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Thornwood Martial Artists Tops at NAGA World Event

THORNWOOD, N.Y. -- The Gracie Thornwood Mixed Martial Arts School competitors showed top form in the Jui-Jitsu form against the top submission fighters in the United States at the North American Grappling Association World Championships April 13-14 at the Mennen Sport Arena in Morristown, N.J.

In the boys' 7-11 age group, Logan Rafter earned a first-place finish, Carl Hertzner placed second in two categories and Brody McGuinn and Aiden Morgan each had a second-place finish for the Thornwood boys. Daniel Hertzner was headed for a first-place win when he sustained as injury and could not complete the competition. Rafter earned a samurai sword for his work while McGuinn and Morgan each took home the gold medal.

Coached by former Westlake football star Mike DeBiase and retired Mount Pleasant Police Sgt. Steve Kardian, the Thornwood MMA team trains in Brazilian Gracie Jui-Jitsu with Kru Muay Thai Kickboxing and World Class Takedowns. They train four times a week in multiple skills with an emphasis on self-discipline and good sportsmanship. Sparring sessions begin with handshakes and despite the tough competition each ends with another acknowledgement.

DeBiase also competed an took home the championship belt in the NAGA World Champions Black Belt Division and Mike Manello and Joe Sansone took second and third place, respectively, in the adult tournament.

Gracie Thornwood Mixed Martial Arts will compete next in July.

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