Two of Vitor Shaolin’s very first U.S. students, black belts Van Flores and Alex Ecklin, are competing this Saturday at the RISE Submission Invitational held at The Space in Westbury, Long Island.
One of the SuperFight headliners, Ecklin says, “I’m very eager for this tournament. I just love competing, I love challenging myself and seeing what is possible.”
Flores is taking part in the eight-man EBI Rules tournament and is excited for the card. “I couldn’t see my life without JiuJitsu, it’s always going to be a part of everything that I am,” he states. “The opportunities that I get like this are because of the sport and community.”
When not sweating with Shaolin, Ecklin and Flores run their own academy in Brooklyn, Masterskya. Donation-based and accessible for all students, whether or not they’re able to pay, it’s their way of giving back to the community they feel like has given so much to them.
“I want to make this national,” Ecklin says. “I want people who may not have access to the sport before to have access to it now. It’s really great to see students that might not have been able to afford training being in there and working hard, making a difference in their life with JiuJitsu. Martial arts has always been a huge part of my life and we knew we had to do something to benefit others.”
RISE Submission Tournament starts at 8 pm at The Space at Westbury Theater, Westbury, New York.
Writer/Photos: Pari Aryafar (@pariunderthesea)
Tags: grappling, nbc, New York Fighting, RISE Submission Invitational, Sub Only, submission, Vitor Shaolin