Gaijin Ryu Dojo Makes the News
So our dojo was featured in the Advocate of Eldersburg and Sykesville. Partly because they heard about the new IBL team we had going. So, slowly we're rising.
Leroy Epperson, left, John Shaddock, right.
The fight is on! Mixed fighting methods thing of the future
ELDERSBURG — Local boxing instructor John Shaddock has joined forces, literally, with martial arts instructor Leroy Epperson to bring a new fight to town.
The duo operate the Gaijin Ryu Dojo in Eldersburg that recently began offering mixed martial arts training when Shaddock and Epperson officially became business partners on April 2.
“Things just kind of fell together for us,” Shaddock said. “It is a very natural partnership.”
Shaddock began taking Jiu-Jitsu lessons from Epperson in October 2007 and shortly after, the two began discussions on combining their skills to teach mixed martial arts.
Both instructors are highly qualified and come from wide-ranging backgrounds of both experience and education in fighting skills.
Shaddock, who began wrestling at the age of three, fought in the amateur boxing competition, Golden Gloves, for eight years, won the Diamond Belt tournament in New England and studied Shorin Ru karate.
“I’ve always enjoyed some form of combat or fighting,” Shaddock said. “The neat thing about mixed martial arts is that is combines all facets of combat – ground fighting, kicking, striking with the hands and boxing.”
Epperson’s credentials date back to 1977 when he began his formal martial arts training before rising through the ranks.
He has since served as corporate vice president of Kim’s Karate, a company of more than 35 locations based on the East Coast, for 12 years. Epperson has also taught lessons out of his home before settling at the location in Eldersburg. He is now the president of World Combat Arts Federation, based in Ellicott City, and he is ranked Hachi-Dan, a high level of mastery, in Gaijin Ryu Jiu-Jitsu by nine martial arts associations, both nationally and internationally based.
Preparing for competition
Preparations for an upcoming national mixed martial arts tournament are also in the works for Shaddock and Epperson.
The International Battle League, a division of the International Sports Combat Federation based in Newcastle, Calif., is holding a nationwide tournament for amateur mixed martial arts teams with regional division battles beginning in June.
Shaddock is holding open tryouts for adult men who are interested in joining the team.
“Fighters will have to know everything for this tournament,” Shaddock said.
Team members will have to be skilled in ground fighting,
boxing and kicking, Shaddock said.
“About 95 percent of fights go to the ground,” Epperson said.
Shaddock and Epperson’s team, the Baltimore Renegades, is one of the four confirmed mixed martial arts teams to participate in the eastern conference division of the tournament. The three remaining teams are based in Virginia.
“Everyone is going to try to bring their cream of the crop guys,” said Lionell Royer, eastern conference director for the International Battle League. “Eyes are going to be on them and there’s a good chance they’ll be spotted.”
Both Shaddock and Epperson said they will be teaching their team the best skills to take to the competition.
Shaddock said he will be confident going to the tournament.
“It’s Maryland versus Virginia and we’re going to kick their butts,” Shaddock said with a smile. “We plan on winning all of our fights.”
Laura Petersen can be reached at 410-857-3317 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gaijin Ryu Dogo, 443-280-0812 or http://shaddockmma.com
- Advocate Staff Writer
Maverick, left, Mr. Nate, right