It was 1994, the summer after my senior year in college, I started dating one of my friend’s, Dan Henry’s old girlfriends, her name was Liza in Wayne, New Jersey. I asked my good friend Dan before I started dating her to make sure it was “ok”, but we were seventeen years old and his “it’s all good” attitude didn’t last long. All of my “friends” from high school decided to blackball me and completely disowned me as a friend, just because of how things all played out.
In retrospect, it was the greatest transitional point in my life. One of our mutual friends, Chris Tenga was away at boot camp for the Marines. He and Dan stayed in communication via writing letters back and forth and one of Tenga’s letters home promised Henry and his cronies that he would “beat the shit out of Cimins” when he returned from Boot Camp. I was petrified hearing this, because this kid was beating me up in high school soccer, his brother, Doug, two years younger used to beat me up too – I was screwed, LOL.
My brother, Paul Cimins (Author of Autism Spectrum Diet) had started training in Mixed Martial Arts, at the blend it was a blend of Koeikan Karate, Boxing, Wrestling and Sambo for his school, then called Rising Sun Martial Arts. The head instructors were Jerry Jones, Peter Tuccino and Nick Recanati. My brother came home one night and showed me some moves, he even choked me, I was hooked, with these skills, I would hopefully be able to defend myself!!! My first weekend (second class ever), I nearly quit because one of my training partners, Big John Makowski, under “Street Fighting” coach Mr. V told him to use his wrestling, rather than striking during a “multiple attack scenario”. I was holding the kicking shield for the first time and without notice, he picked me up and slammed me on my back – I wanted to quit. If it wasn’t for my friend, Nick Recanati, I would have quit for sure. He coached my confidence back up and within a few weeks, I was beating John’s ass in training – Recanati was THAT great of a coach and friend, otherwise my “quest” would have ended there. Jerry Jones’ grappling and Peter Tuccino’s Karate really rounded out my stand up and ground fighting. I was starting to catch on, I was really getting the hang of submission grappling, I was addicted!
Flash forward 12 weeks later, it’s the day Chris Tenga returns from basic training in the Marines – I had trained 2 times a day for nearly three months straight. This would be my first real streetfight and I was 100% prepared. I met up with Chris at his house the day he arrived home. One of our mutual friends, Gina Jones (Instructor Jerry Jomes’s younger sister) was in our grade and somehow she leaked the word to Marine Chris Tenga that I was training with her “crazy martial arts brother” to fight him and he should avoid an altercation with Cimins at all costs. Tenga met me on his front lawn the day he arrived home and said, “I’m a changed man, we have no qualms, I fight for my country, not against an old friend.” I was expecting the fight of my life against a trained killer, but I saw a more mature and directed young man in Chris Tenga, he seemed positively trained and focused.
Initially, I felt lost, I stupidly thought, “I trained for nothing,” but when Monday night came and I was back at Rising Sun Martial Arts. I was sitting in meditation at the beginning of class and I felt this super calming feeling of confidence and relaxation. I had defeated my first opponent WITHOUT fighting – I had taken the first true step to become a more complete person. I was addicted to martial arts, driving home for 4 years in college every weekend to train to become a Black Belt instructor, my first career goal.
My junior year in College, after competing at Gene LeBell’s Grappling Challenge under Rising Sun Martial Arts Team name was when MY QUEST truly began…read more in PART 2 soon – please SUBSCRIBE to get “Life Blog” posts first.
See you on the mats or Ringside!
Your Grappling Promoter,
Brian Cimins – Founder
Grapplers Quest Worldwide