Meet Your Merchant: A martial arts ‘revolution’
October 10, 2011
TAHOE/TRUCKEE andamp;#8212; Marc Cramer remembers the fight. As fights go, it was historic. It changed his life and made him a believer.There he was, shining out from the television screen, Royce Gracie himself, soon-to-be Ultimate Fighting Championship winner doing what he did best andamp;#8212; winning. Gracie, a 170-something pound Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter, was up against the taller 200-plus pound Gerard Gordeau for title of UFC champ. Gracie was dominating, bringing Gordeau to the ground, dodging attacks, throwing out grabs, holds, it was a game changing fight.Cramer recalled watching it all go down. He was struck. It was amazing. This smaller guy, this underdog, with his crazy fighting style, beating the odds. And when Gracie put his finishing rear naked choke hold on Gordeau, sending him into submission. Well, that was it, Cramer knew what he wanted to do with his life.Standing on a training mat Wednesday in his fitness and martial arts gym, Revolution Athletics Training Center, Cramer said Gracie was a martial arts icon for him and for many mixed martial arts fans then and now. Cramer said the fight, 1993’s UFC 1, drew him to learn more about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and eventually led him to team up with a friend to open a fitness and martial arts center of his own housing the Charles Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Learning Academy of Truckee-Tahoe and CrossFit Truckee fitness program.Yet the path that led him here, Cramer said, was not a picnic andamp;#8212; bone wearying work was what it was. Going from a fan to martial arts fighter and fitness coach, was not about an image or glory walks. In fact, mostly it was about learning how to lose, lose again and continue losing until you won. Learning martial arts took discipline and dedication, Cramer said, and now that he has a business teaching it andamp;#8212; it means even more discipline and dedication.andamp;#8220;Just like with anything else, Jiu-Jitsu is a microcosm of life you lose, and you come back, and you win again,andamp;#8221; Cramer said.As his fitness and martial arts training center has developed, Cramer has tried to teach these virtues to his adult and youth students through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and CrossFit, a core strength and conditioning program designed to improve cardiovascular endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power and coordination.andamp;#8220;What we offer is a lot of hard work, and people come in and they just love it,andamp;#8221; Cramer said. andamp;#8220;People devote themselves and they see the successes.andamp;#8221;Cramer tells the story of a student he had who exemplified this. The student came to him without any sports background and started learning Jiu-Jitsu. Cramer said he watched him gradually improve, gradually dedicate himself to martial arts over two years, and when he entered high school wrestling, he won the state championship his first year out.andamp;#8220;He learned perseverance, he learned how to work hard,andamp;#8221; said Cramer.What separates Jiu-Jitsu from other martial arts is its non-striking techniques that allow practitioners to control and subdue an opponent of greater size and strength by using leverage techniques, such as grabs and holds.Cramer said this virtue greatly reduces injuries during training and enables a person to defeat an opponent regardless of size and without the need to use excessive force and brutality.Cramer said the community has been very supportive as business has continued to grow and couldn’t be more appreciative, both to teach and to see the achievements of his students.andamp;#8220;I’m just so thrilled to have this job. This is a gift; it’s an absolute gift, simple as that,andamp;#8221; Cramer said.