Joe has been a member of Vanguard Gym/CrossFit Manassas for over 4 years. He trains CrossFit, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Thai Boxing. Joe is one of the friendliest, most helpful people I’ve ever met. Most days before he leaves, he imparts one new tidbit of information. He is our resident “AirDyne Repair Specialist”, Bee Keeping expert and overall good guy! Now I’ll let Joe tell you about himself…
Who are you?
I am a husband, father and retired Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief.
How did you get into Martial Arts and how has it changed things in your life?
I trained in Tae Kwon Do 20 years ago and liked the strength and flexibility it developed. When I saw the program at Vanguard Gym and the high level of quality athletes the program at the gym was producing I was intrigued. Many of the fighters at the gym perform at the top of Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai and MMA in local competitions so it’s clearly a quality school. I decided to give Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu a try and see if I could make any of my own personal gains. Even though I was a beginner, a 50+ year old and would probably never compete, I felt welcome and instruction was given at my level with no pressure. There is a very fraternal and team-oriented atmosphere, and everyone is accepted and coached at their own level. As Coach Esposito says “Everyone is on their own Martial Arts journey.” So, from there I have been showing up and learning new techniques and developing at my own pace. Jiu Jitsu is very technique driven so it takes much practice and drilling to develop abilities. I like the fact that Jiu Jitsu is challenging because anything worthwhile takes and time effort. Martial Arts has given me another avenue to do something that requires focus and discipline and shows results.
What benefit do you see in the real world from your time at the gym and with your martial arts tribe?
The primary real world benefit has been improvement in strength and mobility. I also have benefited mentally from having to focus and concentrate on learning the curriculum. It’s taught me to relax when I’m facing an opponent and work technique. I do travel in third world countries often and I occasionally I am confronted by someone who tries to verbally intimidate me, I feel my calm confidence prevents these situations from escalating into something physical. I also have made many friends at the gym and there is a busy social scene of going to competitions, restaurants and parties if you have time.
Why does coming to class matter to you?
Because it’s fun, I learn or refresh techniques every class, instruction is at my level, I interact with friends and it’s structured and safe.
What is your favorite movement/class/event? Why?
I like both Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu classes for different reasons. I like Muay Thai Coach Adam’s approach to teaching that is direct, calm and patient; he allows you to make progress at your own speed. I like Jiu Jitsu coach Christian’s approach to teaching. He is an accomplished Jiu Jitsu practitioner and MMA fighter, but he is humble and genuinely interested in you and your goals. He teaches at your level without being condescending.
What caused you to try CrossFit?
As a firefighter and paramedic for 30 years I have always understood that people that exercise regularly stay healthier. I want to stay healthy. The problem has been to find an approach that is both beneficial and motivating. I’ve tried different approaches to fitness including training by myself and at other gyms. This implies you have some idea of how to program workouts. Well, I really don’t know how. When I was considering CrossFit, I asked my cousin who is a CrossFitter and a strength and conditioning coach at a university to take a look at CrossFit Manassas. He looked at the program and gave his endorsement. So I tried it and decided that CrossFit works best for me. It’s best for me because the workouts are developed by a fitness expert and the classes are in a supportive environment with people I see regularly. Coach Esposito programs the workouts for gains in all fitness domains.
What benefits have you gained?
I have seen gains especially in body composition, mobility, strength and aerobic capacity.
What do you like about the community?
I like the programming because it is challenging but scalable to your abilities. I like the CrossFit coaches because they focus on technique and safety and understand your abilities to help you be your best. I like the other CrossFitters because they support you, motivate you and cheer you on.
Clean and jerk
Favorite named work out?
Grace (30 clean and jerks)