Thursday, December 22, 2011

“The Light Bulb”

As students, it’s often easy to dismiss a technique as, “not for me”. Sometimes, we might feel a move is “too difficult”, or that it doesn’t fit “our” game. However, I’ve found that drilling techniques we don’t like right now will often help our BJJ growth.

A long time ago, JoJo said that not every technique will work out exactly the way he teaches it, but we should still see the opportunities.

While I've had tons of these experiences in my BJJ carereer – so far, two stick out:

  • The first was when JoJo introduced me to the “Brabo Choke”. I was stuck in the half-guard of a skilled guard player. Suddenly, he moved to a position that resembled position that JoJo had said was ideal for the submission. I went for it, and quickly got the tap;
  • The second time was just a couple of weeks ago. While I’ve had plenty of instruction from JoJo and Tito Hartz about leg locks in the past. They’ve never really been at the top of my list, but last week JoJo taught us a different variation, and my eyes were opened. While I wasn’t able to do exactly what JoJo taught, the blinders came off and I found myself in a whole new world.

A day later, a group of ECU students and I were talking. Amid the laughing and joking, many of us admitted that our favorite submissions were the result of a similar experience.

Our teachers give us the map to success. It’s up to us to find the right route.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

“Jared Weiner Seminar November 19, 2011”

For the first seminar at ECU’s new location, we, once again had the privilege of Jared Weiner as our guest instructor.

I’ve been lucky enough to attend classes at Jared’s own school, as well as attend a seminar he’s given at ECU. Even with other options at my disposal, I knew that I didn’t want to miss a Jared Weiner seminar at ECU.

The turnout was HUGE!

Even though Jo-Jo has moved us to a “bigger boat” space was still tight. That said, everyone in the place was eager to learn what Jared had to say.

We started with a slick takedown. I’d never considered turning an arm-drag into a leg-trip before, but I definitely want to add it to my arsenal.

Next, Jared taught us two great ways to pass an open guard. I absolutely loved these techniques. At one point, Jared asked me what the principles of this pass were, my immediate answer was, “MEAN, NASTY, and SLOW!”

Later we learned how to turn side control or “knee on floating rib” techniques into Triangle chokes.

Finally, we worked on De LaRiva/X Guard transitions. There was some really cool stuff there. Jared showed us techniques that looked intimidating at first, but once anyone tried it, could be incorporated into every ECU students’ game.

This might not be my last post about this seminar, as I have several other ideas. I also know several candidates for guest authorship that will do this outstanding seminar justice.

I want to thank JoJo for once again bringing Jared to our school, and thank Jared for running an amazing seminar.

After the seminar there were numerous promotions, but I'll save that for another day.

Monday, November 14, 2011


If my five+ years of training with JoJo Guarin have taught me anything, I’ve learned that anyone and everyone can study Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and that if BJJ isn’t your thing, ECU still has plenty to offer.

At ECU there are tall students, small students, women students, fat students, skinny students, strong students, old students, young students; and too many other combinations and variations for me to count.

JoJo welcomes everyone, and has a unique talent for ensuring that every student reaches their maximum potential.

Whether you want grappling, striking, yoga, or simply to get fit, talk to JoJo.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

“Mix It Up”

I know I’ve partially mined this territory recently, but my latest collaboration with Eric Guido encouraged me to re-visit this topic.

As most of my regular readers know, I’m an older student with destroyed knees and various other injuries – 99% percent were pre BJJ.

Looking elsewhere is not always a bad idea as a good instructor in another Art or simply a different training regimen can never hurt.

Many of my training partners, including JoJo, have visited a local cross-fit program run by ECU Purple Belt Dan Stearns. While I’ve heard endless praise of the program, I realize that I’m not the right candidate.

However, JoJo has offered me a KickBoxing program that has let my knees feel better than they have in nearly twenty-five years.

At ECU, there’s also a Yoga program that gives every student the chance to improve their core and/or flexibility.

I love BJJ, but sometimes we have to step outside our comfort zones in order to take the next steps.

Fortunately, I train at an academy where I have plenty of opportunities.

