San Diego Super Bowl Brawl – 2012

•February 5, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday was one of the highlights of my wrestling life.  I participated in the SCWAY San Diego Super Bowl Brawl at Escondido HS.  Competed in two weight divisions, 95 lbs and 100 lbs and I went 7-0 with all pins.  This was one of the best San Diego tournaments ever, with tough teams from all over the state, like the USA Pounders, California Grapplers, Brawley Spartans, Oak Hills Dawg Town and of course all the top San Diego kid’s wrestling teams.  My team, No Mercy School of Wrestling took second place just behind Poway Elite.

It was one of the rare tournaments where they actually gave out trophies instead of medals, and they gave them for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place!  But best of all, SCWAY found a way to get four signed NFL Footballs autographed by Stephen Neal!  Besides being the proud owner of THREE Super Bowl rings earned as a guard for the New England Patriots he also won TWO NCAA wrestling championships.  Most athletes can’t win one of these five things!  Oh yeah, the guy he beat in the NCAA Heavyweight Finals in 1999?  Former UFC Champ Brock Lesnar!

You know what’s even more amazing than beating Brock Lesnar? Mr. Neal never even played football in college!  Does that tell you how tough wrestlers are?  And yes, he’s now in the wrestling Hall of Fame.  He was a four-time Pac-10 champ, four-time NCAA All-American and two-time NCAA heavyweight champ for Cal State Bakersfield, plus he won the 1999 World Championships in freestyle in Turkey.

Somehow I was selected as one of the two Middle School Outstanding Wrestlers and received one of the Stephen Neal signed footballs!  There were plenty of other kids who deserved the award at least as much as I did, but I was blessed to get it this year. It’s my last year to compete in the San Diego Super Bowl Brawl, so words can’t explain how happy I was to win.  My little buddy from the USA Pounders Guillermo also won one for the Elementary School Division.  He’s a beast!!!

The vibe at the tournament was so great.  All us kids were out there trying to tear each other to pieces on the mat, but once the match is over we are cool with each other.  Besides all the hours I’ve spent sweating and bleeding with my teammates, I’ve spent countless weekends competing against kids from other teams and some of my fiercest rivals have become my closest friends.  Not only that, a lot of the coaches and parents who have been around all that time treat me like I’m one of theirs.  The dad of a kid I used to battle for years gave me a huge hug when I won the OW award like he was my uncle or something.

There are so many awesome people at wrestling tournaments and they’re all working hard to make these events happen.  Parents, coaches, refs, table workers, and trainers.  I hope they all know how much it means to us wrestlers.

Update: I just noticed that Youth1, the premiere online news site for youth sports, covered the event here.


SDIKWA Mid-Season Classic Wrestling Tournament

•January 26, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Rocking my Hayabusa Haburi Rashguard

Time keeps on slipping into the future.  I know that’s from a song, but it’s the truth.

Last Sunday I competed in what will be my last San Diego Imperial County Wrestling Association (SDIKWA) Mid-Season Classic.  This is a tournament that I have looked forward to every season since 2008 when I first started wrestling.  It’s usually the toughest of the year for two reasons.  One, they give out trophies instead of medals.  Two, it’s open to anyone in the state, unlike the Association Championship, so kids come from LA and OC to compete.  I won it this year for the third time, but it was bittersweet knowing it was my last.  Next year I’ll be wrestling in High School!

The day before the tournament I got my new Hayabusa Haburi rashguard in the mail and I wore it to the MSC.  It’s such a sick rashguard!  When I was warming up before the tournament jumping rope and drilling with my boys it got wet, but then it dried super quick.  I love rashguards for training and rolling, because they keep the funk off.  The website says it’s “scientifically tested ” and has “proven antimicrobial technology that  inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi to protect against serious skin infection”.  Sounds good to me!

Being Japanese I love the Hayabusa logo and their designs.  Hayabusa means Peregrine Falcon in Japanese and back in the day Japanese warlords would have them as pets.  Japanese people love Hayabusa and name fast stuff after them like spaceships, Suzuki motorcycles, and bullet trains!  And now you know.

I picked the rashguard up from a new online store called MAS (  They are run by the same crew who put out the crazy cheap daily deals at MMAHQ and BJJHQ.  Martial Arts Supplies has so many cool rashguards for sale!  I’m thinking about gettin the Scramble’s “Be Water” rashguard next!  Then again the Bad Boy Pro Series Kimura looks pretty sweet too!  What’s great about them besides the gear is that shipping is free!  And check this – if it doesn’t fit it’s free to return for 365 days!

