Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight

Student Spotlight- Shane Segars

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This month’s student spotlight is on Shane Segars. Shane joined the Great Grappling family in June of 2011 and came to us with no prior BJJ experience. He was, however, experienced in wrestling, enjoying a successful high school career that saw him place 2nd in the South Carolina State competition in the 130lb weight division in 1992. In high school he also competed in baseball, football and cross country. Hopes to continue his wrestling career into the Marine Corps were thwarted when the competition to make the team was a little steeper than he bargained for.

Shane made the decision to begin his journey in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu after successfully losing 35 pounds. Great Grappling has helped him keep the weight off through the curriculum and sparring classes. He finds the cardio benefits in grappling outweigh any other single form of cardio, which help him achieve his goal of maintaining his level of fitness. His wrestling background has helped him greatly in experiencing quick success in the sport, both in class and in competition, earning him a gold medal in no-gi and a silver in his gi division at the Monster Cup this past February.
Shane was promoted to the rank of green belt (an academy specific rank) after demonstrating an ability to quickly adapt to and demonstrate the new techniques taught to him. His immediate goals in BJJ are to continue improving at this rate and prepare for the upcoming tournaments (in which he hopes to avoid submissions involving collar chokes!) .  As an intermediate goal he would like to attain the rank of blue belt. Long term, Shane would enjoy teaching BJJ to others.

Outside of BJJ, Shane works for everyone’s favorite federal organization, the TSA. He’s a Coordination Center Officer which means he’s NOT the guy telling you to take off your shoes and go back through the metal detector. His responsibilities include coordinating information, personnel, supplies and anything else needed during any incident at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. In this role he also assists the FBI, DEA, ICE, CBP, SBI and CMPD on crimes ranging from murder to money laundering.

Shane enjoys working out and attending the Fort Mill Church of God. He’d like to thank the higher belts who work with him and continue working to help him become a better grappler. Special thanks go to Alan Choate, Patrick Saleeby, Jon Helton, JJ Pace, and Cornbread (real name unknown). Shane has made himself a fixture in the daytime classes and still finds time to attend in the evening classes several nights per week. He’s brought friends and family members in to train and has become a great proponent of the sport and our academy. We appreciate all of the support that Shane gives us and feel he’s a great example for those “brand new to BJJ” students to follow!

February 2012- Alex Cox

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This month’s “Student Spotlight” is on Alex Cox. Alex joined GGBJJ in November 2011 with previous training experience in Aikido, Tae Kwon Do, and Karate, but was completely new to the sport of BJJ. Outside of martial arts Alex has a self professed “aversion to sports that involve leather covered balls” that has led to mountain, trail & BMX biking, along with snowboarding, windsurfing, running, endurance training with Navy SEALS, and refereeing roller derby.

Alex joined Great Grappling to find a new outlet for physical fitness. As a former Army officer and civilian police officer Alex has enjoyed martial arts that involve submissions, so BJJ seemed like a good fit. Since beginning his journey with us in November, Alex has lost over 20 pounds and his fitness level has greatly improved. Another benefit he finds at Great Grappling is a new group of fitness minded people he now calls friends. Although Alex started out attending 3 classes a week, his 2012 new years resolution to spend at least 4 hours a week on the mat has been blown out of the water. Recently he’s been seen in daytime AND evening classes… ON THE SAME DAY!

Outside of GGBJJ Alex has a pretty awesome job. He’s a cyber cop. (OK, Computer Security Consultant, but cyber cop sounds way cooler). His job involves developing and managing intelligence about criminal and government-sponsored computer hackers. If you ever notice Alex missing from the mat for a few days/weeks at a time he’s likely in some far flung corner of the world fighting cyber crime. In the past year he’s traveled all over the US, Middle East, Israel, France and the Bahamas. When he’s not grappling or being a cyber cop, Alex also enjoys riding his Harley, getting tattoos, reading an average of 1 book per week, and being a foodie. Alex and his wife Kym live in Charlotte with their menagerie of small dogs and birds.

We chose Alex for this spotlight because he is a student who has impressed us with his dedication to training, desire to learn, and has been an exemplary student & member of the school. Thank you Alex for making Great Grappling your home, we’re thrilled to have you!

Student Spotlight- Tom Burke


Tom Burke began training at Great Grappling BJJ on August 1st after a 10 year break from Martial Arts. Mr. Burke trained in Aikido and Tae Kwon Do before discovering traditional GoJu Ryu Karate, which he practiced for 7 years and attained the rank of black belt. He became interested in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for its physical conditioning and self defense benefits after seeing several Great Grappling signs around town. During the first several weeks of training, while working on increasing his level of physical fitness, Tom would participate in the Curriculum class several times a week. Rather than leaving once the first class was over, Mr. Burke would sit and observe the Positional Drills & Sparring class to gain further knowledge about BJJ. Now that he’s reached a higher level of fitness, he is a participant in the Positional Drills & Sparring class. Tom enjoys both the physical and mental workout that BJJ provides and has distinguished himself as one of GGBJJ’s most dedicated students with an insatiable thirst for knowledge.  All of his studying has paid off, making Tom our most improved student at the academy and earning the Student Spotlight of the Month!

Tom is a Certified Short Sale Specialist and NC/SC Broker & Auctioneer at Gibbs Realty in Fort Mill, SC. His wife Tracy owns New York Bride & Groom in Charlotte, NC and Syracuse, NY. Son Cory and daughter Krista both work in the family business, and son Mike works for FedEx in upstate NY. We’re proud to have Tom Burke as a member of the Great Grappling family!