Fundamentals Part II

This is part two of my study of an ECU Fundamentals Class. Once again, I have to thank ECU Fundamentals Instructor Eric Guido for his insight and help in describing the second half of an ECU Fundamentals class. This time, I’ve used Eric’s ideas, but have put them in my own words:

The second half of an ECU Fundamentals class is devoted to self-defense. ECU Black-Belt Walter Zayas is not only an expert on BJJ self-defense; he also holds belts in many other disciplines.

Over the past few years Walter has trained Eric and others in seamlessly incorporating various styles into ECU’s self-defense program.

The self defense program has definitely increased in intensity over the past few weeks. Let’s face it, very few of us will be UFC fighters, but there is a chance that we may encounter a confrontation in the street.

They also remind students on a regular basis that first and foremost Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art. It is great and amazing that we can train at nearly 100% and test each other on the mats and in tournaments constantly but what good would it be if you are a Brown Belt in BJJ but can't defend yourself against a headlock or someone throwing a punch at you?

Walter goes way beyond that and teaches knife and gun defense as well as simple combat techniques.

Eric is extremely excited about the direction the ECU Fundamentals is taking. It has become a class that everyone can benefit from it.

Most ECU Fundamentals Classes have an equal mix of White-Belts and Veterans. I absolutely LOVE the direction that Eric and JoJo have taken.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fundamentals Part 1

Occasionally I stop by for an ECU fundamentals class. Eric Guido always teaches an excellent class. I asked Eric what he and JoJo thought a “Fundamentals” class should entail, and was so happy with the result that I, again, let Eric tell the story with only necessary edit:


A while back, Jojo approached me after I was finished teaching the fundamentals class and had said to me "Eric I want you to focus more on basic movements and drills for these guys rather than chaining moves together. This was after he had caught the end of the class and I was showing a body-surfing drill into a gi choke.

While this might seem like a very basic move for me, but Jo-Jo and I had a difference of opinion. I always try to analyze whatever Jojo says about Jiu Jitsu to me for several reasons: 1) he has been my Professor for many years and I have learned a tremendous amount from him and have nothing but the highest respect for him and 2) because of #1, he knows a hell of a lot more than I do when it comes to our art.

During this time period I also noticed something as well, the newer white belts felt very weak to me when we were rolling. This was not because I was on some insane workout program and getting stronger as I got older, it was something else.

I quickly decided that I had only one option - in order to go forward we had to take a giant leap back. I decided that the fundamentals class would be the time to build everyone’s BJJ foundations. It was going to be a time where we would do all of those old-school drills that I did when I first started and really start to develop everyone’s core and functional strength.

My starting point had obviously been knowledge and drills that were passed onto me by my instructors. This would consist of lots of guard drills...lifts, squats, arm bar drills, sit-ups, etc... The one lingering question I had in my mind had been this, if Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is supposed to give the little guy the advantage in a fight, how can I sell that strength is important in our martial art?

Well, my answer came to me in 2 different directions. My first answer came from taking a look at my professor, who is about 160 pounds and the second came from a book, "Drill to Win," by Andre Galvao. Both of them gave me the same answer: FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH. One excerpt from the book sums up the answer I needed to go in the direction I wanted:

"Don't overlook the importance of getting your body in shape, your muscles strong, your ligaments flexible, and your equilibrium stable. I purposefully put strength and balance drills ahead of technical ones so that your body will be ready to perform common jiu-jitsu movements in the following months."

This was surely the major difference between those of us who have been training for a long time and the new guys who have yet to develop that core and functional strength needed to train.

Fast forward a couple of months: Fundamentals class has been completely changed. There is no technique, only drilling. Drills that I’ve learned; Drills that I have taken from Andre Galvao's book; and Some new ones that I have come up with on my own.

Picture this, 4 minutes of circuit drilling starting with in-place drills, down-the-mat and concluding with partner drills, all of which being used to push your body in the right direction it needs to go to get better at jiu-jitsu.

An Rickson Gracie black-belt once told me the single most important drill you can do is the hip escape, and there is no shortage of those being done. Your hips and core are responsible for controlling the fight.

I've noticed guys who could not finish a set of 10 squats while their partner is in their guard, are now banging them out with ease. Guys who could not do 10 gi pull-ups can now do them for a minute straight. When sparring in the later class, I notice the guard posture to be a lot stronger than it was and in only 4 weeks ago.

