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Renegade Blog

2013 Year in Review Part 3

Posted by Anthony Sansonetti on December 30, 2014 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Touring and training in Sicily

       The day after competing in the British Sambo Championship I flew from London to palermo for a week of touring Sicily. Before i went to the British, I wanted to plan a trip to a place or country I had never been. Both of my Grandmothers are Sicilian so I decided this would be a good place to visit. I found a very cheap flight (less than $100) from London-Stansted  Airport to Palermo. I had planned to travel alone, but when I mentioned the trip to my brother-in-law Dave, he was interested in going as well. So it went like this me- New York, London, win some Sambo medals, Palermo. Dave went Boston, Dublin, drink some beers, Palermo. I arrived several hours before Dave and had to make my way to the hotel. This was my first time to Sicily, and I had expected something different in my head. I expected it to be like scenes out of Godfather Part 2 or from one of my favorite movies Baaria. I expected pick pockets, mafiosa, and old women wearing all black mourning attire. It was not like this at all, but I am not sure what description would do it justice. The best way to decribe Palermo in one word is intense! Everyone, everywhere, it all comes at you like actors and scenes on a movie set. People there just seemed just so full of life and intensity, maybe they are all just a reflection of the city itself which is rich in history and over 2700 years old. I took the the bus from the airport to the center of palermo. I was quite sure the bus driver was trying to get into an accident, as he was serving in and out of traffic and cutting off people in a way that makes New York City cabs seem calm. I quickly learned that the most dangerous thing in Palermo is walking across a street. Later that day I met up with my brother-in-law and decided on what to do.


       We had planned a week long tour, but we knew it would be impossible to see everything as Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean sea. We split up for a day as I wanted to take the train to Cefalu, which is the town where my Grandmother's family is from. Cefalu is very different that Palermo, it is a smaller town that is now a summer tourist hotspot. Overlooking the town is a gigantic rock, called La Rocca. I climbed  La Rocca to the top where there is an ancient fortress, which took about 3 hours in sandals and 90 degree heat. The view from the top is amazing andw ell worth the walk. I couldn't help but imagine that many of my past relatives climbed this mountain and saw the same view. Cefalu is an amazing and beautiful place, it was hard to imagine why anyone would want to leave.

     The next day we took a 4 hour train ride to Agrigento, which is famous for having some of the best ancient Greek ruins outside of Greece itself. We toured the "Valley of the Temples", it was very interesting to see these old structures and I find ancient history fascinating. That being said, after an hour or 2, it is done and time to move on. There is not much to do in the town of Agrigento, so rented a car and drove a few hours along the southern coast to out next destination, Modica.

      This city is another tourist spot that Italians like to visit in the summer. Modica sits in the part of Sicily that is famous for it's Baroque architecture. Modica, like most places in Sicily that I visited is very laid back and friendly. People were just very nice. We burnt out the clutch on our rental car driving the incrediblly steep and narrow hilly streets Modica. Our car was stuck in a narrow hilly street away from any touristy areas or stores. There were just apartments and not many people around. People realized we were in trouble and came out from their apartments to help. Soon it seemed a crowd of 50 or more people were out in the street and on their balconies. After they helped us get our problem fixed, they cheered as we made it back up the steep hill and drove away. They were very helpful and friendly people. From Modica, we did day trips to Siracusa and some of the surrounding beach towns.

     On one of the last days I decided to visit Ragusa, and train at the only Sambo gym in Sicily. A.S.D. City Gym is run by Alfio Nifosi. Alfio has  represented Italy and competed in Combat Sambo at the World Championships. Wherever I travel I try to visit a Martial Arts gym and share techniques. Alfio had invited me to train and had informed me that because it is summer many of his students are on holiday, and it would just be a small group training. We had a good training session and exchanged techniques. The atmosphere in his gym is very friendly and the his students are all very good. Nobody spoke English and I don't speak Italian, but we still got along well and had a great time training. my visit later made the local newspaper in Ragusa. Here is the article.

   Overall my trip to Sicily was amazing. It was great to swim in the sea, especially after just competing a few days before in England. I did not talk about the food or the cafes in Sicily. Why you might ask? Because I can write about that for 3 more pages! I grew up in a very italian American household with incredible food, so I have experienced really good home cooked Italian meals. So I am a tough critic. let's just say everything in Sicily was incredible! Pasta, fish, and Pizza were all amazing, everywhere I went. The best Cannoli i ever had in my life was at a small cafe in Licata. A year later and I am still dream of it!  The cafes all had great espresso, both in restaurants and cafes in Sicily, you are never rushed to order or to leave. They truly treat you like family everywhere. Give me their Espresso..Pizza...Gelato, all day, everyday!


