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Happy Thanksgiving

In 1621, the Plymouth, Massachusetts, colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast, establishing a tradition that millions of people have celebrated for almost 400 years. The harvest meal was a symbol of cooperation and interaction between English colonists and Native Americans. For centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America, many Native American groups, such as Pueblo, Cherokee and Creek, enjoyed this type of harvest festival, which included ceremonial dances and other celebrations of thanks. Today, in the U.S., we spend time with our families eating delightful meals and enjoying good companionship in celebration of the holiday "Thanksgiving." Many other countries and cultures around the world have similar days, although they may not call them Thanksgiving.

It's important to remember why you should be thankful, such as the holiday meal on the table, the roof above your head and the clothes on your back. Sometimes, we must be reminded of how lucky we truly are, and, most importantly, the people who are special to us; they should never be taken for granted. Your goal is to see all people as if they were members of your family, sharing the same compassion, love and empathy you would to child. At times, you may lose your composure, but ask yourself, "How would I like to be treated?" "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" is a famous John F. Kennedy quote that also describes your goal. What is it you can do for other humans or the planet? Again, it is easy to be in the spirit during Thanksgiving or the December holidays, but keeping this spirit alive throughout the year is the optimal goal.

Thanksgiving can be a day to pay it forward and share the gift of love, compassion and empathy. Tell the people you love and those who are special that you appreciate them. The simple gesture of recognizing how special people are and saying thanks may be the difference of a good day and an unbelievably awesome day for someone. Bringing a smile to someone's face and seeing that smile shine as bright as the sun is all the thanks you will need in return. Set your sights high and tell your instructor, your fellow students, your family or the next-door neighbor how you feel. Give thanks – don't just celebrate. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "Be the change in the world you want."

Thanksgiving Hours:

Westheimer
Wednesday, November 26th - 11:15 BJJ class only; closed in the evening
Thursday, November 27th - CLOSED
Friday, November 28th - Regular Schedule

Greenway
Wednesday, November 26th - Regular Schedule
Thursday, November 27th - CLOSED

Kingwood
Wednesday, November 26th to Saturday, November 29th - CLOSED

Baytown
Wednesday, November 26th - 11:15 BJJ class only; closed in the evening
Thursday, November 27th - CLOSED
Friday, November 28th - Will be open but NO CLASSES

Westheimer Instructor Highlight—David Cruz

What is your martial arts teaching history and where do you currently teach?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ‐ 2007‐present and Muay Thai/Kickboxing ‐ 2010‐present In 2007 my employer introduced me to grappling, i was instantly intrigued with grappling but I actually started training BJJ in 2010. I currently teach at Elite MMA Westheimer.

What is a memorable moment for you at Elite MMA?
WINNING my first amateur fight!!! The overall support from the schools, Westheimer & Baytown, was amazing and I did it while working as a tire tech at Discount Tire. I also remember one day I had missed a conditioning session with David Campbell , so the next day during my lunch break I had to push the prowler and when I returned to work I had to put tires away and work on cars. My legs burned so much that day!!!

In your own words why do you enjoy Elite MMA?
The PEOPLE. The atmosphere is like no other. Personally i love the fact that the Westheimer school is open 7 days a week for people to train.

Do you have any martial arts accomplishments that you are proud of and why?
Being healthy and able to compete in general is a blessing. I learned a lot from both my amateur fights and BJJ competitions.

Are there any professional accomplishments that you are proud of and why?
In 2012 i managed to balance working as a Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), a Discount Tire technician, and a volunteer firefighter while still training for my first amateur fight. Altogether I was working 88hrs a week.

What hobbies do you enjoy and why?
I enjoy watching the Houston Texans play. Football takes me back to many memories of how coaches who impacted my character and attitude towards life.

Any memorable family moments that you would like to share?
When my daughter Jenna sleeps with me she beats me up, so I always feel like I am training.

If you could walk us through a day or week in your life what would it consist of?
Creating a balance of training BJJ, being a janitor at home, a maintenance man, dad, and a helpless romantic. I often fall on my face but it is worth it.

Westheimer Student Highlight— Jon Pierre

What is your name and age?
My name is Jon Pierre and I am 35 years old.

Why did you decide to start taking martial arts?
I decided to start learning and practicing Martial Arts because I became a huge fan of the UFC and wanted to fight. Probably more so, I wanted to compete. So that's what I did.

In the past what had caused you not to take martial arts?
I guess, just not knowing. They say ignorance is bliss, but that's obviously not true.

Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take?
Elite MMA is the first school I have ever trained at. I have taken kick boxing, MMA, Jiu Jitsu, Self‐Defense… pretty much any class that has been offered, I have taken at some point in the last 7 years

If you had any concerns about joining Elite MMA, what helped you with your decision?
When I was deciding on what type of gym I wanted to join, it came down to picking one of two types of gyms… first option (because I wanted to fight) was training in a dungeon type atmosphere. A gritty, grimy, blood, sweat and tears, iron sharpens iron type of place. The other option was a more diversity in training type of atmosphere similar to major sports programs. When I came in to visit Elite and talked with Eric, I realized that I could find a little bit of the first option with a lot of the second option. The combination of that suited me well. I wanted to be able to come in and get good, hard and intense work, but also have the option to not just smash my head and hands every day. I wanted to be able to learn a lot in terms of techniques. It was the perfect combination for me.

Since you have been part of Elite, please share what you have been able to accomplish?
Well, I am currently a brown belt in BJJ. I have competed in the cage, winning my fight by 3rd round TKO. I have competed in multiple BJJ competitions with varying levels of success. Throughout the process of all of that, I have learned so many lessons both on and off the mats that have helped shape my views on many aspects of life.

Anything else you want to share with someone who is looking to get involved with martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?
I think that the one thing that I had not envisioned when I started this journey of learning about Mixed Martial Arts was how little my learning process would be about actual martial arts and how much more it would be about life in general. I think that is more a function of the type of school Elite MMA is rather than the process of learning Mixed Martial Arts. Although I am quite confident in my own Martial Arts ability, I believe those skills pale in comparison to what I have learned about being a positive person for myself, in our school, in my personal relationships and in my community. I am thankful to be able to walk in to our school and know that I am going to walk out of there with more than just a new technique for the day. I am going to forge relationships, share my own experiences and receive the shared experiences of others that will have an even greater impact on my life beyond that of just Mixed Martial Arts.

Kingwood Assistant Instructor Highlight— Rafael Soto

What is your name and age?
My name is Rafael Soto and I'm 40 years old.

When did you join Elite MMA?
I joined Elite in July of 2013

Why did you decide to start taking martial arts?
I've always been a big fan of all Martial Arts and combat sports and I thought what better way to lose weight than by doing something that I love.

In the past what had caused you not to take martial arts?
Time and money! I was never sure if I was able to afford it, but after sitting down with my wife and talking about it we thought that it would greatly benefit our children so that it would show them how to protect themselves and for them to learn some discipline.

Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take?
No, I did take some Karate lessons for a couple of months but the school closed down. I now do Jiu Jitsu, Endurance Jiu Jitsu and cardio kickboxing.

If you had any concerns about joining Elite MMA, what helped you with your decision?
Never any real concerns, as it was recommended by a very good friend of mine, Mr. Raymond Vera. He told me about the awesome instructor I was going to have at the Kingwood location and the brotherhood atmosphere that is Jiu‐Jitsu.

Since you have been part of Elite, please share what you have been able to accomplish?
I would have to say that my biggest accomplishment has to be the 70 pounds I have been able to lose. Never would I have imagined that at 40 I would be slimmer and in better shape than I was in high school. Oh yea and the confidence to know that I can protect myself and especially my family.

Anything else you want to share with someone who is looking to get involved with martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?
Whether you're looking to lose weight, get fit or learn self defense, stop making excuses! The time is now so get in there and hit the mats. This is an addiction you will never want to kick. I remember a time not too long ago that I couldn't play five minutes outside with my kids without being out of breath. Let me tell you that is not a good feeling. So come join your new family at Elite MMA. OSS!

Baytown Student Highlight— Brittney Martin

What is your name and age?
Brittney Martin, 21

When did you join Elite MMA?
June 2014

Why did you decide to start taking martial arts?
To have a workout that was more than just running

In the past what had caused you not to take martial arts?
Not knowing where to go to take a kickboxing class

Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take?
No, I take the kickboxing class

If you had any concerns about joining Elite MMA, what helped you with your decision?
The friendly staff that is always ready to help you

Since you have been part of Elite, please share what you have been able to accomplish?
I've learned new ways that you can workout and exercise that isn't just running. I feel better everyday and the class makes it easy to make new friends and enjoy exercising.

Anything else you want to share with someone who is looking to get involved with martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?
Elite MMA is a great place to take any of their classes. The coaches are very friendly and work their best to keep you motivated and coming back. The people at Elite MMA try harder than any trainer I've had to get to know you and get everyone to have an great class and workout! Elite MMA is awesome!!

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