I notice that my guard has gotten a lot stronger because of drilling with my students.

I look forward to working with all of Eric's student's in the future.

I thank everyone for reading the ECU BJJ and MMA blog and hope you've all enjoyed Eric's insight.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

“An Awesome Opening Night!”

On September 26, I had the pleasure of attending the ECU mothership’s Grand Re-Opening at our new location on Central Avenue in White Plains, New York. JoJo and various team members worked tirelessly to ensure that JoJo could find a facility that would fit the growing ECU family within a week.

Even with the outstanding new facility, opening night enthusiasm strained our new facility’s limits – but there are plans already in place for the future.

I was extremely happy to see the largest crowd I’ve ever seen at an ECU training session, and I can’t wait to see how many people the new ECU brings into the family.

Moving can sometimes be hard for everyone involved, but this time it seems like JoJo and everyone else at ECU have traded an apartment for a home.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

“An Exciting Time!”

With the original ECU location straining under its rapid growth, JoJo has had his eye out for a larger space. After considering several options, JoJo found an excellent new facility that will fit the new ECU.

From a student’s perspective, the new facility promises more room to train, easy access from virtually anywhere in Westchester County, and great parking. Of course, the instruction and training will remain as great as always.

While I’ve played only a small role in helping to facilitate the move, I was happy to help. I was even happier to see JoJo’s enthusiasm. He’s dove into this project head-first, and has accomplished in a week what would take most people a month.

According to JoJo, “I'm driven to finish The New ECU in Record Time!

I can’t wait to post about our first night at the new ECU!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

“An ‘Accidental’ Instructor”

ECU Fundamentals Instructor Eric Guido chose BJJ by accident. Following his graduation from St. John’s University, Eric decided he wanted to get into shape. He found a boxing program at a gym in White Plains, NY.

One day, when he came for his typical workout, he found out that the gym had been taken over by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Legend Sean Alvarez. Sean eventually convinced Eric to "TRY" a class. Eric couldn't move the next day. He was sore in places he never knew existed. Sean told Eric, "I understand, BJJ isn’t for everyone..." and Eric promptly paid up-front for a year knowing full well that it was FOR HIM.

Since then, Eric has made a steady rise through the ranks. JoJo quickly recognized that Eric’s analytical mind and dedication to BJJ, made him an excellent choice as an Assistant Instructor at ECU.

Eric’s goals as an instructor are:

· To pass on the valuable lessons that have been passed on to me that help everyone on and off the mat;

· Do my best to pass on our style of Jiu-Jitsu, always thinking WWJJD (What would Jojo do) while encouraging people to find their own style at the same time;

· To always continue learning as much as I can, trying out new techniques, new positions, while always maintaining the "never stop learning" attitude;

· There should never be a move that you say "Is not for me," because of your size, strength or physical limitations; and

· Always keep an open mind and train hard.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

“Mr. B-Kim”

The rapid growth of ECU has required that Jo-Jo find assistant instructors to meet the demand for more and more classes. I thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to a few of them.

Brian Kim is definitely one of ECU’s prodigies. Barely three years ago, Brian realized that simply training at the gym was boring, and he needed a better challenge – now he’s an ECU Purple Belt and one of Jo-Jo’s Assistant Instructors.

As a former wrestler, Brian decided that grappling might be fun. He found Jo-Jo. Training under Jo-Jo, Brian quickly became an elite competitor.

Brian’s rapid rise includes numerous competition titles, and his current roles as Head Children’s Instructor, and Tuesday/Wednesday Day Instructor at ECU, give Brian plenty to think about.

Brian handles everything “Expertly”. Jo-Jo definitely made the right decision when he named Brian one of his assistant instructors.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

“I thought I knew how to Punch”

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of visiting my brother and his family. During some downtime, I checked out my brother’s garage/boxing gym. For fun, I hit my brother’s heavy bag a few times.

While I was hitting the bag, I heard a laugh from behind me. It was my four-year-old nephew Curtis. He had moved a lighter bag into his range and went to town on it. “You have to punch like this Uncle Henry.” Curtis told me - and then proceeded to show me.

