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

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February 20, 2024

Part 1: A Family That Trains Together Slays Together

Tatyana Grechina

Part 1: A Family That Trains Together Slays Together

One of the best parts about finding something you love that stimulates you both mentally and physically is sharing it with those you love.

You know that feeling when you’ve found a cool new thing and you want everyone to experience the sheer joy and delight that it gives you? Some of you truly do bring all your friends in, while others have found lifelong friends here on the mats, with Muay Thai or Jiu Jitsu bringing you together with people you’d never have otherwise met. And still some of you who call Easton home train with your families!

We love when we see husbands and wives, moms, dads and kids all having a blast and growing together. It’s one of the cooler things we get to take part in, watching the way martial arts stretches past the mats and into the homes, families and lifestyles of our families. 

As we talk to some of the families that train at our various Easton locations, we wanted to share what they have to say!

The Gruneich family

Tami and Chris Gruneich, along with their daughter Violet, all train at Easton Centennial. Violet, age 8, joined first in May 2022, followed by Tami a month later and Chris in July! Tami has coached off and on in other academies and styles since high school, with long breaks in between, and trained at Easton previously circa 2016.  The family has also done other out-of-the-box activities before embarking on martial arts together.

“We’ve done Tough Mudder and Terrain Races,” Tami tells us, “as well as Crossfit. Violet also just started snowboarding as well with us!”   

Today, Violet has a 3-stripe Grey/White belt in BJJ and a Yellow belt in Muay Thai and Tami holds a Blue shirt in Muay Thai. Both Tami and Chris have White belts in Jiu Jitsu, Chris with four stripes and Tami with two. And all of them have competed!

So what is everybody’s favorite part about training as a family?

“It makes me super happy because my parents are there with me,” Violet says. “And they’re always supporting me while I train BJJ or  Muay Thai. We also get to teach each other stuff.” 

For Chris, it’s the ability to come together and reflect on what they did that day in training to help each other grow in the sports. Along with Jiu Jitsu, Chris has also begun training Kickboxing.

“As a fellow student in Muay Thai and BJJ with my family,” says Tami, “I learn a lot from them. Not only with technique, but emotionally as athletes training in these sports together. 

We all have competed in either the BJJ Open or the Muay Thai Scrimmage and know what it takes to compete physically and emotionally, which helps us truly be in each other’s corners as a family support system.”

Tami began coaching at Easton at the end of May 2023 as a Kids Tigers Assistant in Muay Thai and just recently started coaching Kickboxing this past December. Soon, she prepares to start assistant-coaching the Little Tigers BJJ classes!

As a coach, Tami tells us that she tries to also listen to her family from their student perspective to help her finesse her coaching style.

Having a common interest and love of martial arts has really brought the Gruneichs closer together as a family, they tell us. They love not only training together but watching and going to MMA fights together!

“We also all love being part of the Easton community! It really is a home away from home for us.  We truly feel that everyone has our backs from the Professors, coaches and staff to all of our fellow students.  This is truly a family that we are so grateful to be a part of and love growing and learning with on the daily.”

The Edwards family

Erin and Josh Edwards and their children, Declan and Alexa, found Easton – and Jiu Jitsu – in December 2017 when Declan, now age 11, started in training. Alexa, now 9, and her dad Josh began a couple months later, and Erin joined them that August. Together, they’ve been training for nearly 6 years, currently at Matrix in Castle Rock.

Today, Josh holds a Purple belt in BJJ, Erin a Blue, Declan a Yellow-White belt, and Alexa a Grey-Black belt!

What do the Edwards love most about training martial arts as a family? 

For Alexa, it’s rolling and training with her brother, Declan – and getting to pick on him a little bit. Luckily, Declan’s favorite part is also training, and moving up, with his sister!

“Jiu Jitsu gives us something we can all do together even with our busy schedules,” says Josh, “stay close-knit, and challenge ourselves.”

Before Jiu Jitsu, they had never done any activity together on this level. Though a very active family who plays other sports, goes skiing and snowboarding, camping, and hiking, the Edwards had never embarked on something this challenging.

“Josh is my favorite battle buddy,” Erin tells us. “Between working and all of the kids’ activities, we don’t have a ton of time together. Training together is our hobby. 

I get to celebrate the successes, overcome hardships, bounce ideas off him, motivate each other, and experience the amazing Jiu Jitsu community with my best friend. And share that experience with our kids.”

[Punch Up Your Love Life]

Erin tells us that the four of them have become so much closer as a family since starting training and enjoying time together. 

“Our closest friends are also now from the academy, and they come to all of our family holidays and get-togethers. So we’ve gained a chosen family as well!”

Easton feels the same way. We’re grateful for you too, Tami, Chris, Violet, Erin, Josh, Declan, Alexa and every one of you who makes the room a better place by bringing your positive attitude and will to grow.

You guys make the training room a better place and we hope you continue growing together with us. The more you grow together and form bonds beyond the mats, the better we feel we’re doing our job!

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