Holiday Closure: All Easton Schools Closed Dec.14 & morning classes cancelled Dec.15

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May 28, 2024

Part 3: A Family That Trains Together Slays Together

Tatyana Grechina

Part 3: A Family That Trains Together Slays Together

We love our community and we’ve had a blast getting to know our various Easton families! We want to continue featuring you guys, since family is such a cool and interesting part of our team dynamic. 

Not many sports exist that both parents and kids can simultaneously enjoy and bond over, but martial arts is one of them and Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu are not only impactful on a personal level, but they also impact the way you show up in your community.

We’re so proud of all the kids that have gotten their parents on the mats, and all the parents that commit to bringing their kids into class day after day.

This month, we spotlight the Chepelevich family from Littleton and the Hickman family from Denver!

The Chepelevich family

Gennadiy Chepelevich and his three sons, Matthew, 14, Stephen, 9, and Phillip, 7, joined Easton in early 2020. They’d never done anything like this before, especially together, and when the Covid restrictions eased up a bit, they began training in June of that year. 

Today, Matthew, Stephen and Phillip have Gray-and-Black Belts with 4 stripes, and Gennadiy holds a Blue Belt in Jiu Jitsu. The benefits of training are felt by everyone in the family!

“Our favorite part of training together,” Gennadiy says, “is that we can practice the moves on each other at home.”

They can watch Jiu Jitsu matches and nerd out over videos of Jiu Jitsu moves together, and everyone understands what’s going on. 

“It’s like we all speak the same language that not many people understand,” says Gennadiy.

Stephen loves that everybody knows what’s going on and can connect about a shared passion, and Phillip likes getting promotions with his brothers. Matthew, who hovers around the age when he can begin to take adult classes, says his favorite part is the support he gets from his brothers.

Gennadiy tells us that the kids have become tougher, and everyone has become more fit and disciplined. Inspired by time together training, and a sense of goal-setting, the four also began working out at home together! 

[How Competing in Martial Arts Benefits Your Kids]

We love seeing a healthy mind body connection start on the mats and make its way off. And of course, the impact of martial arts runs deeper than just the physical aspects it touches.

It bleeds into every other aspect of your life, and the Chepelevich family can attest to this, Gennadiy telling us the kids often respond now with “yes, ma’am” or “yes, sir” even at home! 

It’s been a transformative experience, living by the respect and examples set on the mats.

[A Family That Trains Together Slays Together]

The Hickman family

Jon and Krystal Hickman first joined Easton in 2018 because they knew they wanted their children to train, and they wanted to check it out first.

In 2020, the couple’s two sons, Jack, 8, and Hank, 7, began training. At the time, they were both under five, so they started in Little Tigers. Today, both Jack and Hank rock Gray Belts in Kids BJJ! Jon holds a Purple Shirt in Muay Thai, and Krystal has a Blue Shirt in Muay Thai and a Blue Belt in Jiu Jitsu. 

Easton isn’t the only place the family learns together. With the boys enrolled in a hybrid program where they do school from home three days a week, the Hickmans get to spend a lot of time together as a family learning and working on skill-building activities. 

Training at Easton, however, Krystal tells us, is probably the thing they’ve done the longest and most consistently.

We enjoy having a common activity that pushes us mentally and physically,” says Krystal. “It’s great that we can show up to Easton on a Saturday morning and all four of us can be on the mats taking class at the same time. 

On the way home we’ll talk about what each of us learned, which I think helps us to feel even more accomplished.

The family tells us that some of their favorite times are those leading up to a competition – setting individual goals and helping each other drill. 

They also take advantage of mat time outside of class to get uninterrupted rounds working on refining techniques, improving endurance, and strategizing for upcoming competitions.

“We’ll come in during open mat times to really focus on what we want to work on,” says Jon. “It’s meaningful to the boys, and they see the benefit of us all training together.” 

It’s definitely a team effort that benefits the entire family!

“I like when we go to the gym as a family,” says Jack, “because we roll together. I like training with Hank, we can do that whenever we want and get better faster.”

“We’re doing a hard thing together,” says Hank, “so it makes me more confident that I can do it.”

For Krystal, training and competing has shifted her perspective towards watching the kids train and compete.

[What To Say If Your Kids Lose Their Match]

“There’s a shared camaraderie and understanding,” says Krystal, “that has been added to our relationship. I love getting to encourage and support them through these events, and seeing their excitement and support of me in my practice has been incredible.”

Throughout their journey with Easton, the Hickmans have gained an incredible community through training, both on and off the mats, sharing meals, birthday parties, holidays and movie nights. 

“As a parent,” Krystal tells us, “it’s meant so much to have people in our lives who support, teach, and inspire our boys.”

Training in martial arts has given them opportunities to develop and discuss not only skills but also character along the way. 

Traits like perseverance, humility, and respect are just a few that we aspire to as a family,” says Jon. “Training gives us an opportunity to discuss and practice all of these and more.” 

And most importantly…

“We can all protect each other,” says Hank. 

[3 Tips to Help Your Youth BJJ Athlete Overcome Competition Anxiety]

Part 1: A Family That Trains Together Slays Together



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