A sweet trophy and a new rashguard…not a bad weekend!

Young Stars Look to the Future at NYWAY Big Red Kickoff | New York Wrestling News

•January 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

NYWAY Big Red Kickoff 1st Place Medal

“There was so much great wrestling, it was non-stop,” said Izaak Olenjik, a youth wrestler from California.  “It was such a great experience.”

Olenjik, who won his 78-83 pound bracket, was one of 200 youth grapplers who were treated to a day full of high level wrestling on January 8 at Newman Arena on the campus of Cornell University.

The action began with the NYWAY Big Red Kickoff, a tournament for wrestlers ranging from 5 to 14 years old.  Competitors included Olenick’s group of more than 20 from the Golden State as well as wrestlers from Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

Big Red Kickoff Classic Champions:

13/15 Year Old Division

Dane Heberlein                     67-82

Alexander Hrisopoulos         84-90

Kai Kramer                            88-94

Evan Wick                              95-99

Zander Wick                          100-105

Devin Schroder                     105-110

Joel Rees                                 114-121

Jake Ryan                               124-133

Devon Pingel                         138-155

Max Dean                               164-176

Full article here:

Young Stars Look to the Future at NYWAY Big Red Kickoff | New York Wrestling News.

Sick Gear for Cheap!!! MMAHQ & BJJHQ

•January 11, 2012 • 1 Comment


OK, if you spend everyday training like me, you love fresh gear.  Gloves, rashguards, gis, walkout tees, fight shorts, you name it I want it!  Especially if its a sick brand like Bad Boy, Revgear, Dethrone, Manto, Boon, Keiko Raca, Fuji, Koral, or Clinch Gear.  Problem is that I’m a kid and I don’t have a ton of money.

The good news is that there is this new site I found on Twitter called BJJHQ.  Everyday they post a new deal that’s only around until midnight or until it’s sold out.  Sometime stuff sells out quick, especially smaller size shorts.  Why?  Because they’re selling this stuff stupid cheap!

For example, I got this sick True Fightwear Rashguard for only $18!  I love the brand and the rashie is top quality.  I’ve worn it a bunch of times and it still looks like brand new.  It’s great to wear at wrestling practice or rolling no-gi to keep the funk off my skin.

These guys also have another site called where they sell all kinds of awesome MMA gear.  They ship everything for only $5!  Once I saw a Zebra mat on sale and shipping was only five bucks!  Crazy I know.  If you don’t want to miss out, follow them on  Twitter.  Oh yeah, if you like them on FaceBook you may get some of the free stuff they give away.  Check it!

SCWAY Cornell/Cumberland Valley, PA Trip

•January 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment
2012 SCWAY Cali National Team Singlet

2012 SCWAY Cali National Team Singlet

“New York- just like I pictured it-skyscrapers-and everything”

I’m super excited about leaving for New York tomorrow.  It’s my first time on the East Coast and I’m going as a member of the 2012 SCWAY California National Team!  We have a very tough team and we will be battling top kids from Pennsylvania, New York, and the Michigan MYWAY National Team.

Beside wrestling, we’re going to have a lot of fun checking out NYC!  We wake up early on Friday and head to Manhattan to see Times Square, World Trade Center, Empire State Building, Brookyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty!  We are also going to take pictures with the Bull on Wall Street.  Later that day we leave New York City to Mechanicsburg, PA for weigh-ins.  On Saturday we wrestle in the Cumberland Invitational which is a Pennsylvania 100 top youth event. After wrestling in the event we head to Ithaca, NY Saturday night.

The coolest part of the trip is on Sunday, when we wrestle at the NYWAY Big Red Kickoff Tournament at Cornell University. The event will be run at the same time as the Big Red take on Lehigh on the center mat.  It will be my first time to see a D-1 wrestling tournament live and I’ll actually be on the mat!  NY Wrestling News wrote about us coming!

After the event we head back to New York City and on Monday we will check out the Central Park Zoo – I’ll be looking for Alex, Marty and the Penguins!  Then we’ll have lunch in Little Italy and head over to Broadway before going to JKF.

I’m very thankful to SCWAY and my parents for letting me go and to my teachers for giving me most of my homework over the break so I don’t get too far behind from missing three days of school.  Stay tuned – I’ll update the blog when I get back!