If a four-year-old tells me I need to work on my striking technique, I’d figured I needed to learn how to strike. Fortunately, ECU has regular striking classes right here in Westchester that are taught by professional MMA fighters. So I said to myself, “What the hell?” And started training striking at ECU.

I thought my years of watching Joey Kocur videos had taught me enough, but I was wrong. Jo-Jo has completely transformed my striking – and that’s after only three classes.

It turns out that I really don’t know how to throw a punch.

JoJo patiently guided me through my first class. Since then, I’ve had to learn both how to strike properly, and be an excellent training partner.

But I’m learning quickly. What I couldn’t do yesterday seems easy today.

Imagine what I do will do in a year?

So, I’d strongly suggest that anyone who has ever thought of trying an ECU striking class get there ASAP.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another Great Seminar at ECU!

On Saturday July 9, 2011, JoJo hosted yet another outstanding seminar at ECUBJJ. One of the JoJo’s great strengths as a school owner is his ability to recognize the many different ways he can help his students improve. “When we have seminars, I like to bring in people who have different games than mine so everybody can see different things.”

As a student, I definitely appreciate that. In the less than two years that ECU has been open, I’ve had the privilege of attending seminars given by Black Belts such as “Rob G.”, Jared Weiner, and Justin Garcia, as well as Leg-Lock expert Tito Hartz. Every single seminar has shown me a slightly different perspective that I’d like to think has helped me grow my game.

Saturday’s seminar brought a new player to the game – NJ United MMA & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu owner, and head instructor Jay Hayes. Barely eight years into the BJJ game, Jay currently holds the rank of Black Belt, is a multiple-time Pan Am medalist, and a school owner. When JoJo told me about Jay, I knew this was a seminar I didn’t want to miss.

I’m glad I didn’t.

Even though I arrived a little later than I’d hoped (I had to go home to get my no-gi gear), I loved the way Jay linked the techniques he taught and didn’t overload us with too much information.

While I missed Mr. Hayes’ takedown-defense philosophies, the great Josh Kaplan filled me in. Even secondhand, I could see the advantages.

I did make it back in time for Jay’s exploration of the Guillotine Choke. Jay showed tons of details that made the guillotine much more effective for me (and I hope everybody else at the seminar).

Jay’s details gave me the confidence and skills to finish a choke that I haven’t hit for a long time but, finished six times in three rounds of sparring on the day of the seminar.

I’d like to thank JoJo for bringing Jay to ECU, and I definitely want to thank Jay for putting the guillotine back in my arsenal.

As always thanks for reading the ECU BJJ & MMA Blog. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed the seminar.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Recently, JoJo has placed a renewed emphasis on submissions. According to JoJo, “We need to work on submitting our opponents.”

To help us accomplish that goal, JoJo has been introducing new drills that emphasize submitting our opponent.

While I’m admittedly only an occasional competitor (and far from elite when I do), I can see the wisdom of this approach.

Tournament matches typically last anywhere from five to ten minutes. Even the most finely conditioned athletes will eventually tire after four or five matches that go the distance. A quick submission will give the competitor time to rest physically, and mentally prepare for their next opponent.

The second huge advantage is even more evident. In grappling competitions, submissions immediately end the match. Whether you are leading on points, or down significantly, if you earn a submission YOU WIN!

Finally, earning a submission victory lets a competitor win without leaving the match in the hands of referees/judges. As JoJo says, “You can’t fight the ref.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


While I’ve touched on relations of this topic before, my experiences during Monday’s day class reminded me that I’ve been slacking in my studies, and that an instructor can help his or her students in some simple ways.

Kim is one of ECU’s newest warrior women. After JoJo showed a slick take-down to submission, Kim asked JoJo what the techniques were called. JoJo named the techniques and Kim said that it would help her remember them better.

For the Student:

Write down what you’ve learned after every class. Taking notes/pictures might even help during class. Just don’t post anything on YouTube without your instructor’s permission. :)

For the Teacher:

Try to give every technique/drill a name. It makes it easier for us students to remember. ECU Brown-Belt, and No-Gi instructor Jordan Lutsky dubbed an inverted-guard drill, “The Under the Legs Twirly Drill” – guess the name that’s burned into my mind? I’ve become quite good at that drill.

