Evolution Grappling Academy students Andrew Colombos and Kevin Pelepako, both Dutchess County residents competed at the prestigious event and did quite well, proving that age is not a factor in contact sports. Along with their Coach Mike Palladino and a few teammates, the Evolution Jiu Jitsu squad made the 66 mile trek south to the "Big Apple".
Andrew, a resident of Wappingers Falls who is a 40 year old father of two and a husband of 13 years. Andrew began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Fishkill five years ago. This was not the first appearance in the Pan Ams for Andrew. In, 2010 at the Blue belt level, he earned two Gold Medals, one in the Ultra Heavyweight Division and the second in the Absolute Division (a division without a weight requirement)
Another standout for the Dutchess County Brazilian Jitsu Jitsu academy was 36 year old Kevin Pelepako a Dobbs Ferry native, who is now a resident of Hopewell Jct. Nicknamed "Big Show" for his eerily similar looks to the professional wrestler with the same name, and Kevin's height of 6'8. Kevin began his BJJ journey in July of 2010, but took a lengthy break when he moved to Hopewell. In January of 2012 Kevin began his formal training once again and was promoted to the rank of Blue belt 6 months ago. This past weekend was Kevin's first time competing on the "big stage". Kevin would go on to Gold Medal in his weight division, assisting his school Evolution Jiu Jitsu to bring home 3 Pan Am medals.
It's quite a common misconception that people believe they're "too old" to be competitive or train martial arts. Clearly, that is incorrect and this past weekend proved it with Andrew and Kevin not only competing but winning their respective divisions.
When asked what attracts him to BJJ Kevin said "I like the mental challenge that goes along with the physical challenge. I like that for a few hours a week, nothing else matters and you're living 100% in the moment while training."
Andrew agreed, stating "I really enjoy the mental aspect of setting and foiling traps against my opponent. Also the rush I get when I break my opponent's will and it's gone." The father of 2 also added "After a 50 hour work week, I go to class to get better,evolve and to help my teammates get better and evolve, on top of the health and lifestyle benefits. When I started I was 350 lbs. , within my first year of training I lost 80lbs."
Evolution Grappling Academy is a unique academy in the sense of providing a very comforting and family type atmosphere combined with a healthy competitiveness. We welcome all walks of life from those with aspirations of competing to those who would just like to workout and reap all the health benefits.
For more information or to schedule a free introductory lesson visit the website at www.evolutiongrapplingacademy.com or www.evolution-