Central Pennsylvania Mixed Martial Arts (CPAMMA in State College, PA)
Facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/cpamma.
CPAMMA was started in it's current location by Ryan Gruhn in early 2010, though Kru Gruhn had been teaching in the State College area for several years before opening his own gym.
The semester schedule is located on the site, available in pdf form: http://www.cpamma.com/schedule/. It's easier to just see it rather than me typing it out. The schedule outlines several possible basic packages, each starting at $75. Most of it is self-explanatory, signing up for Muay Thai gives you access to all the MT classes in a given week; ditto for boxing, BJJ, wrestling or submission wrestling. The MMA program is a fantastic deal; it gives you one class every day of the week for that same $75 fee and follows a schedule of Muay Thai, wrestling, boxing, sub wrestling and blend (obviously a mix of everything/focus on transition areas) going from Monday to Friday, respectively. Want to be well-rounded? This is the program for you.
Striking Instruction: 8
Ryan Gruhn is the head striking instructor, teaching boxing and muay thai. He is a certified coach in the USA Boxing association and a level IV instructor in Muay Thai under Ajarn Chai. 2 students in his boxing class claimed Golden Gloves titles in Pennsylvania in 2009, one in the female division and one in the male (videos at the bottom). CPAMMA also had a student finish first in the 2010 Golden Gloves tournament. One of his assistant instructors also currently holds a 3-0 record in Muay Thai (video of one fight at bottom). Classes are generally split into groups between beginners (less than 2 semesters of experience) and intermediate/advanced students. Beginning students work almost exclusively on fundamentals with pad work, bag work and partner drills. Sparring is generally reserved for intermediate students and above, and is almost always at 50% or lower intensity in night classes. Advanced/fight team classes during the day (by invite only) do harder sparring, especially in preparation for a fight. Good points about having the same instructor for both ranges of combat include lessons that build on each other between boxing and muay thai, especially in Friday's 7:30-8:30 combined class. Striking classes are also taught with a focus towards MMA, hence you'll find fewer "works-in-this-ruleset-only" tricks, especially in boxing.
Grappling Instruction: 8
CPAMMA's BJJ program is associated with the Renzo Gracie BJJ system under black belt Shawn Williams. The head instructor Dave Light, a purple belt in BJJ, trained under now-black-belt Jeff Rockwell from 2006 to 2009 in State College. Dave was also the president and instructor of the Penn State Jujitsu club before the university shut it down. I'm no grappling expert, but Dave seems extremely knowledgeable and proficient in BJJ, both gi and no-gi. The second part of CPAMMA's grappling program is submission wrestling, taught specifically for the MMA program by Mike Fusco, a veteran of amateur MMA who claims a 7-2 record and level II certification under Erik Paulson. Fusco is also a BJJ purple belt. Finally, former Penn State wrestler Rick Bolinsky teaches the wrestling program, which is also included in the MMA series. Not having tried 2 out of the 3 grappling programs offered at CPAMMA, I can't give personal anecdotes, however the credentials of the program instructors are fairly impressive for a central Pennsylvania gym. CPAMMA is home to 4 BJJ purple belts under the Renzo Gracie system: Dave Light, Ryan Gruhn, Mike Fusco, and Tom Gates. In addition, Rick Bolinsky took 1st place in his division at the 2009 Pittsburgh BJJ Kumite Classic, and striking instructor (and BJJ purple belt) Ryan Gruhn took 2nd in his division (facebook videos at the bottom).
Weapons Instruction: 10
Weapons class is called "Reality Based Mixed Martial Arts," and involves both stickfighting, and the full range of unarmed combat. Essentially, class is taught in the model of a Dog Brothers Gathering, which is to be expected given that Ryan Gruhn is both an official candidate to be named "Guard Dog" and a Dog Brothers Martial Arts teacher under Marc Denny. Having not attended this class myself, I cannot speak to the actual content, however sparring videos are available on youtube (linked at the bottom). Ryan is one of 3 teachers of DBMA East of the Mississippi, and one of only 10 in the entire United States. Given the extremely high quality and excellent track record the Dog Brothers possess, and given how rare this kind of quality instruction is, I believe CPAMMA deserves a solid "10" for it's weapon instruction. From what I understand, although sticks are usually the focus weapon of RBMMA, knives and long sticks/staves are occasionally used. Ryan takes willing students with him to The Gathering to experience full contact. For weapons instruction, this is unequivocally the best training in Pennsylvania, maybe in the entire Northeast.
