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Jun 5, 2018 7:26 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Hamptons Jiu Jitsu Holds Its Grand Reopening On Sunday

Medals welcome everyone as they walk in the front door of Hamptons Jiu Jitsu. DREW BUDD
Jun 5, 2018 9:00 AM

Brazilian jiu jitsu is a growing sport on the East End, thanks to Greg Melita and Hamptons Jiu Jitsu.

Following the opening of the martial arts school on County Road 39 in Southampton in February of last year, Hamptons Jiu Jitsu has seen an influx of students to the point where it needed a bigger space. Thankfully that space was just two doors down to the west in the same shopping center.

Hamptons Jiu Jitsu held its grand reopening on Sunday, a year after its initial grand opening, and just like last year, the first half of the day was dedicated to Brazilian jiu jitsu, the second half was a celebration with teachers, students, family and friends.

“We outgrew the old space,” Melita, a 33-year-old Islip Terrace resident said. “Now we’re in the new space, it’s double the size, we have the locker rooms, we have the addition of the cryotherapy, acupuncture, and all of the other services that really benefit the athlete. We’ve been adding more kids and adults, we’re being engaged in the community a little bit more, so it’s been really good.”

In addition to doubling the mat space, which was the key reason for the move, to make room for the school’s students, the new location has a number of new features, including full men’s and women’s locker rooms with a bathroom and shower in each one. Jaclyn Grace Melita, Greg’s younger sister, still leads the yoga classes, but the school now also offers judo with Sensei Joe Turchiano, muay thai with Evilazio Feitoza, and Melita still offers Sports Performance speed and agility training for all sports teams in the area.

The new space also includes Vita Cryotherapy (vitacryo.com) and Bodhizone Physical Therapy (bodhizone.com) on site. Adding the two, Melita said, allows the business to accept local walk-ins and to enhance the school’s current jiu jitsu competitor’s athletic performance for their competitions through cryotherapy, acupuncture, physical therapy, massage and leg compressions.

Scott Weiss, an East Hampton resident who has a doctorate in physical therapy, said he gravitated toward Hamptons Jiu Jitsu not long after it opened last year. He started to take private Brazilian jiu jitsu lessons from Melita, who in turn helped him with nagging injuries. After about three months, Weiss became the school’s resident physical therapist.

“I was looking for a jiu jitsu spot to train—I trained at Marcelo Garcia’s place in Manhattan, so I kind of got the bug there—and I’ve been a martial artist all my life—I’ve got a couple of black belts in different degrees—so I really wanted to get involved with BJJ,” he explained. “I just drove by, saw the sign, jumped right in and was really fortunate enough to meet somebody as professional as Greg.”

Melita, the sole owner and professor at Hamptons Jiu Jitsu, is well versed in Brazilian jiu jitsu. He has been training in the martial art for over 10 years and received his black belt over four years ago. After he helped train new recruits at the U.S. Marines Corps base in Garden City in hand-to-hand combat in 2004 and 2005, Melita won a bronze medal at the U.S. Open in 2007, to add to what is a long list of accolades. Melita is also a certified personal trainer, a level one CrossFit trainer, and Sports Performance coach.

Melita, along with the other instructors at Hamptons Jiu Jitsu, learned from the Kioto Brazilian jiu jitsu lineage of professor Francisco Mansor, who was passed down his knowledge from Helio Gracie, one of the founders of Brazilian jiu jitsu. Melita is a certified Kioto instructor who received his black belt from both Mansor and Milton Regis.

On top of everything else, Melita would also like to start a veteran-based jiu jitsu program with help from Jimmy Gonzales, a veteran himself. Gonzales, 40, and a Farmingville resident, is the brother of Randy Gonzales, who owns and runs Vita Cryotherapy with his wife Flavia, within Hamptons Jiu Jitsu, and is a recently retired sergeant first class of the U.S. Army after 20 years of service.

“I’d like to help transition [veterans] from one battlefield to another battlefield, which is the mats,” Gonzales said. “When you’re transitioning to life and death to win or lose, it seems like a lot of distance to cover there, but it’s really not, it’s really comparative to the warrior ethos within Brazilian jiu jitsu and finding that mentality of helping [veterans]. There’s a whole psychology behind it that’s really worth exploring.”

Hamptons Jiu Jitsu, other than its home location, is also featured in four different summer camps on the East End. Eventually Melita would like to open up multiple locations on the South Fork to offer more opportunities not only for seasonal visitors but for the year-round kids that could use more activities.

“From Calverton all the way to Montauk, there is no other school right now as far as authentic Brazillian jiu jitsu, so we’re really looking to benefit everybody on the East End, especially for the kids that don’t have much to do when it’s not summertime,” Melita said.

“It’s kind of like a dream come true,” he added. “It’s really coming to fruition, seeing everything done now, this was an empty lot and we just wanted this space and it wound up happening. Really just taking it all in right now.”

For more information, go to hamptonsjiujitsu.com, follow Hamptons Jiu Jitsu on multiple social media platforms and download the Hamptons Jiu Jitsu app at the app store.

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