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Mixed martial arts put their S.T.O.M.P. on Wadena

Photo by Rachelle Klemme Joe Jasicki (top) demonstrates with Jeremy Umland at the S.T.O.M.P. mixed martial arts gym.1 / 3
Joe Jasicki (top) demonstrates with Jeremy Umland at the S.T.O.M.P. mixed martial arts gym.2 / 3
Photo by Rachelle Klemme Joe Jasicki (top) demonstrates with Jeremy Umland at the S.T.O.M.P. mixed martial arts gym.3 / 3

New Year's Day brought a new form of martial arts to Wadena.

Joe Jasicki opened the S.T.O.M.P. MMA (mixed martial arts) gym in the basement of Jefferson Square, 209 Jefferson St., on Jan. 1.

The Wadena location is an affiliate school under black belt instructor Brock Larson, who teaches Blitz Jiu-Jitsu.

"Jiu-jitsu is a fighting form that was designed in Brazil. And it was designed for little guys to be able to take out opponents that were much larger than them," Jasicki said.

Jasicki, who has a blue belt under Pedro Sauer and Dave Camarillo, said Larson's style is a combination of wrestling techniques with Sauer's jiu-jitsu and Camarillo's jiu-jitsu.

Larson's main school is in Brainerd, and Jasicki said he will appear at the Wadena gym once a month.

S.T.O.M.P. MMA is not affiliated with Mid-Minnesota Tae Kwon Do on 213 Jefferson, but Jasicki said there are students who take classes from both martial arts schools.

About a month after opening, the school already has people from all over the area including New York Mills, Henning, Verndale, Alexandria, Fergus Falls and Eagle Bend.

The oldest student is 52 years old, and the youngest is 3.

Adult jiu-jitsu runs Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings and is $60 per month.

Jasicki said that while some students prepare for MMA matches, others just want to learn self-defense and stay in shape.

"Most of the guys are doing it just for health reasons. You will lose a lot of weight. I've seen guys lose 60-70 pounds doing the jiu-jitsu," Jasicki said. "But then we do have some guys coming here for the cage fighting, and we've got that on schedule where we cater to each of them separately."

Kids jiu-jitsu runs Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for $50 per month.

Women's kickboxing taught by Jenny Monasmith runs Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m. for $40 per month.

"It's taught as a real self-defense. It is not the cardio kickboxing that you see on TV," Jasicki said. "The girls actually learn how to hit, throw a hook, do a cross, do an uppercut, throw the knees, throw the elbows and throw the kicks."

Jasicki said that yoga taught by Tamara Moore will also start this week.

Private jiu-jitsu lessons are available upon request.

Jasicki said that the first class is free but so far, everyone who has checked out a free class has signed up for at least one month.

Members of the military and law enforcement get a discount, and two police officers from Otter Tail County are currently taking the class.

"Their lives are on the line every day," he said. "Those are the guys on the front line. Those are the guys that I feel need it the most."

Jasicki, who has lived in Wadena on and off for the past several years, said he started mixed martial arts out of necessity for his own job. At the time, he worked in civil process and bounty hunting and would be physically attacked.

"I needed to make sure I was better than the guys that were doing the attacking. So that's when I started doing jiu-jitsu and muay thai classes and taking them myself," he said.

Jasicki said the idea to open a new gym started six months ago when there was a mixed martial arts fight in Alexandria which did not go over well.

"The one thing that we noticed at the fight is nobody there had a good ground game," he said.

Jasicki said he and Larson saw the need for MMA fighters to have more training, but the closest gyms were in Brainerd and Fargo, and Wadena was a good central location.

S.T.O.M.P. stands for "Snap Tap or Make 'Em Puss Out."

Jasicki said it is an inside mixed martial arts joke about people who showed up to the Brainerd gym wearing expensive TapouT gear wanting to be professional mixed martial arts fighters, only to drop out after the first class.

Jasicki said he also owns a shirt company that sponsors MMA fighters.

Jasicki said that jiu-jitsu's emphasis on ground-level fighting brings an advantage.

"Jiu-jitsu is basically taking it from stand-up to the ground," Jasicki said. "Ninety-nine percent of all fights are going to end up on the ground. When somebody starts losing, the first thing they do is they take them to the ground, and it turns into a wrestling match. And that's where jiu-jitsu really kicks in. We do a lot of throws, as far as judo throws, flips, and so forth from stand-up, but where jiu-jitsu really shines is once it gets down to the ground."

S.T.O.M.P. MMA in Wadena can be contacted at (218) 821-4139.