When my partner and I started the MSJJO program, I tried to envision the time period that I was most fond of in my journey within the fight community. Without pause, my mind trailed back almost two decades to the very beginning.
Newcomers to the fight scene could not possibly imagine what it felt like to train and be around the MMA / BJJ Community in the early to mid 2000's. In that time, mixed martial arts still felt like a well-kept secret and many of us often speculated as to what direction our "sport" was heading. It is imperative to remember that this was a time period where the average person had no clue what the UFC (or any of it's rival promotions) was and the accessibility to information was relegated to seedy online forums and conventional marketing methods.
Would MMA one day reach the popularity of boxing?
Would the average professional fighter make a livable wage?
Would the UFC one day secure a television deal or return to its previous "Dark Age?"
We now know the answer to many of these questions and the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a distinct sport) has exploded far beyond any of our best estimates. However, somewhere between the rise of new opportunities and contemporary business practices, most have lost sight of the fighting spirit. It is my strong belief that a majority of training facilities exist today to extract as much money from it's members as possible and neglect what it takes to promote their members into talented competitors. To put it simply, most gyms exist today to increase their wealth (utilizing the predatory sales tactics of Americanized Karate) and cut down on their expenses (the sweat and effort to develop great fighters).
In the time period that I remember fondly and have tried to recreate for our members, the atmosphere was more fierce, far more competitive, and permeated comradery. In the absence of opportunities and wealth, there was only performance in the moment. Each individual trained to exhaustion and pushed their peers onward for no reason other than the betterment of the individual and their technique. Development and performance are the cornerstones of Mario Sperry Jiu-Jitsu of Ohio, nothing outside the betterment of our members is important to us...The World is Ours.
MSJJO is honored to be the top training facility in the greater Youngstown, Ohio area. Youngstown has a rich history within the fight community and has produced many great fighters over the last century. It is our dream to one day count our members among them.
Head Trainer & Co-founder
Mario Sperry Jiu-Jitsu of Ohio