HINCKLEY – Eric Hartwig just needs a few more students to join his Brazilian jiu-jitsu class before he invites his friend, a professional mixed martial arts fighter, to Hinckley.
Hartwig is the owner and head instructor of Team Curran Mixed Martial Arts, a program that formed a partnership about five weeks ago with Valiant Eagle Martial Arts, 210 W. Lincoln Ave., Hinckley. Jeff Curran, a mixed martial arts fighter from Crystal Lake, is the founder of Team Curran MMA.
Hartwig said he has nine students taking his class in Hinckley and hopes to increase membership to 20 students before he invites Curran for twice-a-year seminars.
“The program just started,” Hartwig said. “We should have more kids sign up and more adults signing up. It’s growing. It’s definitely growing.”
Valiant Eagle Martial Arts has been open for a year and membership has grown to almost 60 students, said owner Craig Parnow. It initially began as a taekwondo school. The business has 2,000 square feet of mat space and has students from Northern Illinois University and the DeKalb area, Parnow said.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu class focuses on self-defense and is offered for adults and children ages 8 to 13.
One reason the partnership between Valiant Eagle Martial Arts and Team Curran MMA is successful is that both Team Curran and Jeff Curran are focused on bringing a family-friendly environment, Parnow said.
“Team Curran is not necessarily a fight school,” Parnow said. “They’re focused on jiu-jitsu, and they’re focused on family.”
When a student enrolls into the jiu-jitsu class, they can expect to learn grappling, submission and guard techniques. Examples of these techniques include an arm lock, leg lock, and other styles that may be seen in wrestling, Hartwig said.
But before students ever learn any self-defense techniques, they learn how to be courteous and respectful. Parnow said beginners learn to bow when they come off the mat, bow to adults and call everyone “sir” or “ma’am.”
Parnow said he wanted to open a martial arts business in Hinckley because he knew that it was a small market and that it was an effective way for students to build strength and character.
It also boosts self-esteem, Parnow said.
“It builds them up and helps them feel better about themselves,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for them to realize their potential.”