Varies somewhat by program and experience level. BJJ classes beyond the first 2-3 weeks include rolling every session, including an optional half-hour open mat just before evening striking classes. Striking classes generally hold off from sparring until you've been in the class 2 semesters, and do >50% intensity for advanced students only (at least on a regular basis). Despite the lower levels of intensity however, sparring is usually done on at least a weekly basis for intermediate students, and advanced students can spar at their own discretion/contact level in the cage or ring. Sparring is "greatly encouraged" in the RBMMA/stickfighting program as soon as students feel comfortable and are approved by Ryan. As with other programs, all sparring in RBMMA is under supervision.
Gloves, shinpads and headgear (this may explain less frequent hard sparring for striking) are all BYO in order to prevent infections. Hand targets, resistance bands and thai pads are all provided, in generally good condition. There are also a few target bags: a thai heavy bag, an uppercut bag, a medium sized ball bag and a double end bag. There's not a ton of equipment at the gym, but what's needed is there and in good condition.
Gym Size: 7
The gym is one large matted room, mirrors on one side. The gym has enough space, but isn't huge, and continually increasing enrollment (over 300 students as of Fall 2010!) may eventually put a strain on gym space.
Instructor/Student Ratio: 8
This will depend largely on the class you take. Most classes have a good instructor/student ratio, particularly when factoring in fight team members who act as assistant instructors when needed. However, go to your program on it's designated "MMA program" night (especially at the beginning of a PSU semester), and prepare to get lost in the swarm. The MMA program is by far the most popular, and classes can double in size depending on the night.
Being in a college town, and one with a good wrestling tradition, brings some unique challenges. The instructors, their assistants, members of the fight team and "regulars" (those in the program for 2 semesters or more) are almost all awesome people. However, especially at the beginning of a semester, Penn State students sign up for classes in droves, bringing with them deadly grandmasters of the killing arts, fratboys who are into this "Ultimate Fighting" thing, and meathead wrestlers who weren't quite good enough to be on the Penn State team, and decided instead to be the next big thing in MMA. These things happen at every gym, but the influx of all of them at once in late August/early February can make classes a very frustrating experience. This is especially true in BJJ classes, where former wrestlers tend to use aggression to the point of injury, even against fellow noobs. Fortunately, as you'd expect, most people with the attitude that they'll be in the UFC next year tend to leave after a month or two. Starting in the summer is definitely recommended, if only so you can gain some skill to defend against wrestler headbutts (yes, this happens) in BJJ class.
-Friday's 4:30-5:30 "blend" class and the regular RBMMA class are generally the only non-fight team classes to address takedowns/submission work/ground 'n pound all in the same curriculum.
-When empty, martial arts rooms are available for MA members to train in, however no sparring is allowed unless supervised by an instructor (fight team members excepted, not sure about rolling)
-Open mat held nightly M-R, 7:30-8 pm and various times between 12-4 pm Sat & Sun
-Non-program members or visiting martial artists are welcome to train (with instructor permission, of course), mat fee is $12.50 for one class or $25 for any/all classes in a given day
-Anything I missed, ask in the comments!
Golden Gloves 2009 (Nora Martin)
Golden Gloves 2009 (Shane Finn)
Golden Gloves 2010 (Alex Woskob)
Shane Finn Muay Thai
NOTE: These were recorded outside the gym, on Old Main Lawn on Penn State's campus. The youtube vids are all of students (I think), the facebook vid includes Ryan's first attendance of a Gathering.
EDIT: Last video is in a cage, and contains Ryan sparring a student.
