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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
5
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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
5
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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
5
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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
5
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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
5
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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
5
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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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How Not To Be a Bad Training Partner

How Not To Be a Bad Training Partner

Almost every form of martial arts training requires a training partner of some sort.  In group classes, selection of a good partner can make or break the lesson.  Whether sparring, practicing self defense, working two man forms, or just working out, the partner is key to the lesson, and BEING the partner is often a lesson in and of itself.   Many high level practitioners of the martial arts were often uke (the receiving partner) to their instructors, and many instructors will only work with partners who have an intimate knowledge of what is being taught.  This allows the instructor to demonstrate motions for instructional purposes without injuring their partner.

Not all training partners are created equal, however.   In fact, while being a good partner is a lesson in the Middle Way, it seems that many people prefer to take things to one extreme or the other.   This guide is designed to help these people figure out which extreme they can most easily develop in order to become the worst possible training partner as quickly as possible.   OK, actually, this guide is a checklist of things for you to use as you examine your own actions within class so that you might better serve your classmates and yourself, but if those other types of people are reading, I suppose they might learn something, too, by simply doing the opposite of what is mentioned herein.

Hygiene

Many of us work a full time job (or two) to help fund our martial arts training.   Often, we come right from work, grab a quick bite, change into our uniforms, and rush out to class.   When you get to class, you work hard, sweat a lot, and may even end up a bit…. aromatic… by the end of class.   This is expected, and most people have the grace to deal with it.   But if you walk into class and are already leaving a wake of dead flies, perhaps a quick detour to the rest room for a John Wayne shower is in order.   Most forms of hand to hand combat require proximity to the opponent, and nobody wants to work with a partner who makes their eyes burn. In addition to personal cleanliness, make sure your uniform is clean, and your fingernails (and toenails) are cut.

The other extreme of the hygiene spectrum is the partner who cowers at the mere thought of coming into contact with another person’s sweat.   We are there to work, and the sweat we may encounter while training is a fact of life.   We must learn to deal with it.   In a real life encounter, the bad guy may not have had access to Gold Bond Powder and a hankie, and during the ensuing conflict, we may come into contact with blood, sweat, and other unsavory body by-products.   The time to worry about this is AFTER the conflict has been resolved.  Similarly, in the training environment, we must learn to deal with that which is presented to us.   After we complete the exercise, or at another appropriate time (especially when switching partners), feel free to towel off or to apply some hand gel.

Focus

When studying martial arts, it is not enough to simply be in class, we must be present mentally as much as we are physically.  When learning new techniques, it is normal to stumble at first.  But, if a training partner has no clue what is happening because of a lack of focus, time has to then be taken away from drilling the technique in order to explain the meaning of life, the Universe, and everything.  Or, even worse, a training partner with a lack of focus but ample confidence will jump into the lesson with both feet, but not knowing what is actually supposed to happen, will either end up injured or injuring someone.

Hyper focus, on the other hand, can also be a bad thing.  If a person is so focused on what is being done that they lose awareness of what is actually happening, they are likely to be involved in an accidental injury.  As mentioned, the learning curve involved necessitates that there will be mistakes made as a new technique is drilled.  It is important to remain aware of what our partner is actually doing.  Sometimes they will punch with the wrong hand, or forget to block, or simply freeze.  If we continue with what we are “supposed” to be doing instead of responding to the actual situation, someone will get hit fairly unexpectedly.  Regardless of whether we are working on direct contact or just a pad drill, both partners must remain engaged and alert.

Intensity

The learning environment requires a finely balanced level of intensity.   Go too hard and people get hurt unnecessarily, go too lightly and a false sense of confidence is fostered, which leads to people getting hurt unnecessarily.  In the article “Put a Little Oomph Into Your Training” we discussed finding a perfect balance between the classroom and the real world.  We must train in such a manner that injury is not the foremost thought that crosses our minds, and that a certain amount of effort is required to elicit the responses necessary.