2013 Year in Review Part 2

Posted by Anthony Sansonetti on December 19, 2014 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

   2013 really was a very busy year for our competition team. Our fighters competed in pro and amateur MMA, Sambo, Freestyle Sambo, Judo, Catch Wresetling, and No-Gi Submission Grappling. That is part of the reason it has taken so long to catch up on the happenings with Team Renegade. Another reason was having a newborn at home, which made traveling to competitions, coaching, training, and running a full time martial Arts school very difficult. We got everyting done and took home many medals and victories, but Blogging took a back seat to the events at hand. Life is a learning process, and in the last 2 years I have learned to manage my time much more efficiently.

British Sambo Championships - In late June of 2013 I traveled to England to represent the United States at the British Sambo Championships. This was my 2nd time at the British, I had competed in 2010 and had won the Gold medal in the Masters Division as well as a Silver medal in the mens -90KG division. This was the first and only time an American had won a Gold medal in the Masters, an accomplishment that I am very proud of. In the years previous to 2010, the United States was looked as being very weak in Sambo. We earned more respect that day.

(2 pics of me from 2010 Britsh sambo Championship)

           Anyway, forward to 2013. The president of the British Sambo Federation, Russell Dodds, asked me to come by his club (Bedford Grappling Club) the day before the tournament and share some techniques with his students. I was honored to be asked, as I had competed against Russell back in 2010, he is a very fierce competitor and is an accomplished coach in both Judo and Sambo.

(2 Pictures from Bedford grappling Academy below)


The next day was the tournament. Before tournaments I usually talk to everyone, I am very friendly, and most people are friendly in the sport of Sambo. It is a brotherhood for sure. In one of my matches I faced a former semi-pro rugby player.  I had been talking with this group before the tournament began, and I feel this man took my friendliness as weakness, that maybe I was "soft". As soon as the match started he charged forward and headbutted me out of view of the referee. Tasting my own blood,  I immediately become very adrenalized, and beat him 12-0 (4 point throw, 4 point hold, 4 point throw), all in less than a minute. Afterwards, I realized I had bit off a small piece of my tongue when I was headbutted. To be clear, I do not know if this man did it on purpose, it doesn't matter, I agree with getting away with anything you can to win a match, even if it's "dirty". I don't play this way, or want my students to, but I have no problem with it. Afterwards I talked to my opponent, with mutual respect and no hard feelings. He seemed to be a good  guy, a very "tough" guy, while his Sambo skills weren't very elite, he was still the kind of guy you would want on your side in a pub fight! Overall, I did very well, taking a Bronze Medal in the mens -100 KG division, and once again a Gold Medal in the Masters division. I was pleased to become a 2x British Sambo Champion!

2013 year in review

Posted by Anthony Sansonetti on December 8, 2014 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

                 Yes, You read it right! 2013 in review. We have done a better job at keeping our facebook page updated, and as 2014 comes to a close I have decided to make it my mission to BLOG more and keep everyone updated on the events and happenings with our team, our gym, and our soon to be international association. Below is the highlights of team Renegade competition results for 2013. here we go:

         NOLA Sambo invitational - For those that don't know NOLA stands for New Orleans, LouisianA. Ok you probably did, but I did not know for a long time! Jeremy Piaser, Ben Syers, and Anthony Sansonetti ( aka the NOLA expert)  competed in 3 different weight classes. Jeremy finished 2nd in his weight, I took 2nd as well, Ben won first. my good friend Reilly Bodycomb put on this tournament and It was very well run with many exciting matches. As a benefit, New Orleans is an amazing city to hang out in. I always prefer to travel and compete at new exciting places, but will go wherever they set up mats for a good tournament. This was my 2nd trip to NOLA. The French Quarter is pretty awesome, but after a day or 2 it can feel a bit too touristy. if you visit new orleans, try Frenchman Street for very cool bars with live music. We also went on a swamp tour which was something I have never done before and we all found it very enjoyable. I had a really good time, and I wish I could have stayed a few extra days. back to the matches, I don't remeber how Ben and Jeremy won their matches, but Jeremy probably pulled out some fast ninja moves, while Ben's matches must have went on all day as he slowly wore down his opponents. As for me, I had a really nice Tomoe Nage (stomach throw) and followed up with an armbar. I think I won another match by armbar as well. Gret tournament, great city, great time!


