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USA Sambo Championships

Posted by Anthony Sansonetti on September 24, 2015 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

USA Sambo Championships - April 2014 - Philadelphia

        In April 2014 our combined Youth and Adult Sambo team entered the USA Sambo Championships. I'm proud to say that Team Renegade is now home to another 5 national champions! Our team took home a combined 14 medals, 5 Gold, 5 Silver, and 4 Bronze. The level of competition was for the most part higher than the Arnolds in the previous month. Overall, it was an incredible day, and I'm just so proud of how hard the team trained and the results of the tournament!

My injury update and competition retirement

   I decided to compete at the USA Sambo Championships even though my injured hip was becoming progressively worse. I won the USA Sambo open in 2013 (masters -100 Kg division), but I was mostly healthy then. I was somewhat able to get through training leading up to the tournament, but on the day of the event I was feeling awful. I could hardly stand without pain or warm up properly. All things considering, I did ok and won a few matches, winning Silver in the -100 Kg masters division and Bronze in the -100 Kg seniors division. I did the best I could do with the injury I had. it wasn't so much the pain, I can deal with that, but the inflammation in my hip was so severe I was losing strength and feeling in my leg, to the point that I could not even do a leg extension 2 times on my injured side with 30 lbs. I left this tournament with 2 medals, and with the feeling that is was time to retire from active competiton and that my best days were behind me. I had a good run, I won plenty of medals and awards including the US Sambo champion in 2013, and the british Sambo champion 2x (2010 and 2013). perhaps it's time for a new chapter in my life and to focus on teaching and coaching....time will tell.

'The Arnolds' Sambo Tournament 2014

Posted by Anthony Sansonetti on September 14, 2015 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

The Arnolds Sambo Tournament - March 2014 - Columbus Ohio

     In November 2013 I started to develop a mixed team of children and adults to take on 2 Sambo tournaments in 2014. In March was the be the Arnolds Sambo tournament as part of the Arnold Schwarzenegger Martial Arts Festival held every year in Columbus, Ohio. The other tournament we were looking forward to was the USA Sambo Championships sceduled for April in Philadelphia. There hasn't been much of a chance for kids to compete in Sambo in the U.S. in recent years, so everyone was very excited to take part in the training and preparation. I had a team of 10 that we were to take to Ohio and compete. Having such a large team, with many of them competing for the first time, I decided to not compete and focus on coaching. I was also dealing with 2 injuries and thought it was best to rest and heal. On to the competition, we brought a team of 10, we took 8 Gold Medals, 1 Silver, and 1 Bronze! Everyone performed very well and I felt this was a good stepping stone to prepare for the USA Sambo Championships held next month, where the competition should be a little more fierce.

Injuries and getting old!

   I mentioned that I was dealing with 2 injuries in early 2014. I am very stubborn when it comes to getting medical help. I prefer to let things have a chance to heal on their own. Sometimes this strategy works, other times it delays getting well. I hurt my knee pretty badly in December 2013, it swelled up and was painful. After 2 months without the pain or swelling going down it was time to get in checked out. I had my knee drained, which helped tremendously, but was still swollen and I had to avoid making contact with the ground for several more weeks. it is very difficult for a Sambo instructor, or any grappler to avoid hitting their knee on the ground, actually, It is just about impossible, and this delayed healing further. This was not such a big deal, as I had a worse injury. I started to get tremendous pain in my hip, so much so that it was becoming difficult to pick up my 1 and a half year old son without pain. Learning from my previous mistake with waiting to see a Dr. for my knee, I made an appointment to get my hip checked out. After an evaluation and MRI I was diagnosed with Femoral Acetabular Impingement  http://www.hipfai.com/ . The Dr. prescribed anti inflammatory pills and for me to be rechecked if it got worse. The pills didn't work, I started to get worse and decided to just deal with the pain. How bad could it really get anyway?

