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Eastchester Youngsters Win Awards at North American Grappling Association (NAGA) Tournament

Students from the Westchester Martial Arts Academy who participated in the NAGA Tournament, from left: Alexa Grassi, Adrian Gjelaj, Matthew Vanadia, Lauren Naclerio and Addison D'Agostino.
Students from the Westchester Martial Arts Academy who participated in the NAGA Tournament, from left: Alexa Grassi, Adrian Gjelaj, Matthew Vanadia, Lauren Naclerio and Addison D'Agostino.
Weeks of intense training and instruction paid off handsomely for a group of local Eastchester youngsters as they competed April 26 in the North American World Champsionship Grappling Association (NAGA) Tournament, the largest mixed grappling event of its kind in the U.S. for both children and adult competitors. 

The elementary and middle school kids, all students of the Westchester Martial Arts Academy, took home two first-place medals, a second-place award and a fourth place. 

The two-day No-Gi tournament, held in Morristown, N.J., included adult and teen competitions as well an under-13 division.

No-Gi refers to the sport of submission wrestling, otherwise known as submission grappling or sports grappling.

In the weeks leading up to the competition, WMAA grappling instructor Ron Barone, with assistance from WMAA student Aidan Connolly, coached the competitors on the techniques and skills needed to successfully compete at such an event, drawing attention to each of their weaknesses as well as their strengths.

The students who participated in the tournament included Addison D'Agostino, 8, fourth place, Adrian Gjelaj, 12, who did not place; Lauren Naclerio, 12, first place; Matthew Sidoti, 10, first place; and Matthew Vanadia, 13, second place.

"I am proud of everyone who competed at NAGA," said Barone. "It was a great learning experience regardless if they won or lost."

WMAA is a full-service martial arts academy offering the finest in martial arts training to both adults and children. In addition to martial arts, WMAA offers the exclusive iLoveKickboxing.com fitness kickboxing program and is a TRX suspension training and Kettlebell Concepts provider. The results-driven environment at the WMAA combines with fun and effective training to promote mental and physical health and overall self-improvement. To learn more, visit www.westchestermartialartsclasses.com.

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