WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)-- Grappling is a mixture of judo, wrestling, sambo, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, all combined into one.
Carlos Soto, a six-time Team USA Grappling Team Trials Champion, said a he became fascinated with mixed-martial arts and UFC fighting at the age of 14.
"Punching, kicking, elbows, knees, biting, so it was crazy," Soto said. "I was just really stunned that someone so small could do so well in a self-defense situation."
Soto has competed for the USA Team the past three years and is now taking his passions back to his facility, Impact ZoneTraining Center. He is a six-time Team USA Grappling World Team Trials Champion, winning both his gi and no-gi divisions in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The Grappling World Team represents the United States at the United World Wrestling(UWW) world championship each fall.
"In Judo and Brazillian jiu-jitsu we wear a thing called a gi," Soto said. "Some places call it a call it a kimono, and basically it is an opportunity to grab on and learn leverage and just better handles just for better technique."
Classes are offered to anyone starting at just four years old to come in and try it themselves. Operations Director Benjamin May said Soto's passion is contagious.
"He's a great mentor, coach, leader, I've learned a ton from him," May said. "The way he runs his business, the way he coaches and runs his team, so I think I've grown as a person, working with him."
Beyond the class, Soto believes learning these skills will help members gain confidence.
"This is an opportunity to showcase kind of what a community can do, that are working hard and have a good vision, and good positivity, and what they can do together."
Impact Training Zone teaches Crossfit, strength, and conditioning along with Brazillian jiu-jitsu. The training facility also offers an anti-bullying program for children.
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