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Maria Vega reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
5
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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
5
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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
5
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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
5
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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
5
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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 to Help Parents & Kids Cope with Big Issues During Tough Times

We all need to hone the ability to regulate ourselves, and teach and model for our children and students how to do the same. That means sharpening our social and emotional skills so that we can function and thrive in today’s society—creating healthy relationships and health and wellbeing for ourselves as well. What are the core social and emotional concepts that we need to understand? How does our understanding of how we deal with anger, frustration, shame, discomfort and anxiety play a role on how we relate to others and how we conduct ourselves with others? We all need support in these areas- now more than ever—for both ourselves and the young people we care for each day.

Important Messages:

  • Tiny guides are 18 separate guides that walk people through how to cope, manage and understand issues like anger and frustration as well as anxiety and dignity—understand the world around you especially when things are complex and pretty stressful- like now.
  • Emotional granularity: the ability to have a wide range of precise, specific words to describe how you are feeling. This is important because our culture doesn’t affirm the complex feelings of children and teens. Young people have very strong feelings. We need to give them tools to talk about their emotions so that they aren’t controlled by those feelings and are able to speak, draw or write about them. We all need this- so much more obvious now since this is a very tough time.
  • One of the things we should NOT say to young people: “I know how you are feeling, I was your age once too.” Even though it’s true that you were their age, nobody knows what someone else’s life experiences are. We can relate to someone- you may have similar experiences but the world is different. This pandemic makes things different too.
  • Young people are growing up with no privacy. The people who are posting things about what is private is their parents- who are posting things about their children since they were little. If you think back to your own childhood- imagine it was your own parents who were taking away your privacy. What would that have been like?
  • If our kids are going through a hard time, we need to instead be saying;
    • “I was your age once but I actually don’t know what it’s like to be you and I don’t know what it’s like to grow up today and it’s way more complex. I give you much respect for the fact that you are having to live in this world and you are going through this and I want to listen.”
    • “I’m really sorry. Thank you so much for trusting me to tell me and together let’s think through how to deal with this problem.”
  • Kids shut down when we go into fix it mode or we start asking a ton of questions.
  • We watch our kids going through things that are frustrating and we wind up having trouble knowing how to get involved and when to get involved. We get frustrated with ourselves, with each other.
  • We have had so much family togetherness. Right now people are really frustrated.
  • Frustration is a feeling and your feelings are your feelings. You are entitled to your feelings! It’s what you do with them that is important and we have to consider. It points to how you regulate these feelings when you feel these feelings.
    • Adapt
    • Avoid
  • What do you avoid talking about when you get frustrated—and why? What areas are you able to adapt to more easily? Avoidance strategies- you know that in the short term they make you feel better but they don’t solve the problem. Example: Dishes in the sink. “Fine, I’ll do it.” Kid gets away with being a bad roommate. Enables child. Deals with problem in short term. Or some people blame others. No need to feel shame. Give yourself grace with how you are handling things. Don’t judge yourself or others.
  • Be hard on ideas and soft on people. But our culture does the opposite. We are so judgey.
  • Seeing parents judge each other- losing the ability to be the village we need to be for one another. We need to adapt instead. Step back.
  • For example- strategy. The person who is less triggered and reactive, is the one who talks to the child when something needs to be addressed. That person must be on the same page. Be clear about the 3 things that have to be communicated to the kids—whomever is taking the lead.
  • Young people have been raised in a culture that shows that somebody else’s embarrassment or humiliation is someone else’s entertainment.
  • Need to deal with leadership that says “if you don’t agree with me, you are a problem.”
  • Many people are abysmal talking about race. Many parents believe that it’s enough to talk to kids about kindness and equality- it’s not. Come from generation of not having debate and talking about history regarding race and racism.
  • If we aren’t able to get into a discussion and be in a relation with you so we understand what was your purpose? We want to talk about this. If they can not authentically and purposefully have that conversation and say “I want to have that conversation” and understand their point of view and listen—and be listened to- then it’s an opportunity to learn and be better for it- if we toss them out, they will find another community—and it will be one that agrees with them. That doesn’t challenge them. Why was I proud? Why did I do something that was incredibly hurtful to others?
  • What was the avoidable education around them? What was their upbringing? Could they be open to learning? We don’t want to lose the opportunity to have discourse. They wind up getting angrier and blaming more- fuel to the fire.
  • Listening is being prepared to be changed by what you hear.
  • If it’s a pattern of behavior where people are demonstrating callousness and a purposeful disregard for the dignity of other people then that is the criteria upon which you say that ‘you can’t be a member of this community because you can’t be in relation with other people in our community that is based on dignity- the worth of other people.
  • Connect it to dignity. Treat the person with dignity because they made a mistake. You don’t respect the actions of that person but will treat you with dignity- as we go through the process of trying to repair your relationship to this community. If you can’t do this—then this is not the place for you.
  • BUT- anger can be helpful. Anger—channeling into change. Anger meets productive discomfort.
  • Understand legacy of anger so you know how it comes out and affects you. Have you been told not to be angry with people in authority? Elders? Being angry is okay. What were you permitted to do? If I am not being treated with dignity, then I have a right to be angry. If someone else is not being treated with dignity, you have a right to be angry. Separate the position from the person.
  • If you speak out against the person, it doesn’t mean you don’t have respect for the position. Separate dignity and respect.
  • Leaders, coaches, teachers, parents, police officers- some are wonderful, some are not great. People who count the most in school are the young people. That doesn’t mean they can do what they want. But their dignity matters. If the people in power treat kids with respect, the kids will meet them more than half way. Kids feel when they are treated with dignity. They want to be in school. They want to be in relationships with adults. But they don’t want to be in relationships with adults who are dominating and abusive.
  • Some school resource officers are wonderful. However, what is the larger context? Many SROs are often in schools that are urban with people of color—in full armor-even though most school shootings happen in white areas with white males as the active shooters. What is the larger context? Does this really make the school safer? Some have changed lives but we have to have a harder look at certain cases where there is a mismatch. If the child doesn’t understand or doesn’t agree, are they being defiant?
  • The principle of dignity is where you start. It’s the inherent worth of every person. Everything flows from there.
  • You don’t have to know everyone else’s story to know they have a story. If you knew the reason- you probably would understand why they are acting in the way that they are. Better understanding. Doesn’t excuse. But helps understand. Becomes easier to navigate difficult situation.

