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Tiger Schulmann’s: ‘Dedication, Strength, & Heart’


By: Sean Wall

You can never be too dedicated. You can never have too much strength. But most definitely you can never have too much heart in what you do in life.

Established in 1984, Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts trains thousands of men, women and children weekly.

Skill levels range from beginner through intermediate and advanced to professional competition. Regardless of your abilities, achieving your perfect level of fitness, coupled with the most effective self-defense techniques, is the ultimate goal.

For adults, emphasis is on achieving peak fitness using a systematic regimen of techniques which maximize aerobic capacity, strength, flexibility, endurance, and self-defense skills. Classes are led by highly-experienced trainers who key into your goals and keep you motivated in a dedicated pursuit of obtaining optimal physical and mental health coupled with increased vitality.

I’ve recently visited the Tiger Schulmann’s dojo in Smithtown, NY on Friday and although there’s only 5 states that house the famed martial artists dojo this one had the three attributes the titled implied. The night started off right with a series of exercises, to get the body and mind ready for the day’s lesson. Interesting to see the dedication the dojo has made to line up the students in rank order. Tre Alan Scott; a student of 3 years has been able to obtain the brown belt rank , but due to a critical injury taking him out for 10 years his will have reawaken to get back in it.

Tonight’s class with a ratio of females being 7:1 really shown why martial arts and mixed martial arts has no label of gender on it. It’s all about being able to go through the challenges and succeed. Each student was paired together in 2s. They began to practice the Sensei’s techniques on the standing punching bag. First, initial lesson was a set of jabs that went on for three-minutes.

One point to be made about Sensei Leonelli’s class is he makes sure that the techniques and exercises are done with the correction that it needs. Although Leonelli wasn’t always a sensei it’s clear that Sensei Doonan’s teachings has been passed on to the right teacher.  It was quoted by Sensei Leonelli, “…I wouldn’t be the man I am today if it wasn’t for him”.

“Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.”

Student’s Tre and Jen were throwing some punches against the standing punching bag at rapid pace. With the force of each punch, the impact could be heard throughout the dojo. Not pushing too far to say that it kind of resembled the great Randy Couture. Another student of the class that caught my attention was Sophie. She came in with a enlighten spirit and joyful energy, but her hand was taped from being sprained. Even with that injury she didn’t allow it to faze her. Hitting the bag just as hard as the rest of the group, showing the will that Sensei Leonelli teaches in his class. Kayla was another one that impressed me with her form that can be admired. Her coordination with the double jab punch and kick technique shown improvement with each hit. She started awhile ago and still has gotten her white belt.

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Concentration can help keep anyone focus if they are willing to commit themselves with their thought process. I honestly thought to myself that the music choice Sensei played was rather unusual, but created a different aura. Rihanna can truly bring out the best in someone when they focus on the method to their own madness. But I listen to Chicago when I work out, oh Saturday in the park I love you so! After the technique session the students, began to run around the mat once back to their spots. It was time for some endurance/strength exercises. Ellie Goulding and student Jen became a great paring with an ensync repetition of punching and dropping of the beat.

When there’s a challenge, we train to overcome those challenges.

Sensei Leonelli

The fatigue can be seen on each of the students face, but nonetheless that didn’t stop them from continuing on with the last-minute exercises. Dedication. Strength. Will. Those attributes are key tools to have when you undertake martial art classes. It’s not one thing to sit around and think you will succeed when you haven’t trained too much.

At the end of the class during the exercises this week, Sensei Leonelli tells about ‘The Jeffersons’. All those know of the story, where they finally moved up and got a piece of the pie. Sensei Leonelli doesn’t like the use of the story for the simple reason that it implies that there’s only one of the ‘piece of the pie’. Sensei says, “That’s impossible” I agree as there’s no way success has a limit on anything you do. Just like gaining any sort of knowledge it doesn’t have any limit. What you work hard for you will inevitably get. Sensei Leonelli also mentions the story about a single mother of 4 was able to obtain a body with dedication and her work. She would show off her accomplishment with backlash and negativity. Sensei’s point is that those who bash others who try to do great for themselves, are some who lack that discipline in themselves so they take it out on those who only share their own success; which creates frustration.

“The fact that someone can do it means anyone can do it. Bringing inspiration no matter if you’re getting that piece of the pie. Let the success that you want to achieve motivate you.”

-Sensei Leonelli

Personally, I’ve always been a fan on the concept of martial arts originating in the Asian countries, but never persuade it. Not because, I can’t, but for the simple fact that I observe the art I admire. The discipline that was shown in the class was simply inspiring as each of the students had a motive for joining a Tiger Schulmann’s class. Sensei Leonelli has been able to capture the spirit of why being disciplined can push your will to success. Men and women can show the power they have mentally and physically and know how to use their skills to make rational decisions in their life. If there’s one lesson you can take from this class that can be used in a multitude of life.

Sensei Leonelli and his student Tre Scott

Sensei Leonelli and his student Tre Scott

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