• 79°

Ross TKD to host martial arts seminar

Ross Taekwondo operators Rhonda and Jay Russell will relish the opportunity to go from instructor to student this weekend when they host a complete martial arts seminar beginning Friday and running through Sunday.

The closed-door seminar will see a number of students from the school join with a few visitors from outside the area to take in the three days worth of sessions.

The event will kick off Friday at 6:30 p.m. and run until approximately 9 before the group reconvenes Saturday for an all-day session that will run from 10 until 10.

“What kicked it off was in May when Joe Cunningham came,” Jay Russell said of the well-renowned Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor who studied under UFC referee Mario Yamasaki in Woodbridge, Va. “Joe came in May and he did a two-day seminar with us. We absolutely loved learning from him. He’s one of the best Jiu Jitsu instructors I’ve ever encountered.”

Cunningham will return for this weekend’s seminar before giving way to a Modified Muay Thai instructor from Chicago, Andre Liaskos, Saturday afternoon. Liaskos, a former Division I wrestler and hockey player, began training amateur mixed martial artists after retiring from professional MMA.

“The May 2009 event was the first time we had brought in a guest instructor. We’d never met Joe face to face, so we knew we were taking a chance. But it was a great experience for us,” Russell said. “It was not only a hit with us, but our students loved it. They were impressed as well.”

Those attending will also take in kickboxing and a Modified Muay Thai match Saturday afternoon. The seminar wraps up Sunday with a four-hour Kung Fu seminar that will be taught by Vance Huen of St. Louis.

“It’s huge,” Russell said. “If we were in Tuscaloosa or Birmingham or Montgomery, I wouldn’t think that much of it,” Russell said. “What’s really fortunate is that these guys that are coming — we’re providing them a place to stay and paying for their hotel — they are teaching for free, just to have the opportunity to train together in a good environment. I was amazed that we got him to come here in May and it was really him going back and telling people how much fun he had and how good of a time he had in Demopolis.”