2013 Year in Review part 4

Posted by Anthony Sansonetti on January 11, 2015 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

        One of my competition goals for 2013 was to compete in the Sambo World Championship. It was scheduled to be help in late October in Burgas, Bulgaria. After winning both the USA and British Championships earlier in the year, I felt it was a good time to make a run at the Worlds. I was feeling fast, strong, and confident, and my mind was on training and competition every day. I was training with my team on Long Island, plus also making trips into manhattan to New York Combat Sambo where I would train with my long time friend and Sambo coach Stephen Koepfer and his stable of fighters. Over the previous year I was training more in Judo, and making trips upstate to train at the Jason Morris Judo Center. Jason Morris, for those that don't know, is a 4 time Olympian, he won a Silver medal at the 1992 Olympics, and he was also the USA Olympic coach. The Judoka that train at JMJC are among the very best in the country, many move away from home to live and train there in the hopes that they will one day fullfil their Olympic dreams. It is not recreational Judo, it is hard, tough training, with the best. This also helped my development tremendously as there is so much crossover between Judo and Sambo.

   So there I was, in mid July, wanting to get ready for the World Chamionship in 3 months. The big problem I had was that there were not many Sambo tournaments to compete in. I didn't like the fact that I would have to wait 3 months to compete again.

Catch Wrestling in Philadelphia

I saw an advertisement for a late August Catch Wrestling Tournament in Philadelphia. I figured it would be good experience as i am very familiar with Catch Wrestling and have trained many fighters to compete in it in the past.

       I did well at the catch tournament. I won a Silver Medal in my weight class, but then went on to win the Openweight division, winning the Frank Gotch award and becoming the Openweight East Coast Champion. Not a bad day at all!

Canadian Catch Wrestling and Freestyle Sambo Championships

    The following week on September 7th, was the Montreal Freestyle Sambo Tournament and also the Canadian Catch Wrestling Championships. I decided to compete in both. Long Island to Montreal is about a 6 hour drive through beautiful and scenic upstate new York. I decided to leave early in the A.M. to avoid trafiic through NYC. As I was packing my gear for the trip, my son who was almost a year old, was being changed in the other room and had fallen off the bed. He had quickly crawled away and fell, he is so fast! He had a bloody nose and bump on his head. I have seen many people bleed before, I have seen horrible broken bones, but this was the first time I saw my son bleed and it really bothered me. I stayed calm, stopped the bleeding, we called the Dr, and the baby was fine. I drove up to Montreal the next morning, calling home often to make sure my son was ok. I felt nervous and stressed about the baby falling, and it kept my mind occupied most of the time. Usually when I compete I am in a great mood the day before, I truly get excited about being on the mat and competing. This was different though, I was stressed and conflicted, and feeling guilty I was not with my son (even though he was fine). The day before the competition I was crossing the street in Montreal and a car came speeding around a corner and almost hit me, I immediately slammed my hand down on the car as it passed by. That type of behavior is very unusually for me. Normally, I would just hold my hands up in a "WTF?" manner. The driver didn't stop, which is good, as I would probably be Blogging from a Canadian prison right now. I was too stressed, conflicted, turmoil, starting to feel in a dark place. it could have been that I competed just one week prior and maybe I needed to rest more to let my nervous system calm down. The next day, I was not really "on" during competition. My mind was wandering. I still did good on the day, I won Silver in Freestyle Sambo, Bronze in my weight class in Catch Wrestling, and also Silver in the Open Weight Division. I even had a 20 second victory by heelhook in the Open Weight Division, and I also beat a 260 lbs BJJ Blackbelt. I think I did good in spite of myself. I could have done better and that bothered me. I was unusually tired during the matches. After the tournament, my friend Stephen Koepfer, who ran the Sambo tournament, complimented me overall, but said I looked a little slower than I normally do. I take criticism well, considering I am writing this a year and a half later and still remember it!!

