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L ife keeps us busy, doesn't it? Have you ever wondered what life would be like without a holiday season? Some might say "Yeah, less busy!" However, most would agree that the holiday season provides us with the all important reminder to reflect on all that is truly important in our lives. And although the holiday season can place more responsibility and commitment on our lives, it is a special time of year we would dearly miss. To get the most out of this holiday season, turn your attention towards G.I.F.T.S and make this year a season you'll never forget.

G for Giving: The holiday season sends us all to the shopping malls to purchase gifts to exchange with your family and friends. However, the "gift" of giving can be an empowering experience if you give to those who will give you "nothing" back. Reach out to an orphanage, a hospital for terminal patients, an elderly home, or a shelter in your community and organize a distribution of gifts for people that are often forgotten during the holidays.

I for "You, Yourself": Don't forget about yourself this holiday season. Remember to tell yourself, " I will eat healthy food, exercise (I will attend scheduled Martial Arts classes), and I will allow myself some vital R & R in order to have a healthy holiday season." Time management experts say that most people waste more hours than they realize, because they do not plan their time, they let time plan them.

F for Family & Friends: The inner circle of people who are most important in our lives can often be defined by those on your holiday card list. This year take your message of holiday wishes to the next level. For those family and friends you will not see during the holiday, pick up the phone and give them a call.

T for Thankful: Take out a piece of paper and at the top write "I am thankful for…" Then ask yourself how many things you'd think you'd be able to write down. Put that number in the upper left corner of that page. Your goal is to double that number and you will be surprised at how easy it will be! Doing this exercise in writing will demonstrate that the number of things you are thankful for far exceeds your initial projection.

S for Sharing: Sharing can have different meanings for each person. For children, sharing can mean giving up a favorite toy for their sibling or friend to play with it. Adults may volunteer their time for a local charity. In every case sharing involves the interaction of two or more people. During the holiday season, we all share in celebrating life, the memories of those no longer with us, and creating new memories with those around us.

May the gifts of this season remain with you throughout the year.

Elite MMA News

Upcoming Belt Test Dates
January 18, 2014
All School Belt Test At Westheimer!!!

Welcome New & Returning Students
Dorian C., Bruce B., Francisco E., Briana M., Rafael N., Jackie O., Andres G., Ethan J., Brandon S., Jose T., Brandon L., Felix G., Law W., Judene D., Shane T., Beto O., Wilma G., Alexavier D., Armando M. Nabila D., George H., Tiffany R., Marcus K., Peter M., Max P., Donna W., Jason S., Amy G., Alonso F., Kevin T., Jeremiah P., Barbara S., Tippamas K., Gilberto O., Hunter B., Meredith N., Jamie A., Habacuc B., Christopher C., Jesse M., Colin L., Ethan P., Jude B., Diego N., Orion L., Kelly J., Luke B., Catherine M.

Thank You For The Referrals!!!
Kerwin R., Cherrie A., Roy G., Guillermo A., Ivan Drew T.

Congratulations new Tier 2 Students!!!
Andres G., Jose T., Felix G., Edgar H., Armando M., Marcus K., Steven O., Alonso F., Kevin T., Hunter B., Colin L.

Baytown Assistant Instructor Highlight: Trent Draper

What is your martial arts teaching history and where do you currently teach?
I started assisting classes when I completed the instructor program over 8 weeks under Frost Murphy at Elite mixed Martial Arts in May of 2011. I was actually assisting with class quite some time before that but that's when I knew I would teach full time one day. I usually teach wherever I'm needed but most of the time right there in Baytown.

What is your current rank in martial arts?
My current rank is the brown belt level.

What caused you to start practicing martial arts?
At the end of 2008 I came to Elite strictly wanting to do cage matches and test myself in MMA and that's it. I really had no idea that I would fall in love with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I remember the day in which I said in my heart of hearts that I will be there until the black belt and beyond. It was the first belt test I had at-tended and Eric Williams was giving a short speech after we had trained for 3 hours. It wasn't at all what I expected.

What is your educational background?
I graduated from Galena Park High School in 1992 and got married soon after so I went straight into the workforce from there. I never really had hey chance to go to college but I did receive my real estate li-cense in 2009.

Do you have a competitive history in martial arts?
Under the Elite banner I have competed in Jiu Jitsu tournaments and I am about to have my 5th MMA bout in the Legacy Fighting promotions organization...so yes I feel that I am very competitive.

What do you see is the main benefit the average individual can receive from martial arts?
I could take a whole paragraph or two just on this subject alone. I mean you get exactly out of it what you put into it. Just like any other worthy endeavor. I look at martial arts as basically problem solving and you can begin to apply this in every area of your life. I would have to say the main benefit that can be gleaned from martial arts is definitely self esteem and personal growth by far. I always like to say there are no lies on the mat.

