalds, Burger King, ect)
Ice Cream/Cake/Cookies
Whole Milk
Fried Foods (Friend chicken, French Fries, Ect) High sodium foods (canned soups)

  • The Good Stuff:
    Baked/Broiled meats
    Brown Rice
    Fresh Fruit
    Unsalted Nuts
    Whole Wheat/Grain Pasta and Bread

2) The Relationship of Nutrition to Performance –

Your child needs to understand why they are eating clean. Explain to them that the food and drinks that they put in their body will be their fuel and energy on a day to day basis. Explaining to them their body is a machine and it needs the right fuel to run properly might help them to understand.

Check out –

This website is a great resource for children and offers fun and exciting

games that will help them learn about proper nutrition!

3) The Appropriate Measures to Weight Control –

The USDA recommends at least 1 hour of activity a day for children. Most kids who compete train 3-5 times per week and usually increase their training towards the final weeks of their training camp. Along with their training camp, make sure your child is staying active around the house and not just building up their thumb muscles playing video games.

For more tips on how to get your child active, check out our previous blog article:

What We Love Most About Training in the Martial Arts



SDA’s MyPlate – Home Page. Web. 25 July 2011. <>. “’Cutting’ Weight: A Safe Practice for Youth Wrestlers?” Web. 25 July

2011. <>.

Nelson, Jennifer. “Cutting Liquid Calories More Effective for Weight Loss?” Mayo Clinic. Web. 25 July 2011. <>.

Riccio, Phil. “Cutting Weight the Right Way.” Welcome! – Nashoba Clinton Wrestling. Web. 25 July 2011. <>.