If my training partner is always going 100%,  I cannot focus on taking the time to learn the nuances of a technique because I am too busy defending myself from my partner’s advances.  Conversely, if my partner never puts up any kind of realistic resistance, I will never be able to learn what it takes to make a technique actually work.  A perfect example is the learning of a new take down.  If my partner engages me full force, before I have had a chance to learn how to manipulate his entry force, then I am left with no option but to absorb the attack.  On the other hand, if my partner falls over as soon as I lay hands on him, then I may believe that I know how to put a man on the ground when all I have really learned was a lie about my ability.

Teaching the Better Way

There are many, many ways to execute a given technique.  It is said that each posture in our forms has a thousand applications.  Take that one step further, and each application has a thousand variations.  While a textbook application may work for a student, once we begin modifying the conditions under which the application is applied, we must also adapt the application to match.  I may be stronger, taller, faster than my opponent, but these are only contributing factors, not deciding conditions.  I may grab at the wrong angle when performing at full speed, I may misjudge my foot placement, I may underestimate my opponent.  Any of these factors may make the textbook application that we learn less effective without completely invalidating the technique itself.  However, just as we learned basics and stances before we put on sparring gear, we must fully understand what is being taught before we modify it.

When working with a partner in a group class, it must be understood that, while experimentation with respect is ok, it is NEVER ok to disrespect a teacher by discrediting what he is teaching.  It is better to simply ask for clarification, or to discuss the matter at a more appropriate time.  Similarly, when working with a partner, stay focused on the lesson.  Do not go off on a tangent trying to show your partner a better, more effective technique.  Very often, a new technique is taught a specific way that will allow for later modification.  If something isn’t working, ask the instructor; do not assume that you know better (if you do, it is time to open your own school).  For safety reasons, there can be only one teacher at a time.  For respect reasons, that teacher should be the one leading class.

Realism

Every so often, we come across a student who violates the previous three categories at the same time.  This person decides it is his mission as a training partner to PROVE that something doesn’t work, or that their partner is inferior.  When executing throws, locks, and strikes, he does so with full force and no regard for his partner.  When serving as the recipient of a technique, he refuses to “go with” the technique, thereby not allowing his partner to learn.  When working with an instructor, this type of partner will often resist.  What we must realize is that, when learning, it is necessary to go through the motions at first.  Using the previous example of the throw, we must be able to experience blending with the attacker’s motion, we must learn to find balance as we uproot our opponent, we must learn which muscles to engage in order to move the opponent without causing injury to ourselves, we must learn to control where we place the uke in order to maintain control.  And we must do all of this with control and precision.  Only when everything is done correctly do we start adding force to our motion and resistance to the actions of the attacker.

When a partner offers undo resistance from the very first demonstration, he is allowing ego to enter the training hall.  Most schools I have ever visited do not allow ego in the learning environment, and often have a free ego-checking service.  When serving as a partner to someone trying to demonstrate, you must realize that you can either assist the learning process by following where the instructor leads (thereby gaining deeper insight into the workings of the technique by being the recipient), or you can assist the learning process by allowing the instructor to demonstrate the force and ferocity required to MAKE the technique work.  When I teach, I demonstrate the technique.  You can go with it, or you can resist.  My follow through will not change, though your level of enjoyment might. Similarly, when working with another student, it is important to allow your partner to experience the full range of motion, without ego, so that you both might improve your skills.

Like any relationship, we must work on our relations with other students and other martial artists.  It is important to lay down ego in favor of respect.  There will be times when our experiences are almost magical, but there will also be times during which we are miserable.  Even when we find ourselves paired with a less favorable training partner, we can still learn a lesson: that of healthy boundaries.  If someone is trying to hurt you, you have a right and a responsibility to yourself to defend yourself.  In the kwoon or dojo, this can be as simple as respectfully asking someone to ease up, or even respectfully declining to work with someone who is not clean.  If you have trained long enough, you may even find that you have been the over-enthusiastic partner.  If someone asks you to go slower, simply acknowledge and comply.  By developing a healthy relationship with a training partner, we all stand to gain a deeper understanding of the martial arts; and is not that the goal?

– Article from Michael Evans