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Renegade MMA Competition Team- Shaping up

Peter Lampasona
13 June 2010
Renegade MMA Competition Team- Shaping up
One month into their two year training program, Team Renegade* is starting to shape up, or, more accurately, take shape. The team of twenty aspiring fighters, most of whom with limited to no martial arts experience, have gone from a mixed bag of young athletes to what is clearly a trained team in just 30 days. While not all technically brilliant, the team was described best by head coach Anthony Sansonetti when talking about their progress in sparring. “They look like fighters,” said Sansonetti.

*Editor's note: This is the second in an article series on Team Renegade. Read here for more information.

The weekly team meeting this past Wednesday consisted of a series of drills that covered just about every phase of the MMA game. Competitive drills transitioned from takedowns, to securing a clinch with strikes, to free grappling. During the session, the team really got to showcase their developing skills.

Team members with no prior martial arts experience demonstrated some key abilities normally associated with a significant amount of sparring time. Perhaps the clearest example was watching 20 year old Massapequa Park native James Daly shoot a textbook double leg in a clinch drill, not just for smooth technique in a competitive situation, but also the sensitivity to know the right timing for the technique.

While such quick development may seem surprising to outside observers, it fits in perfectly with the philosophy that Team Renegade was founded on.

“In MMA I hear certain things said, that if taken to heart will damage someone's resolve on a path to learning to fight,” Sansonetti said in an e-mail addressed to the team. “One of them starts this way 'it takes years of....' you can insert - training in wrestling, or jiujitsu, or kickboxing. And it ends with 'to get those skills, to develop to that level, to have that timing.' I disagree. In fact I think it's crap. If you have no physical ability, maybe. If you have decent athleticism and are somewhat intelligent, you have the ability to learn anything involved in MMA and get good at it in less time than that. Of course it takes dedication and proper training but as soon as you 'believe' it takes years, well then, it will. You are always limited by what you believe to be achievable.”

Team members with previous martial arts are also showing some interesting progression. 17 year old Old Westbury resident Taylor Constantino came into the program with a background in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but initially seemed uncomfortable on his feet. Now, while still working on some of the nuances of head movement, Constantino now seems far more willing to play the whole game of mixed martial arts.

“At first, I'd always look to take it to the ground,” Constatino said. “Now I feel like I can do anything.”

Watching Pan Yamniyom, the eldest member of the team who sports a fairly strong base in Muay Thai, is a living diagram of the grappling lesson plan. Starting with no ground game to speak of, Yamniyom went through a series of sweep attempts while grappling, likely in the exact order they were learned.

Apart from the skills, the personality of the team and the roles that each member plays are also starting to become a visible part of training. Whether it be something as simple as an exchange of lines from Roadhouse with Daly between rounds or the leadership position of team leader Ben Syers.

The first stop in the future of the team appears to be in local grappling tournaments. According to Sansonetti, Team Renegade plans on having members compete as soon as the second New York Submission open Saturday, June 19.

MATCS coverage of Team Renegade's progress is being done in tandem with work from The Garv. For video of the fight team practicing, see The Garv's youtube channel.
Last Modified:
13 June 2010

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