What is your favorite part about practicing martial arts?
There are so many things I love about practicing martial arts but getting to roll with my 18 year old son is really a joy for me in a way of bonding with him where I couldn't before. I also just like to choke people as well...No I'm joking kinda because it is quite a rush going for the kill and almost getting caught and trying to escape attacks yourself!! I simply love it if I'm ever off the mat I am constantly thinking about the next time I will be there.

Where do you hope martial arts will take you later in your life?
I really hope that martial arts takes me into the future of owning my own Elite school one day. I mean it's also a per-fect platform to help younger people to choose the right path in life and stay off drugs and alcohol and share the Lord with them. I often think of how different my life would be if someone would have grabbed me at the age of 16 and showed me Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

Greenway Student Highlight: Beatriz Gomez

What is your name and age?
Beatriz Gomez and you should not ask a lady her age. Shame on you! (I am 43)

When did you join Elite MMA?
I joined Elite MMA this summer; I don't remember exactly the month.

Why did you decide to start taking martial arts? In the past what had caused you not to take martial arts?
I decided to start taking martial arts to spice up my workout rou-tine, I was getting bored of doing the same exercises every week. I have never taken martial arts in the past because I thought I was not strong enough, or quick enough, mind you I still think that, but I have learn to enjoy the challenge and I don't think I need to be super STRONG any more just smart, which is harder. LOL.

Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take?
This is my first time taking MMA. I take the lunch classes at the Green-way plaza from Monday to Thursday, two kick boxing classes and two BJJ. In 2014 my plan is to add one more BJJ class on Wednesday afternoon.

If you had any concerns about joining Elite MMA, what helped you with your decision?
Concerns? Yes, of course. The same concern I have when I go skiing that I am going to break my neck or my arms or my legs! I but I have learn not to be scare and enjoy the ride, this is a work on process.

Since you have been part of Elite, please share what you have been able to accomplish?
When I joined the Elite MMA I have completed my second Olympic distance triathlon and I could shave 35 minutes from my first one; I improve my per-sonal time by 35 minutes! My next goal in to complete a 40 miles run.

Anything else you want to share with someone who is looking to get in-volved with martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?
MMA are a great way to get in shape, eliminate stress, I feel completely renew when I get back to the office after my lunch workout. Also it is chal-lenging, and don't we all enjoy challenges?

Kingwood Student Highlight: Melissa Mansker

(20lbs down and still pushing forward!!!)

What is your name and age?
Melissa Mansker 28

When did you join Elite MMA?
Joined Elite MMA in late June of this year.

Why did you decide to start taking martial arts?
I decided to start taking kickboxing classes because I knew it would not only be a great workout for me, but also provide a means of self-defense if something ever came up where I needed to protect myself. That led into my trying jiu jitsu as well!

In the past what had caused you not to take martial arts?
In the past I never signed up for kickboxing or jiu jitsu because I never thought I would be able to do it. I was scared I would be too weak, or wouldn't have the endurance to stay the entire time. I knew I was really out of shape, and I was just fearful of the unknown! I kept thinking, I just need to go get into shape first and then I'll be more able to do it! But that kept me from signing up, because I would never go get my cardio in check! So I bit the bullet and just signed up!

Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take?
Yes, this is the first time ever doing any type of mixed martial arts. I had always played sports growing up, but the opportunity to take these kinds of classes never presented itself. I mainly do kickboxing, and occasionally do jiu jitsu. I want to start doing more jiu jitsu! I enjoy both of them very much!

If you had any concerns about joining Elite MMA, what helped you with your decision?
My main concerns with signing up with Elite, or any gym for that matter was that I would look ridiculous and I was incredibly out of shape! My husband has been training with Elite for almost 5 years now, and I have seen how great it has been for him, so I thought I would give it a try! Everyone was very welcoming and positive! It has been a won-derful experience! I wouldn't change it for anything!

Since you have been part of Elite, please share what you have been able to accomplish?
Since I have been with Elite I have lost 20 pounds! Not only have my clothes started to fit better, but I have noticed that my cardio and strength have increased. I have more energy, and I am more conscious about what I eat! If I am going to go work hard in class and sweat as much as I am, I better be eating better too! Not only has my diet and weight changed, but it also gives me the opportunity to spend more time with my husband. A family that trains together, stays together!

Anything else you want to share with someone who is looking to get involved with martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?
Not only has Elite been a great outlet for me, but it has also been a won-derful outlet for my husband! Coming out of the military, and starting school he needed a more physical outlet and jiu jitsu provided that for him. He is currently a purple belt, and is always so motivating when I try jiu jitsu. Even though he may be much better than I am, he is always

Elite MMA Self Defense Instructor - Matt Vardeman

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