Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the most important art you can learn.


Chad Livingston, Alive again!

Chad 'The Punisher' Livingston

Chad Livingston’s very first mixed martial arts competition was for a title in Louisiana against a very tough fighter, Dominic Falzarano.  Dominic had over 10 fights and had previously beaten one of our guys.  When I suggested Chad make his debut against him, the promoter thought I was crazy.  Chad ended up stopping Falzarano in the 3rd round and coming home with the belt.  His next platform for success was in the 16 man, 155lb  Rise of a Warrior tournament.  Chad beat 4 skilled fighters enroute to becoming the 1st champion.

His first title defense was to a fighter whom was also in the tournament and lost a controversial decision, Charles Rosa.  That would make Rosa’s only loss in both MMA and kickboxing competitions, and he was what UFC veteran, Charles McCarthy called the best amateur in the country.

Chad lost his title to Rosa!

Coming back to the cage after his first loss, Chad looks to capture the belt at a new weight – 145lbs from the current champion, James Pessagno.

How will he respond?

It has been said that “Adversity introduces a man to himself”.  Since his loss, I have seen that fire back in his eyes – the same fire that he had right before walking out to his first fight in Louisiana.  The intensity that he has been bringing into the sparring sessions make him one of the scariest guys in the room.   He has become one of my most pertinent and favorite training partners.  I can’t wait to see him scrap this Saturday!  April 21st, Rise of a Warrior 6 at The Havert L. Fenn Center in Ft. Pierce.


Dedicated to bouncing back

Din Thomas

April 21st… This will be the Fight of the Night.

Rise of a Warrior

On April 21st, most of the world will have their eyes on Jon Jones and Rashad Evan as they battle it out at UFC 145 in Atlanta, Ga.  But here is a fight that interests me even more and has the potential to be the Fight of the Night: Carlos Lopez vs Mike Perry at the Rise of the Warrior at the Havert L. Fenn Center in Ft. Pierce, Fl.

I know Mike Perry from his time that he spent as a student at American Top Team in Longwood, Fl.  He was a naturally gifted striker from Detroit with an aggressive attitude.  From a fighter’s perspective, I loved it.  I remember thinking to myself, “this kid has pop”.  Since then he has trained around and amassed a 6-1 record.  At the start of the tournament, I considered him the Darkhorse.

Carlos Lopez is a fighter’s fighter.  He has been a student at American Top Team in Port St Lucie for some time now and his work ethic has inspired everybody within his radius.  He has tremendous focus and I have never seen him give less than 110% on a mat.  Recently he spent some time training at the main ATT academy in Coconut Creek, sparring with Strikeforce standout, Jorge Masvidal and Bellator fighter, Luis Sapo Santos.  Carlos mixing it up with those guys produced fireworks that would make the 4th of July jealous. Afterwards, Thiago Alves asked me where I found him.

When Perry and Lopez meet in the cage, it could get wild.  Thats a fight I wouldn’t miss in a million years.  I am just glad I will have the opportunity to see it live at the Rise of a Warrrior.  If you are in the Treasure Coast area, whether you have been to a live fight or not, that fight alone is worth the price of admission.


Dedicated to the scrap

Din Thomas

2 weeks til the move

Coach Anthony teaches a technique

On first thought some would suggest that 2 weeks is a rather short time to plan and execute a successful move. Ok, lets be honest, it is. This was all the more reason to maximize the efficiency of this whole venture. What I am attempting to do is relocate 2 fully functional martial arts academies and merge them into one super academy. Before I reveal how I will accomplish this, let me brief you on how we got here in the first place.

When I first announced the move some people thought that I may have been planning this because it was always a dream of mine to have a school in the mall. Well, we didnt plan this.  Myself and Dan Donaldson jokingly revisted an old idea that we had and had been rejected on numerous times.  We joked about it on a Sunday. Dan called the mall on that Monday.  By the following Monday I had been approved by the county to operate in that location and paid the security deposit. A few days later, I made the announcement. Even before the actual move theres still plenty to do. And that is how we intend to succeed – by “doing”.

Most people waste too much time by procrastinating, creating excuses, creating distractions often times in the form of work, or just plain old thinking too hard. Well while you are thinking, and contemplating, and running around pretending to be too busy, others are getting pressing issues accomplished. That is how I intend to make this transition as well as govern myself in my day to day life.

As for our grand merge, I want to eliminate any unnecessary items, ideas,  and distractions.  Me and my team will attack this with the same approach as we do on the mats – with focused aggression.

Dedicated to the world’s doers

Din Thomas

My right hand man

A determined Hector

Last night, while sparring, I got hit with a monster right hand by Hector that had me doing the Stanky Leg.  Now before you ask, “Wow! Hector Lombard hit you?  Are you Ok?”  First I must say, I am Ok and thanks for asking.  But no, and while very well capable, it was NOT Hector Lombard that hit me.  It was Hector Hernandez!

