Some local athletes are gearing up to represent the United States in a world championship. They are competing in the mixed martial arts sport of kickboxing. Most of the United States team is from right here in Augusta. Dee Griffin spent the day with the man who has trained the athletes who are fighting their way into worldwide recognition.
Punch by punch, Mark Greubel is taking the sport of mixed martial arts to new levels. For the past 8 years, Greubel has been training people across the C.S.R.A in kickboxing and mixed martial arts.
It's a passion that developed from his need to protect himself from bullies as a child. Mark Greubel explains, "I really took martial arts seriously after being attacked and bullied one time and I really had my arm mangled and after that point I made a decision in my life that I will never be a victim again."
27 years later, he has mastered the sport of mixed martial arts and opened the door for other area athletes. So far, hundreds have walked through it and more than 30 have become world championship winners. "It's really, really rewarding for me to see people who have come in with no martial arts experience at all and in a couple of short years they're winning world titles," says Greubel.
Next week, his latest group of athletes will take their kicking and punching to Brazil. "There's gonna be like 80 countries from around the world. About 1500 competitors and each country brings 12 fighters," explains Greubel.
Five of the United States fighters are from Augusta alone and trained by Greubel.
Each kick on a national stage gets Augusta one step closer to well deserved recognition for its growing crop of athletes. "I want to make Augusta known for not just the Masters but for kickboxing and martial arts too," says Greubel.
GRU provided vaccinations for each person on the team at no cost. The team leaves for Brazil tomorrow and the first competition is Tuesday.
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