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  • Patrick Mindardi is SBG Buford’s Martial Arts Student of the Month for September 2020


    Patrick has come a long way since he started here. He’s always been consistent, but over the past couple of months he has really turned the corner. He used to ALWAYS be late, and now he’s almost always EARLY. He took his licks, both verbally and physically, and he just kept showing up and getting better and better.”

    These are the words of Straight Blast Gym Buford’s Head Coach, Phil Gentry, when talking about 18-year-old martial arts student Patrick Minardi.

    The Mill Creek High School alumni has been a staple of Straight Blast Gym Buford’s Martial Arts program since the fall of 2017. As a high school student, he wanted to compete in martial arts. It’s common for middle and high school students to find their way to SBG Buford in search of a sport they can be a part of that isn’t a traditional team-sport. For those who don’t flock towards basketball, football, soccer, etc, martial arts are a fantastic way to quench their competitive thirst while learning functional self-defense.

    Patrick chose to begin in our Foundations Jiu Jitsu program before eventually also training in our Muay Thai program. Within the first year of training at Straight Blast Gym Buford, Patrick was ready for his first competition, a kickboxing tournament in Sugar Hill during the summer of 2018. Despite being his very first competition, Patrick looked super composed and picked up a 29-28 unanimous decision victory. Using his speed and fantastic head movement, he wore his opponent out until he was gasping for air and couldn’t match Patrick’s high-volume offense.

    SBG Buford’s Muay Thai Coach Jim Sheppard said this about his performance in the Sugar Hill Kickboxing tournament:

    “You’d have never known it was Patrick’s first competition. After a slow start in the first round he settled right in and looked like he was sparring out there. He made easy work of his opponent, and we knew this kid had the stuff to be really good.”

    Patrick followed up his win at the Sugar Hill kickboxing tournament with a victory at NAGA, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament in the Buford area. He once again used his superior cardio to put a heavy pace on his opponent, combined with his ever-growing base of jiu jitsu knowledge, to get a lop-sided decision victory and walk away with a gold medal.

    Now armed with a solid skill-set in both Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Patrick started training in SBG’s Mixed Martial Arts classes, combining everything that he’s learned about grappling and striking. He is currently a regular in all of our martial arts classes, where he has become a good training partner and a tough round, regardless of whether the fight is being conducted on the feet or on the ground.

    Congratulations Patrick, and keep up the outstanding work!!

    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.