I used to go Joe's church....back around '91. Basically, there are two things I can tell you that might be relevant here....
First, Joe Burress is full of ****.
Two, Joe Burress has probably had martial arts training.
He did a lot of karate demos as part of his ministry. He could do things like break a stack of wood, cement blocks, etc. using a "one-inch" punch and things like that. Very effective at kicking the ass of inanimate objects. Also, you know, he seemed to move well.
Regarding point one above....he claims to have sparred with Chuck Norris when he was 18, he claims that the "mafia was after him" right around the time of his conversion to Christianity but since HUNDREDS of people were praying for the soul of Joe Burress thinks worked out for him. I only mention the religious stuff because I have heard a tall tale or two from him in this area regarding the mafia and such. He also bizarrely claimed that he converted an entire biology faculty (RIT) to young earth creationism or the view that the Earth is 10,000 yrs. old. In any case, he does have charisma, he can probably throw a solid punch, and he definitely exaggerates anything that ever happened to him.
The guy who claims to have won 2nd place in 2006 (Cody Goodfriend) would have been 17 or 18 years old (he is 22 now)...kind of young. Also, I can attest that many of the divisions that year only had 2 or three guys as it was the first year of the event.
For example, my student had 3 guys in his division. He won one and lost one. I also believe they had 2 experience levels. So, while I am not saying it is the case, there is a possibility that Cody got second place by losing. We also don't know what experience level he competed in, if he was there.
As a side note, it really irks me when people don't clearly list info like experience divisions in their bios.
I also question how he got his "Black Belt" in one year.
Oh...I know how: LISTEN
I can vouch for there being a wealth of ex-military and current military members there. Their crossfit program is run by a Marine, and a couple army 1st Sgt's run other programs within their church as well. A lot of students there are current or former Marine enlisted or officers, and I personally was drawn to this school because of the high percentage of military service members and police officers who train here. Ive worked out at trinity, trained a little at cnymma in Binghamton NY, and had basic exposure to the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, and in my humble experience I have not seen another group with such intense physical conditioning or intensity of training. Regardless, I can definitively answer that yes there is a military presence at trinity.