It was a sunny day in Chicago, from the hotel window it looked like a scorching hot summer day. The appearance was deceiving though because once outside, it was just another chilly spring day in the “Windy City”. Thirty-three degrees and gusts of winds strong enough to sway a car. Mike Palladino, a Beacon resident and small business owner made the 800 mile journey to Chicago as one of the two thousand plus competitors representing their native teams or countries in the annual “International Chicago Open” run by the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation). The IBJJF is the governing body of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu around the world, their International tournaments produce champions and competitors of the highest caliber. The mats at Chicago’s International Open would be graced by World Champions, Regional Champions and competitors vying to make a name for themselves by winning glory along with Gold. Mike Palladino opened his Martial Arts Academy in the small(4.9 miles) but beautiful city of Beacon, NY in October of 2014. In the short six month timespan that Evolution Grappling Academy and Beacon Jiu Jitsu has had it’s doors open, it has produced over 25 Medalists at regional tournaments and international tournaments.
If you’re wondering what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is, it’s the fastest growing Martial Art in the world. With the surge of popularity of the Martial Arts films in the 1970’s came the growth of Martial Arts in America. Every young boy, teen and man wanted to be like Bruce Lee. As the Martial Arts surge began so did the bold claims of it’s practitioners vying that their style was the undisputed best. In 1993 viewers witnessed history. For the first time ever, Martial Artists of multiple disciplines were pitted against one another in a “No Holds Barred” tournament to decide the “Ultimate” fighting style. Kung Fu, Aikido, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Sumo, Boxing, Wrestling, and an unknown art called “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu” were all represented by their practitioners to display their arts supremacy. The representative of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was an unassuming, “nerdy”, 165 lb young man named Royce Gracie. Fighting three times in one night against opponents with Herculean physiques, judging simply by looks it would appear as if Royce didn’t stand a chance. At the end of the evening this modest young man would be crowned “The Ultimate Fighting Champion” submitting (tapping out) all of his opponents and putting “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu”
on the map.
At the age of 18, Mike began his journey into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. “At the time, finding a BJJ gym was similar to finding a needle in a haystack. The art was rare, scarce throughout the region and relatively unknown amongst the traditional martial artist community. Fast forward to modern day and BJJ is no longer an “underground” Martial Art. It’s at the forefront of Mixed Martial Arts, Law Enforcement Training and realistic Self-Defense curriculums around the world.” said the now 26 year old. “I fell in love with Jiu Jitsu before even trying it, I saw the physical problem solving that was involved and that sparked my interest. It wasn’t about brute strength and size, it was about technique and dedication. The dedication to immerse yourself in a goal or hobby and not quitting or coming up with excuses when times get tough.” Since immersing himself into BJJ at the age of 18, the Beacon Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school owner has traveled the world to further educate himself and his students in the art. “I’ve always wanted to do Jiu Jitsu with my life, I chomped at the bit at any opportunity to work and travel with BJJ. I’ve refereed for many great organizations, I’ve couch surfed to compete at tournaments, I sold my car and bought a beater and traveled 180 miles a day 3 times a week across the Northeast for quality training. I was offered an opportunity to train in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012 and
I accepted immediately, and I’m so glad I did because it was a life-changing experience.” After his experience in Brazil, Mike quit his full-time job as a renovation specialist in Westchester, NY to focus primarily on training and teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. “I was
making great money working in Westchester, but I wasn’t happy. I dreaded waking up and doing something 50 hours a week when I knew there was something else I should be spending my time and effort on. There’s a Zen saying ‘Leap and the net will appear.’ I leaped, because when your passion calls you- you take that path.”
Last Sunday at Chicago State University, the hard work, dedication and sacrifices of Beacon’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu representative payed off, as Mike took home the Gold medal in the Men’s Lightweight Brownbelt division. Often viewed as the most technical division in the sport, the Lightweight competitors weight limit is 162.5 lbs. Speed, Strength, Conditioning, Technique and Mental Endurance are all ingredients in this division. Under the tutelage of 2x Brazilian World Champion Rafael “Formiga” Barbosa, Mike has honed his skillset and the psychology of the sport, earning a
Bronze Medal at the prestigious Pan Ams this past September. The 26 year old competes for Soul Fighters, an internationally acclaimed,
albeit young Jiu Jitsu powerhouse team. Mike Palladino was one of six, representatives for Soul Fighters all of whom took home Medals. Of the 6 competitors representing Soul Fighters, they earned 3 Gold Medals, 1 Silver Medal and 2 Bronze Medals. A very successful weekend for the team of Jiu Jitsu representatives who traveled to the midwest.
Beacon Jiu Jitsu opened it’s doors in October of 2014. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school in Beacon, NY is quickly making a name for itself as home to the best programs for Adults and Children’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Beacon, Cold Spring, Fishkill and Wappingers
Falls. They have award winning adult programs for Self-Defense and Law Enforcement Training, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as Women’s only fitness classes. Beacon Jiu Jitsu is who Local Law Enforcement chooses, having instructed workshops for the Wappingers Falls Police Department, Green Haven CERT Team, The USMC at Stewart Airport and The
honorable cadets of West Point Military Academy. If you would like more information about Beacon Jiu Jitsu and Evolution Grappling Academy you can visit there website at www.evolution-bjj.com or call 845-214-8134 to schedule your FREE Private lesson.