If you don’t know Hector Hernandez, he is a 135lbs amateur fighter from Indiantown that trains at Treasure Coast American Top Team and was bestowed tHector determinedhe honor of last years Student of the Year award…and rightfully so.  None of this surprises me.  Just the night before, I asked Hector to stick around the academy after his classes to get some extra work.  And in traditional fashion, as I was rolling up about 30 minutes late, he was in his car about to leave. His glassy eyes were a testiment to his fatigue.  I suggested that he go home, and he suggested otherwise. Even as much as he may not have wanted to he looked at me and said “lets do it!”. He gave me 6 more determined and focused rounds.

Back to last night, after I got hit and regained my wits, I was overwhelmed by a sensation of pride.  I was proud that he was able to do it.  As an instructor nothing pleases me more than to see my students progress to the point where they can execute the techniques on me that I taught them.  It is all a part of the process.  It would not be possible without the determination, work ethic, patience, and love for what you are doing…and Hector has that.


Dedicated to determination

Din Thomas

Treasure Coast American Top Team

winning isn’t convenient

Thiago Alves winning!

This may or may not apply to you as a competitor.  If it does not apply to you as an athletic competitor I do hope that you can relate in such a way that it applies to some aspect of your life.  Like it or not, we are all competing for something.

Winning isn`t convenient.  As a fighter, everything about the job is a struggle .  This glamorous lifestyle that we all admire and strive for isn’ t easy. To be a doctor it would take years of studying for countless hours and pulling all-nighters. It would cost you a couple hundred thousand dollars as well.  Yet, as a mixed martial arts fighter, we think we can just breeze our way into the spotlight and beat people up without sacrifice.

Last week, Kami, the ATT main academy’s wrestling coach told me that Thiago Alves was tired and didn’t want to train. He came in and trained anyway. Why? Because he wants to win.  He is willing to do so at all cost without excuses.

I hate excuses (different from reasons).  Here are some of my favorites: “my training partners suck, my training partners are too good, I don’t have time, the coach doesn’t like me, my instructor is never there, the game was on, my girlfriend or boyfriend ________________ ( fill in the blank)”.  My all time personal favorite… “I would train but I am not in shape.”  I could go on for days.

The point is that if you want something you have to sacrifice ALOT and go get it.  And it will not be always be easy.  Winning is not at the mercy of your convenience.


Dedicated to winning through sacrifice

Din Thomas

Treasure Coast American Top Team 772-985-0789

Coach Jason Gladey leads the way

Coach Jason getting his guns loaded


Congratulations to Coach Jason Gladey for winning his fight this past weekend at Pure MMA in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.  Coach Jason secured an arm triangle choke midway in the first round after securing a takedown and delivering some serious strikes on Chicago mixed martial artist, Robert Sandoval.  Coach Jason just set the standard by winning the first fight of the year for our fight team.  Be sure to get your training on in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class with him at American Top Team Port St Lucie on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8pm.


Dedicated to raising the standard

Din Thomas

If you are interested in learning Brazilian Jiu-jitsu or mixed martial arts, be sure to stop by American Top Team Port St Lucie or Treasure Coast American Top Team

Treasure Coast American Top Team


This is all you really need

Coach Anthony Esposito working from his guard

I was compelled to write this after reading a tweet from my good friend, Bellator welterweight and American Top Team: Orlando fighter, Ben Saunders.  He tweeted something about the makeup of a good academy being good training partners and hard working individuals.

As the sport of mixed martial arts continues to grow and dominate our attention, the demand will continue to grow.  As the demand continues to grow, so will the supply.  Unfortunately, that supply will not be regulated and monitored.  Folks will be fooled…

The easiest way to fool people will be aesthetically.  Some investor will purchase a big, beautiful facility and deck it out with the newest equipment.  Add some weights and maybe even a juice bar.  The sky is the limit.  But remember one thing, a big budget is not synonymous with having a good academy.  Its fun to have alot of toys and they are useful but it is very independent of good training.

I am going to tell you the most important feature that any school can have.  More important than a 5000sq ft mat area or a 40ft cage.  More important than bags and weights.  That feature is “RELATIONSHIPS”.

Above anything thing else, a good academy is powered by positive healthy relationships between everybody: instructors to students, instructors to parents, instructors to instructors, and probably most importantly, students to students.   These positive relationships allow you to humble yourself to learn.  These positive relationships allow you to respect other’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as your own.  These positive relationships allow you to disregard your ego and train hard with your fellow classmates without insult.

I love training.  I, often, train at the world famous American Top Team Main Academy in Coconut Creek, Fl.  And I have also trained on motel room floors.  It really makes no difference to me. The only thing that really matters is the positive relationship between myself and the person I am trying to choke out.


Dedicated to the love and respect for Jiu Jitsu

Din Thomas

Treasure Coast American Top Team 772-985-0789



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