Before I hit class tomorrow, I’m going to buy myself a brand-new notebook, and make sure that I’m taking notes from now on.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

“A Deep Breath”

First, and foremost I’d like to apologize for the delay between posts. However, I feel that the delay fits perfectly with this topic.

For the past few months, I’ve often talked about how intense the training has been at ECU. That training paid off!

Numerous ECU students medaled in competitions large and small. Those who didn’t compete learned what it meant to train like a champion.

Now that we’re in a lull between competitions, JoJo has wisely decided to throttle down the intensity so that all ECU students can heal and get stronger.

As JoJo likes to say after our typically intense warm-ups, “Take a deep breath and get some water.”

I’d like to think that this month JoJo is giving ECU a collective chance to take that breath and work on what we need to improve.

JoJo: “Intense training all the time can burn everyone out so we have to tone it down and repair our beaten up bodies. That way, we’ll all be ready for the next season of hard training.”

Friday, May 20, 2011

Go With the Flow!

The other day I attended an ECU day class. ECU Fundamentals instructor Eric Guido ran a great class.

Later Eric and I did a first-round of sparring. As two similar-weight Purple Belts it’s natural that we’d both resort to our standard games. When I talked about it later with JoJo, he said, “So you and Eric ended up hugging each other for six minutes”.

I sheepishly admitted that JoJo’s evaluation was pretty much the case. However, a round later, I suggested to Eric that we follow JoJo’s advice and have a “non-competitive” round.

So we did.

Eric and I hit submissions, but didn’t finish them. Sweeps we could have fought, we let happen. At the end, Eric and I opened up our games so much that most people watching us didn’t think Eric and I were capable of so much movement.

I want to thank JoJo for putting the idea in my head, and Eric for making the round so much fun.

Sometimes, the way to advance isn’t trying to dominate every opponent. Sometimes, we all need to put our egos aside and just have some fun.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Every Hurt is a Lesson

I don’t know how many readers of this blog watch the excellent new HBO show “Game of Thrones”, but I recommend it to everyone.

The reason I mention “Game of Thrones” is that it perfectly fits something that JoJo said the other night.

JoJo: “Who cares if you get tapped out in class? Class is when you try new things. You find out what works for you, and what you need to work on."

A couple of days later, I watched an episode of “Game of Thrones”, when Eddard Stark saw his daughter standing precariously on the top of the stairs, he expressed his concern:

Arya Stark (fictional character): “Master Syrio says every hurt is a lesson, and every lesson makes us better.”

I’ll talk more about this in the future, but I thought it was really cool that fact and fiction fit together so nicely.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Too Much Competition Talk

My most recent posts have focused on competition. That’s simply because it’s competition season. However, ECU operates all year. While I think the competition posts have been interesting, JoJo and I want to give everyone the full picture of what ECU has to offer.

Most ECU students compete rarely - if ever. However we all train to the best of our abilities.

ECU offers MUCH MORE than some of the most intense BJJ Competition training on the East Coast.

JoJo offers striking training by professional MMA fighters. He also makes sure that there are BJJ Fundamentals classes for beginners (and I’ll add that even the more experienced students would do well to stop by the Fundamentals class from time to time). He has also begun a “Women Only” BJJ class. Saturday mornings, JoJo also adds a Yoga class to the mix.

ECU students range in age from three to fifty+. Every single student is a member of the family. We may approach our journey in different ways, and for different reasons, but we all do our best to help our family reach their goals.

ECUBJJ welcomes everyone. Even if you don’t think you’re quite ready for “The Grinder”, you can find an ECUBJJ class that’s right for you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Actually Like “The Grinder”

A while back, JoJo asked JT to put the ECU Competition Team through, “The Grinder”.

JT introduced us to “Beat Down” training. It can be long, intense and brutal. It’s designed to make sure that ECU competitors can stand up to the toughest conditions possible. As an older student who rarely competes, I wasn’t enthused at first.

ECU Competition Team members are placed in “no-win” situations, and challenged to win.

So far, JT has introduced us to two different scenarios – both of which I’m particularly ill-suited for – involving defending yourself in open space.

