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  • John Macioce is Straight Blast Gym Atlanta’s Martial Arts Student of the Month for October 2022


    The only thing bigger than John’s shoulders is his commitment to his team at Straight Blast Gym.

    Straight Blast Gym Jiu Jitsu Coach Woo Ko said it best, when describing John Macioce:

    “He is always super grateful & appreciative of his coaches and teammates, and he’s all in with the Tribe.”

    John and his wife Amanda came to Straight Blast Gym earlier this year, and they both made an immediate impact. They had been training Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, and MMA at another gym but were looking for a change of scenery. It took them no time at all to ingratiate themselves to the SBG tribe, winning over their new teammates by being great teammates and training partners.

    We spoke to Amanda, and she gave us the inside scoop on her husband (for the real dirt you’ll have to hit us up and pay extra 🤣):

    “John loves it at SBG. He’s routinely talking about how generous the upper belt and more experienced guys are when it comes to sharing their time and expertise. He recently has been working with Bas (a large, Jiu Jitsu black belt) and talks about thieir training sessions on the regular. It’s tough to find big guys to train with, much less really skilled big guys. Bas has been working one-on-one with my husband and John absolutely loves it. I know he trains with Dennis and Allen a lot too which is awesome, bc John can train technically with bigger and stronger guys.”

    John is not only very active on the mats, but he’s pretty much a lock to be at every single Straight Blast Gym event. Whether it’s a fight night, a gym social, or a martial arts competition, John is there to support his tribe and teammates. This past summer, he went from supporter to competitor.

    It started at NFC Jiu Jitsu #10, in June. John and three of his teammates (Kevin Park, Luis Hernandez, and Shaun Valentine) competed in a Jiu Jitsu Quartet Elimination bout, where teams of 4 would battle it out in a match-up where submitting your opponent didn’t necessarily win you the match, it just eliminated that person from the bout. Despite this being John’s first time competing under the bright lights on the big stage, he faired well and represented strong (the match ended up being a draw).

    Riding that competitive momentum, John immediately began training for the IBJJF’s Atlanta Open in September. When it was time for his first match, John immediately showed the improvements he’d been making to his Jiu Jitsu game with a dominant performance that led to him winning 1st place in his division!! 👏💪🏻

    Just looking at John you might think “yea, I’m not partnering up with that monster”, but he has proven himself to be a smooth, and more importantly, safe training partner for his Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, and MMA teammates. Muay Thai coach Jim Sheppard shared a story about training with John when he first started at Straight Blast Gym Buford..

    “On one of our sparring nights I ended up doing a 5 minute round of clinch wrestling with John. I’d never trained with him before and was fully prepared to get ragdolled by some big guy that compensated for his lack of technique with brute strength. I couldn’t have been more wrong and it was a super smooth 5 minutes. When it was over he thanked me and asked if there was anything I saw that he should work on. I was like ‘John, my face was buried in your massive chest for the last 5 minutes, I didn’t see anything you just did’ 😂.”

    When John is not at Straight Blast Gym or supporting his teammates at an event, he is typically at the firehouse with fellow SBG martial artists Zac Cooper and Nick Thomas. John has been a firefighter for Hall county for the past 3 years. Before that he was a police officer.

    Despite John only being with us for 6 months, we feel pretty confident that he and his wife Amanda will be staples of SBG Buford and SBG Atlanta for a long, long time. John and Amanda are currently preparing to head to Iowa in November for Amanda’s first professional MMA bout. Naturally, John will be right there in her corner.

    Congratulations on being selected as October’s Martial Arts Student of the Month, John. Keep up he great work and thank you for all of your time and dedication.

    Jim Sheppard

    is one of the co-owners of Straight Blast Gym Buford and Straight Blast Gym Atlanta. He has been training / coaching / competing in Muay Thai since 2013 and holds a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.