Team Quest Comes to Encinitas

•September 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Team Quest Encinitas – Sokoudjou

Besides training at The Arena this summer, I worked out at Team Quest as well!  A few months ago, they opened a Team Quest in my own backyard, run by judo champ and pro MMA fighter Sokoudjou.  I was super excited when I saw the TQ signs go up by the Dairy Queen in Encinitas, and I knew I had to check the gym out.  I had already met Sokoudjou once before at a WEC weigh-in and the thought of training with a guy who knocked out Minotoro, Arona, and Bob Sapp was kinda crazy.

I usually have to go somewhere far away to train, like Oceanside, Vista, or Downtown San Diego, but this was right in my home town.  They were not all about the money and agreed to let me sign up for just the summer, since I wouldn’t be able to go once school/wrestling started.  At first I was coming to the gym about two or three times a week and spending the other days skating, but eventually I was there everyday for two to three hours at a time cause it was so much fun.

Coach Anthony Day, Jr.

Like a kid in a candy store, I didn’t know what to do first, so I trained boxing, submission wrestling, Muay Thai, judo, BJJ, tactical stretching, plus did lots of strength & conditioning.  The main boxing coach was Anthony Day Jr.  He runs the gym and is an amazing teacher.  Plus he’s always blasting great music like “It’s a Fight” by Three 6 Mafia!  Everyone there is nice, but Coach Anthony is an unbelievably cool person.  For example, I came early one Sunday and no one else was there.  Coach Anthony put me through Sokoudjou S&C workout for almost an hour.  It was hella hard but, I loved it!

I did submission wrestling with Ryan Bixler an Iowa wrestler with about 50 pro fights – he’s a beast and lots of fun to wrestle!  I had two Muay Thai instructors, Byron Schnell and Ikaika Patria.  They had different styles of teaching, but both were very effective and both excellent teachers.  Ikaika always made me laugh and is half Japanese like me.  Sensei Tim Mount worked with me on Judo which was always fun.  Coach Tim is a great instructor who trained under Master Coach Gerald Lafon of Judo America.

Belt Ceremony with Coach Renato Diaz

Renato Diaz, my Jiu Jitsu Sensei, was the instructor I probaby worked with the most.  I spent a lot of time training with him, because our team was preparing to compete in a BJJ tournament.  Plus he is a great instructor, a very talented, successful BJJ competitor and a super chill person.  I was surprised when I found out he was a special-ops guy in the Brazilian military and could kill you about 100 different ways if he wanted!  He promoted me to orange belt by the end of the summer.

Maybe the coolest thing I learned there was Tactical Flexibility with Neal Warren.  He blended traditional yoga with the latest in sports science to come up with one of the toughest conditioning programs I’ve ever done.  I still try to do some of the stuff he taught me at least once a week.

It was an amazing experience spending the summer training at TQ Encinitas.  You would be lucky to have just one of those teachers, but to be able to train with all of them in one place was pretty incredible – kinda like a modern day Shaolin Temple!  I miss the coaches and students there and hope I can go back again next summer to train.

The Arena MMA Gym

•September 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Bad Boys

This summer I had the great opportunity to train at San Diego’s top MMA gym The Arena!  My friend and coach, Jeff Clark, is the Pro MMA trainer there and manages The Arena fighers.

Another kid I’ve known for years from wrestling has been working out there for a while and I was invited to come down a couple days a week to be his partner.  Xander is an amazing athlete who wrestles, fights Muay Thai and pankration, plays football, basketball and baseball, swims, plus he’s an honor student in his spare time.  Xander is an awesome kid!

We worked hard on boxing, kick boxing, Muay Thai and wrestling.  It was probably the best MMA training I’ve ever had because not only did I have world class coaches like Sensei Jeff, Vince Salvador, and Pat Speight, but I had a phenomenal partner who was just about my size.

During the summer we got hooked up with some sick gear from Bad Boy!  You can’t imagine how fun it was to go down to their office and pick put a bunch of gear.  They make the best fight shorts for kids I’ve ever worn and they sponsor guys like Shogun Rua, Ninja Rua, and Roger Huerta.

The Arena is such a famous place that sometimes reporters show up looking for stories about MMA.  One day, some people from legendary San Diego lifestyle magazine, Revolt in Style came down and took photos of Xander and me.  Next thing I knew, they wrote a very nice article about us.  It was quite an honor and it motivated me to work even harder to be the best fighter I can be.

Another great part of being at The Arena was Joe Duate was training for his Main Event fight vs Jorge Gurgel at Strikeforce Challengers 18 when I was down there.  It was a great feeling to be jumping rope, working drills, and training along side a gym full of pro fighters.