The whole World was surprised by the growth of MMA. I had been doing MMA before anyone knew what it was called. This is a little story that most of you out there don’t know. Raised by my father a great boxer, I was taught boxing around the same time I began to walk. My father had me hitting his mitts, which were his big calloused hands from hard work as a carpenter. I woke up yesterday June 7th thinking about him it would have been his birthday. My father was a tough man and raised me to be the same and I thank his memory for that which made me the man that I have become.
The baby Boomer generation of which I am a part of was an explosion of children, hundreds of kids outside playing sports, games ,fighting and doing whatever kids do at the various ages.It was a wonderful time to grow up video games weren’t invented kids played outside. Obese children where very rare. We ran we played we stayed active until the lights went out at the playground, and then we went home took a bath and got ready for school the next day. I would do pushups before bed and tighten my muscles so they would be strong, say my prayers and drift off to sleep. The winter in Chicago is always pretty severe however the playground stayed open. We would Ice skate as long as there was ice and wrestle on a 10×10 horse hair mat whenever the Custodian Mr. John Abbate would let us. The kids would wrestle and the place would reek from so many stinky sweaty bodies scratching out a corner of that mat to do battle. I was a natural and extremely tiny I would wrestle anyone any size all afternoon until the lights went out and we were sent home. The first Tournament was the North Side Championship at Lane Tech High School. I was so small that I wasn’t going to make the required 65 lbs to compete. John Abbate grabbed everybody’s locks I crammed them all in my pockets and had me hold a stack of silver dollars in my mouth so I made weight, with the added weight I still barely made it. The tournament was my very first major competition I had to wrestle four different times and remember that my final bout was against the defending light weight Champion Chris Otis from Henry Coached by the biggest scariest man I ever saw his name was Dick Crockett a huge wrestler and power lifter. John had faith in me and told me to take it to him. I did and through the whole might of my undersized body against the Champion. The match remains a blur in time but the outcome was the beginning of a long illustrious career as a grappler. I became the Champion and my name was posted in the Chicago Tribune. To the Hundreds of kids in my community I now had an identity I was little Bobby Schirmer the Champion Grappler.
Tip of the day start your students young the younger the better!