While my first thoughts were negative, I eventually realized that these drills would help me tremendously. They forced me to do, as Rob G. had suggested, “Open Up your game and have fun.”

While I don’t think that any sane person would consider their time in the crucible of a “Beat Down” session “fun”, it’s definitely opened up my game. I’m constantly forced out of my comfort zone and find myself trying all sorts of new things. Some work, some don’t but the further we go, the more I learn.

After a competition class, I had the chance to talk with JT about my revelation, and he agreed that it was purpose of the drills.

As last week’s “Grinder” ended, I realized how much I had learned in a single week. When talking to JoJo later, he said, “I want to make training here so hard, that competition is easy.”

While I rarely compete, I like to train like I do when I’m healthy. While I cannot provide personal proof of how much this has helped me, I can provide proof that JoJo’s methods work in the form of Jordan Lutsky.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Are You Competition Ready?

If one thing is readily clear to me, it’s that JoJo cares about his students – even when he’s in “MEAN” competition training mode.

While JoJo and I were discussing the confusion about how the ECU family should register for tournaments (ECUBJJ), JoJo also mentioned how he would like to see every ECU student get approval from their instructor before entering competition.

“I’d like for every student to get approval from their instructor before they compete. Only their instructor knows if they’ve been training enough to compete without getting hurt.”

Friday, April 15, 2011

Three Schools (for now) – One Family – ECUBJJ

ECU’s exponential growth has created a bit of confusion. What started out as fifteen students at the North White Plains location in late 2009 has grown into a three school family with over 150 students.

When entering a competition, many students wonder what academy they should put on their entry form. Some choose, “ECUQueens”, others ”ECUFairfield”, some might even choose “East Coast United”. JoJo was understandably dismayed by this confusion.

All ECU students, no matter where they train, should be listing their affiliation as ECUBJJ.

BTW: The ECU family continues to grow. Leg-lock expert Tito Hartz will soon be opening ECU Bronx.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Are You Ready for “The Grinder”?

As we prepare for “Competition Season”, ECU’s training becomes more intense. This past Monday at the Purple+ class, JoJo instructed ECU Competition Team coach JT Torres to, “put them through the grinder.”

JT certainly did.

After a quick, but intense warm-up we did numerous rounds of grip-fighting, which is always intense. While many of us were already breathing heavily, the night was just starting.

Then it was time for “Beat Downs”. While I’m not going to go into any details, let’s just say that Beat Downs are probably the most intense drills I’ve seen in my five years of BJJ. JT, a world-class competitor, considers them so important that he does them several times a day when he’s getting ready for a competition.

Even though JT is in Abu Dhabi for the next two weeks, the Beat Downs did not end. At last night’s competition team class, JoJo brought them back. For well over an hour, ECU student after ECU student, finally ending with what ECU Fairfield co-founder Joe Oppedisano called a three-hour workout in 8 minutes.

If you want to learn more about Beat Downs you’ll have to visit ECU.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Great Day!

This past Saturday, ECU held its first ever In-House Tournament. Not only was pride at stake, but also the opportunity to represent ECU in the Team Competition at the ACOM Sports tournament on April 30th.

After many a hard-fought battle, ECU’s “A-Team” was finally crowned.

Heavyweight – Andrew Lobsenz

Light – Heavyweight – Jeff Schneider

Middleweight – Alex Nachaev

Welterweight – Brian Kim

Lightweight – Tom Waldren

Congratulations to everyone who competed, and I hope everyone enjoyed the post-tourney BBQ.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

“We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat!”

As I looked for a parking space at ECU last night, I was shocked at the number of cars in the lots. I was finally able to snake my way into a tight space.

Since I had arrived on the early side, the White Belt/Blue Belt class was still in full swing. When I stepped inside, I saw approximately, thirty people on the mats. Seminar Numbers!

As the Purple+ crew arrived, it became apparent that we were looking at a record night. So, of course we took a few pictures, even though several of the Purple+ students were still changing, and one was taking the pictures, ECU now has more Purple+ Belts than it had students on opening night.

Despite missing a few people, we hit a record. I think it says a ton about Jo-Jo, ECU’s other instructors, and ECU’s students that we’re in danger of outgrowing our facility in just a year-and-a-half.