Final thougths on 2013

   After Montreal I decided not to go and compete in Bulgaria. I had too many other issues to deal with. Both time and money were factors as well. Although, when I look back on it, 2013 certainly was a great year! I went to New Orleans, the Arnolds, England, Sicily, and Montreal. I won some medals and a few Championships! Every tournament I did, I finished in the top 3. I made new friends, strengthened friendships with old friends, and I tried my best to do all I could for the people I loved to most!

"I will strive for perfection, knowing that "perfection" is the realization that it does not exist. I accept this.....and go forward bravely." - Me

2013 Year in Review Part 3

Posted by Anthony Sansonetti on December 30, 2014 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Touring and training in Sicily

       The day after competing in the British Sambo Championship I flew from London to palermo for a week of touring Sicily. Before i went to the British, I wanted to plan a trip to a place or country I had never been. Both of my Grandmothers are Sicilian so I decided this would be a good place to visit. I found a very cheap flight (less than $100) from London-Stansted  Airport to Palermo. I had planned to travel alone, but when I mentioned the trip to my brother-in-law Dave, he was interested in going as well. So it went like this me- New York, London, win some Sambo medals, Palermo. Dave went Boston, Dublin, drink some beers, Palermo. I arrived several hours before Dave and had to make my way to the hotel. This was my first time to Sicily, and I had expected something different in my head. I expected it to be like scenes out of Godfather Part 2 or from one of my favorite movies Baaria. I expected pick pockets, mafiosa, and old women wearing all black mourning attire. It was not like this at all, but I am not sure what description would do it justice. The best way to decribe Palermo in one word is intense! Everyone, everywhere, it all comes at you like actors and scenes on a movie set. People there just seemed just so full of life and intensity, maybe they are all just a reflection of the city itself which is rich in history and over 2700 years old. I took the the bus from the airport to the center of palermo. I was quite sure the bus driver was trying to get into an accident, as he was serving in and out of traffic and cutting off people in a way that makes New York City cabs seem calm. I quickly learned that the most dangerous thing in Palermo is walking across a street. Later that day I met up with my brother-in-law and decided on what to do.


       We had planned a week long tour, but we knew it would be impossible to see everything as Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean sea. We split up for a day as I wanted to take the train to Cefalu, which is the town where my Grandmother's family is from. Cefalu is very different that Palermo, it is a smaller town that is now a summer tourist hotspot. Overlooking the town is a gigantic rock, called La Rocca. I climbed  La Rocca to the top where there is an ancient fortress, which took about 3 hours in sandals and 90 degree heat. The view from the top is amazing andw ell worth the walk. I couldn't help but imagine that many of my past relatives climbed this mountain and saw the same view. Cefalu is an amazing and beautiful place, it was hard to imagine why anyone would want to leave.

     The next day we took a 4 hour train ride to Agrigento, which is famous for having some of the best ancient Greek ruins outside of Greece itself. We toured the "Valley of the Temples", it was very interesting to see these old structures and I find ancient history fascinating. That being said, after an hour or 2, it is done and time to move on. There is not much to do in the town of Agrigento, so rented a car and drove a few hours along the southern coast to out next destination, Modica.

      This city is another tourist spot that Italians like to visit in the summer. Modica sits in the part of Sicily that is famous for it's Baroque architecture. Modica, like most places in Sicily that I visited is very laid back and friendly. People were just very nice. We burnt out the clutch on our rental car driving the incrediblly steep and narrow hilly streets Modica. Our car was stuck in a narrow hilly street away from any touristy areas or stores. There were just apartments and not many people around. People realized we were in trouble and came out from their apartments to help. Soon it seemed a crowd of 50 or more people were out in the street and on their balconies. After they helped us get our problem fixed, they cheered as we made it back up the steep hill and drove away. They were very helpful and friendly people. From Modica, we did day trips to Siracusa and some of the surrounding beach towns.