YouTube - Stick Sparring - 5-19-2009 #3
YouTube - Stick Sparring - 5-19-2009 #4
YouTube - Stick Sparring - 6-2-2009 #2
YouTube - Stick Sparring - 5-19-2009 #6
Ryan's first Gathering
Ryan vs. student in a cage. Ryan's in the black shirt with yellow writing.
Kumite Classic 2009 (Rick Bolinsky, Match 1)
Kumite Classic 2009 (Rick Bolinsky, Match 2)
Kumite Classic 2009 (Ryan Gruhn, Match 1)
Kumite Classic 2009 (Ryan Gruhn, Match 2)
Kumite Classic 2009 (Ryan Gruhn, Match 3)
There are lots more videos on the cpamma facebook page! Link either at the top of the page or here.
BOTTOM LINE: Best training you can get in central PA for any one of the programs, and especially considering the combination of all of them in the same gym. Especially if you're looking for realistic, quality instruction on weapons fighting, you can do no better within a 250 mile radius, PERIOD. Expensive (for the area), but worth it if you can afford it. As the site says, "Why settle for discount when you can have quality?"
Last edited by G-Off; 8/22/2010 5:11pm at .
Sorry, I don't remember. I was sent a press release from Lionheart's management a month or two ago, but I don't have the email anymore. I'm pretty sure he visited 2 or 3 training camps on the west coast (Xtreme Couture, maybe?) and might have signed/moved out there to be closer to MMA's center in the States.
Originally Posted by Ka-Bar
Paul Bradley signed with Strikeforce, and I believe has gone northwest (Minnesota, maybe?) to find a more established MMA trainer.
EDIT: I've re-subscribed to the Lionheart mailing list...if I get an update, I'll post it here.
First off, thanks for the kind words and the time it took to write the review!
Any questions anyone here may have feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer.
Regarding the gym:
While we reside in "LionHeart" right now, the "LionHeart" brand is coming to an end soon as the gym is to be renamed "The Downtown Club" by the end of the year to follow the theme of "The North Club." Central PA Mixed Martial Arts will reside in The Downtown Club and will not, nor will ever have any affiliation with "LionHeart Fighters" or Chad Dubin.
I brought my programs and over 100+ students to the gym when it was renamed Lion Heart but to be honest I/We were never really part of the "Lion Heart" team and were just doing our MA programs inside LH. The CPAMMA fight team is still very good friends with all of the LH fighters and support them to no end. However, we want nothing to do with LHF.
He is in Cali right now training with a number of top notch fighters and teams. While I'll leave the details vague I'll say that he is definitely training with people who can take him to the next level! Two of our RBMMA fighters along with myself will be fighting in the DBMA Gathering on the 20th in LA and I've received word that Phil might be around the area so I might catch up with him later this month.
Paul is currently in Minnesota training with Ajarn Greg Nelson, Sean Sherk and the rest of the MMAA / Minn. Thaiboxing Association crew whom I introduce Paul to late last year when we had Sherk in for a seminar. He has recently signed with Strikeforce and is schedule to fight later this month!
Head Instructor / Owner
Central PA Mixed Martial Arts
127 Sowers St.
State College, PA 16801
Last edited by ryangruhn; 9/08/2009 11:40pm at .
Thanks for the comment, sir!
I've added a link to your profile on this site in the striking section. Glad you liked the review!
Last edited by G-Off; 9/08/2009 11:47pm at .
If I fly out to Happy Valley for the Ohio State game, how much is the mat fee at your facility?
Also, if I eat a quart of Alumni Swirl at the Creamery, how long should I wait for it to digest before taking said class?
Shoot me an email and we'll talk about the mat fee. Regarding the Creamery, I have yet to figure that one out myself . . . it might take some experimenting!
is currently being has been updated to reflect the program's new gym and programs! Business is booming at CPAMMA!
YouTube- CPAMMA on "Centre County Report"
YouTube- CPAMMA on "Centre County Report" II
Last edited by G-Off; 8/21/2010 12:21am at .
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