THORNWOOD, N.Y. - A team of three fighters from Defend University's Team Gracie-Thornwood took second place overall in the East Coast Regional NAGA Tournament at Western Connecticut State University Saturday and Sunday.
Rich Mac took second place and a silver medal in the adult Gi Divison, Zef Vitaj placed first for the gold in the Teen No-Gi Division and Brody McGuinn placed first in both the Gi and No-Gi Divisions for Under-12 competitors.
North American Grappling Association tournaments features Brazilian Ju-Jitsu ground fighting techniques where participants win matches by Tap Out (pin) or by points.
The three local fighters train at Gracie Thornwood under the eyes of coaches Mike DeBiase and Tony Gioffre. Fighters train three to four days a week mastering the form of Ju-Jitsu developed by Helio Gracie, which emphasizes ground fighting utilizing leverage and timing to gain submissions through choke holds, arm bars, and compression locks.
McGuinn, who also plays for the Valhalla Vikings Youth Football Club and Kensico Little League, said the individual sport is a challenge.
“When I play football if a play doesn’t work out it’s always easy to blame some other guy," McGuinn said. "But if things go bad here you can’t blame anybody but yourself.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.