     On one of the last days I decided to visit Ragusa, and train at the only Sambo gym in Sicily. A.S.D. City Gym is run by Alfio Nifosi. Alfio has  represented Italy and competed in Combat Sambo at the World Championships. Wherever I travel I try to visit a Martial Arts gym and share techniques. Alfio had invited me to train and had informed me that because it is summer many of his students are on holiday, and it would just be a small group training. We had a good training session and exchanged techniques. The atmosphere in his gym is very friendly and the his students are all very good. Nobody spoke English and I don't speak Italian, but we still got along well and had a great time training. my visit later made the local newspaper in Ragusa. Here is the article.

   Overall my trip to Sicily was amazing. It was great to swim in the sea, especially after just competing a few days before in England. I did not talk about the food or the cafes in Sicily. Why you might ask? Because I can write about that for 3 more pages! I grew up in a very italian American household with incredible food, so I have experienced really good home cooked Italian meals. So I am a tough critic. let's just say everything in Sicily was incredible! Pasta, fish, and Pizza were all amazing, everywhere I went. The best Cannoli i ever had in my life was at a small cafe in Licata. A year later and I am still dream of it!  The cafes all had great espresso, both in restaurants and cafes in Sicily, you are never rushed to order or to leave. They truly treat you like family everywhere. Give me their Espresso..Pizza...Gelato, all day, everyday!


2013 Year in Review Part 2

Posted by Anthony Sansonetti on December 19, 2014 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

   2013 really was a very busy year for our competition team. Our fighters competed in pro and amateur MMA, Sambo, Freestyle Sambo, Judo, Catch Wresetling, and No-Gi Submission Grappling. That is part of the reason it has taken so long to catch up on the happenings with Team Renegade. Another reason was having a newborn at home, which made traveling to competitions, coaching, training, and running a full time martial Arts school very difficult. We got everyting done and took home many medals and victories, but Blogging took a back seat to the events at hand. Life is a learning process, and in the last 2 years I have learned to manage my time much more efficiently.

British Sambo Championships - In late June of 2013 I traveled to England to represent the United States at the British Sambo Championships. This was my 2nd time at the British, I had competed in 2010 and had won the Gold medal in the Masters Division as well as a Silver medal in the mens -90KG division. This was the first and only time an American had won a Gold medal in the Masters, an accomplishment that I am very proud of. In the years previous to 2010, the United States was looked as being very weak in Sambo. We earned more respect that day.

(2 pics of me from 2010 Britsh sambo Championship)

           Anyway, forward to 2013. The president of the British Sambo Federation, Russell Dodds, asked me to come by his club (Bedford Grappling Club) the day before the tournament and share some techniques with his students. I was honored to be asked, as I had competed against Russell back in 2010, he is a very fierce competitor and is an accomplished coach in both Judo and Sambo.

(2 Pictures from Bedford grappling Academy below)


The next day was the tournament. Before tournaments I usually talk to everyone, I am very friendly, and most people are friendly in the sport of Sambo. It is a brotherhood for sure. In one of my matches I faced a former semi-pro rugby player.  I had been talking with this group before the tournament began, and I feel this man took my friendliness as weakness, that maybe I was "soft". As soon as the match started he charged forward and headbutted me out of view of the referee. Tasting my own blood,  I immediately become very adrenalized, and beat him 12-0 (4 point throw, 4 point hold, 4 point throw), all in less than a minute. Afterwards, I realized I had bit off a small piece of my tongue when I was headbutted. To be clear, I do not know if this man did it on purpose, it doesn't matter, I agree with getting away with anything you can to win a match, even if it's "dirty". I don't play this way, or want my students to, but I have no problem with it. Afterwards I talked to my opponent, with mutual respect and no hard feelings. He seemed to be a good  guy, a very "tough" guy, while his Sambo skills weren't very elite, he was still the kind of guy you would want on your side in a pub fight! Overall, I did very well, taking a Bronze Medal in the mens -100 KG division, and once again a Gold Medal in the Masters division. I was pleased to become a 2x British Sambo Champion!