Since moving to Maryland in 2003, I've trained at a number of area schools. Initially, I had heard about a Renzo Gracie school in downtown Baltimore, but "only big MMA guys train[ed] there." As I come from a Renzo background and knowing that his techniques are absolute top quality, I eventually checked out the "big, scary guys", and I haven't looked back!
Ground Control provides an excellent competitive platform, whether training for MMA or grappling events. At Ground Control I've had the honor being a multiple time NAGA and US Grappling champion, as well as taking home gold and silver medals at the Renzo Gracie Invitationals, the North American ADCC Amateurs, and Grapplers' Quest. We don't aim for second place, and we train accordingly.
A lot of schools are currently selling self defense to women, largely untested methods taught by guys who will never be in a self defense situation. At Ground Control I've learned that if a new guys walks off the street at 200 pounds or more, chances are I can submit him. That's not a theoretical or a statistic, that's a standard Thursday night. For a 135 lb. woman, it's also a pretty good feeling of security. Yes, this academy is tough and Rallo's standards are high, but whether you're preparing for a ring fight, a grappling competition, or meeting the wrong guy at the wrong time, why would you want anything less?
- Cynthia O'Rourke
UMBC Graduate Student
I started training at Ground Control at age 23 with no martial arts background, no wrestling background and a minimal level of fitness. After just 3 months of training I was ten pounds lighter and holding my own against more experienced grapplers. I can't thank the instructors at Ground Control enough!
- John Borkowski
I have been training at the academy for a while now and I have found it to be like no other sport I have ever played. There are no so called Prima Donnas at the academy. All I have ever experienced are instructors and students doing what they need to do to make each and every person at the academy as good as they can be. From John Rallo(Black Belt), Rocky Marcantoni(Brown Belt), Binky Jones(Brown Belt) and Mark "Barbaletto" Finley(Brown Belt) to all the other Purple, Blue, and White belts, I have never experienced anyone that was not willing to help. Not only will they watch you they are willing to get on the mat and show you how to complete techniques. This type of hands on experience is unsurpassed. The only thing you have to fear by stepping into the academy is, you may like it so much you may not want to train any other way. I played softball for many years and never got the satisfaction I have gotten at Ground Control. This is a true TEAM, from John to the new student, you are part of it. GJJ is not the only discipline offered at Ground Control. If you so desire you can be trained in wrestling by Chad Hoare or Muay Thai/Boxing by Henry Smith and Chris Stickles. Again, you are going to be trained by some of the best instructors around. So no matter your desire wether it is to just get in shape and learn some self defense applications or to compete in the fastest growing sport in the world of MMA, you can and will be trained by the best to be the best. Don't hesitate or delay any longer and give Ground Control a call for pricing and scheduling. Thanks John, Rocky, Binky, Mark and Rob Mulqueen for everything you have done for me.
When I joined Ground Control in September 2005, I had no background in sports. I was 335 lbs. and hopelessly out of shape.
Like a alot of people, I was a bit skeptical about BJJ and how pratical it really is. That is until I paired up with a 135 lb. purple belt who quickly showed me that size is of little advantage when confronted with technique. This was my motivation to get in the gym almost 5 days a week.
The entire staff has worked very hard to to help me get better (not to mention lose 95 lbs). And I have nothing but respect for my academy and its coachs. They have really made me feel like part of the family.