Notable Quotables:

  • “People need very concise bits of information to help them manage 
  • themselves through difficult times and they needed them separated…and if you have young people at home, they need a way to talk to young people about the experiences you were feeling, as a parent or the experiences they are feeling, as children.” 
  • “Young people can have very strong, powerful feelings and it can be very hard to articulate what those feelings are even under the best of circumstances. It’s so important for young people to be able to take these feelings and be able to process them, put words to them, to draw them. Once they start to do this, the feelings don’t control them as much and don’t have the same power to be able to affect their behavior.”
  • “It’s so deeply important and life -affirming and life-saving to be able to have an experience and put words to it and images to it. That’s what emotional-granularity does. There is a very big difference between words like sadness and despair. We have to give young people those tools.”
  • “We should never say to young people: ‘I know how you are feeling, I was your age once too.’ Even if it’s true that you were their age once, nobody knows that someone else’s life experiences are. You can relate. You can say; ‘I have had a similar experience’ but it’s not the same. And even before the pandemic we shouldn’t be saying that because the way that they have been raised and the culture in which they have been raised is vastly different from the way that we are raised. And with the last 4 months, I don’t think any adult can say to any young person with any credibility that ‘I know what it was like to be your age.’ You don’t.”
  • “We want to be hard on ideas and soft on people. But we live in a culture that is hard on people and soft on ideas.”
  • Young people have been raised in a culture that we all, in some way, participate in that shows that somebody else’s embarrassment or humiliation is someone else’s entertainment.
  •   “Most white people have been absolutely abysmally irresponsible about talking to their kids about race and racism. They’’’ say; ‘I’m uncomfortable and I’m not racist and I didn’t raise my kids to be racist. I taught my child that everyone is equal and we should love everyone with kindness and compassion but it’s not enough and it never has been.”
  • “We must listen. Listening is being prepared to be changed by what you hear.”
  • “If there is a pattern of behavior where people are demonstrating callousness and a purposeful disregard for the dignity of other people then that is the criteria upon which you say that ‘you can’t be a member of this community because you can’t be in relation with other people in our community that is based on dignity’ – the essential worth of other people. Then it’s based on the principles of the institution not ‘you did something bad so now you need to go.’”
  • “We each carry a legacy of how we can communicate and express our anger. That has to do with our socio-economic class, our gender, our race, our religion, our birth order. All of these things will inform how we express our anger. It’s important to have some self-knowledge about what that legacy is for you and to be able to say so when does that get me off my rails? When does that make me not treat myself or others with dignity? When does my anger turn into self righteousness? When does my anger turn into self-hatred?”
  • “If there are adults in positions of power and authority, the people we are supposed to respect, if those people treat young people with dignity, young people will meet those adults more than half way.”
  • “People who count the most in school are the young people. That doesn’t mean they can do what they want but their dignity matters. If the people in power treat kids with respect, the kids will meet them more than half way. Kids feel it when they are treated with dignity. They want to be in school. They want to be in relationships with adults. But they don’t want to be in relationships with adults who are dominating and abusive.”
  • “What we are seeing around the county is young people demanding their dignity.”
  • “It’s hard to feel what you can’t see.”
  • “The principle of dignity is where you start. It’s the inherent worth of every person. Everything flows from there. “
  • “You don’t have to know everyone else’s story to know they have a story.”