     Sambo at the Arnolds - This was the first year that they included Sambo at the Arnold Schwarzenegger sports festival. the Aronlds is held every year in Columbus, ohio. I competed at the Arnolds in 2005, which was the first year they included MMA. They ran the MMA event as a tournament in which you have to compete more than once in a day. I remember i had cut 18 lbs to make weight the day before. I won my first fight in the 2nd round with a guillotine. My next match was almost 4 hours later. The weight cut caught up with me and I began to feel exhausted in a way similiar to the Flu or mono, I was in no condition to do another fight, I had a hard time warming up and breaking a sweat before the fight. As there was 4 guys in my division, this match was for a gold or silver medal. I went out there flat and got caught in a choke, but still got a silver medal for my efforts. Anyway, that was 2005 and MMA, back to Sambo and 2013. The short of it, one of my students, Brittany, and I went and both came home with gold medals. I weighed around 215 lbs, but they did not have anyone my weight, so I agreed do do a match vs a 265 lbs guy. he had a Judo background, so I took him down with a belt grab version of o-uchi_gari, I then quickly leglocked him. Columbus is kind of a boring town, but the Arnolds is such a huge awesome event that it makes it worth going.

      US Sambo Championships - The US Sambo Championships was help in New Jersey in May of 2013. As a team, we took home 2 Gold medals, 4 Silver medals, and 1 Bronze medal. I won my division to win the USA Sambo Championship. I became the only person to have won both the Britsh (2010) and US Championship (2013).  Jeremy Piaser won Gold in Combat Sambo and also Silver in Sport Sambo. Jeremy has now won US Combat Sambo Championship (2013) and Canadien Combat Sambo championship (2008 ).

        More updates to come soon!  


Team Renegade Sponsorship

Posted by tigermartialarts on April 7, 2013 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

    Team Renegade is looking for Sponsorship to help our athletes with upcoming Sambo Tournaments in 2013!

The Team needs funds for Tournament Entry Fees, Equipment, and Travel Expenses. You can help us tremendously  for as little as just $25! We also have T-Shirts for sale where a portion of each sale goes towards the team for sponsorship. If you own a business, we have a special Business Advertsing Package, where 100% of the funds goes to the team. Anything you can give helps!

Please visit the Renegade Store to Sponsor!

   This is what we have planned so far for 2013

U.S. Open - May 5th, New Jersey

Scottish Sambo Open - July 20th, Scotland

We are also considering international Sambo tournaments later this year in:

Argentina ( Pan Ams), Germany, England, Bulgaria, and of course the USA.

Each Team member needs about $250 in Equipment, entrance fees into tournaments (ranging from $20 to $75), and travel expenses  which varies considerably. Anything we can raise will help lessen the financial burden on each competitor.

Here is a list of our current Renegade Sambo Competition Team with their Sambo achievements listed as well:

Anthony Sansonetti

2007 Sambo League Coach and Competitor for Sambo League Champions- Team Renegade
2008 Team American Sambo Coach and Competitor
2010 Britsh Open Sambo Championships- Champion - Gold Medal Masters Division
2010 British Open Sambo Championship - Finalist- Silver Medal 90KG Division
2011 Dutch Open Sambo Championships  - Finalist- Silver Medal
2011 Paris Grand Prix Sambo Championships - Semi-Finalist
2011 US Open and Pan American Sambo Championships - Semi-Finalist - Bronze Medal
2013 NOLA - New Orleans Invitational Sambo Championships - Finalist
2013 Arnolds Open Sambo Championships - Champion - Gold Medal

Jeremy Piaser

2006 North American Freestyle Sambo Championships- Silver Medal
2007 Sambo league team member of Sambo League Champions- Team Renegade
2007 North American Freestyle Sambo Championships - Gold medal
2007 Canadian Combat Sambo Championships - Gold Medal
2008 North American Freestyle Sambo Championships - Gold Medal
2009 Renegade Invitational Sambo Championships- Gold Medal
2009 North American Freestle Sambo Championships - Gold Medal
2011 US Open and Pan American Sambo Championships - Semi-Finalist -  Bronze Medal
2012 North American Freestyle Sambo Championships - Gold Medal
2013 NOLA New Orleans Invitational Sambo Championships - Finalist

Ben Syers

2008 North American Freestyle Sambo Championships - Gold Medal
2009 Renegade Invitational Sambo Tournament - Silver Medal
2013 NOLA New Orleans Invitational Sambo Tournament - Gold Medal

Taylor Costantino

2011 US Open and Pan American Sambo Championships - Gold Medal
2012 North American Freestyle Sambo Championships - Silver Medal

Matt Dixon

2011 US Open and Pan American Championships - Bronze Medal

Peter Saenz

2012 North American Freestyle Sambo Championships - Silver Medal

Brittany waunsch

2013 Arnolds Open Sambo Championships - Gold Medal

Sambo US Open and Pan-American Championships

Posted by Anthony Sansonetti on May 29, 2011 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

2011 Sambo US Open and Pan American Championships

Rahway- NJ

Team Renegade represented well at the 2011 Sambo US open. Taylor Costantino won a 1st Place Gold Medal in the 68kg Division, Jeremy Piaser won a 3rd Place Bronze medal in the 82kg division, and Matt Dixon won a 3rd Place Bronze Medal in the 59kg division (15-16 year old).

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