Boots Scraps Shout out to the Team Behind Boots!


Good morning everyone!

As everyone knows, you can’t make it alone in the MMA world. You need a team, you need a family, you need people who care about you and who are willing to do anything to take you to the top of the fight world. Well folks, I am very fortunate to have this team and family! I want to give them the credit and props they deserve and I want everyone to know who these special people are!

First I want to start with where I train. I teach and train at Ottawa Academy of Martial Arts\Team Renzo Gracie in Ottawa. I mostly train at the Carling Avenue location but also get out to the Kanata location. Both facilities are equipped with showers, lockers, lots of mat space and muay thai rings! At the Carling location there is a cage where we do all our MMA classes. Both academies are very clean and equipped for all your martial arts training.

Let’s move on to the people with whom I have been with every day for almost ten years now and loving it! These are the people who keep me going…these are the people whom I fight for in the cage!

My friends & fans from Aylmer\Gatineau and Ottawa! You guys have always been there for me when I most needed it. I had ups and downs at the Guertin Arena but none of you cared if I won or lost and still stuck by me and believed in me. I will never forget where I come from and I will always be there for each and every one of you!

We have two guys who usually don’t get lots of props: Harley and Sami! These guys are at the desk making sure the academy runs good. They are also taking care of all the members, making sure everyone is happy…including me  ! They are great guys to chat with and to train with when they are not at the front desk!

My main training partners: Randy Turner, Remi Morvan, Xavier Desrochers, Peter Fazekas, Garry Ghilchrist, Andrew Griffin-Jones and Dan Barsky! All those guys train and fight with me every day! They are the guys giving me cauliflower ears, scratches from their gloves, bruises, black eyes, cuts from their nails….eh…any ways … you get the picture ! They are pushing me and challenging me every day to become a better fighter!

Also long time friend and training partner from when I was only 15 years old is my good friend, Stéphane Bernadel. We have been training together for such a long time! It is really fun to train my striking with him. Training with Steph is like playing chess but knowing every move he is going to make and he knows every move I am about to make … it makes it very challenging! We have been punching each other in the face and kicking each other in the body for almost 10 years! I believe he is the top kickboxer in Ottawa\Gatineau and a great up and coming MMA fighter. I’m really happy to have him on my side!

My mom, Diane Chevalier, is the one responsible for me making weight in my competitions! My Chevalier\Holst families are very supportive, caring and attend most of my fights. I am so lucky to have the most loving and understanding mom in the world! She takes great care of me, follows my diet very closely and attends all of my fights in the Gatineau-Ottawa-Montreal area! She was not a big fan of MMA or fighting until I actually got the patience to sit down with her and explain to her that they are rules and regulations, fighters are like all other pro athletes and that we are taken care of in and out of the cage! Merci maman xox!

Since August 2009, I have been training with my first strength and conditioning coach, Pierre Auge, owner of Capital Strength & Conditioning. So far so good, I am 2 wins and 0 loss with him. He has taken me to new levels of fitness which I never thought I could achieve. I have got a lot stronger, explosive and my cardio is through the roof all thanks to him and his gruelling workouts!

Kru Chris Kew is usually flown in by Pat to train me and beats me with the pads! Kru Chris is my Muay Thai striking coach. He owns the MAS academy in Cambridge where he lives. I sometimes go down to MAS which is always a great experience for me, to move around with different guys from his gym, really strong and good muay thai guys over there. Or he comes up to OAMA to train me once or twice before my fight, to make sure I am in top notch physical shape and have the sharp muay thai eyes! Kru Chris has been training for years now and has over a decade of Muay Thai experience that he shares with me every time I see him. Right now he is in Bangkok with his MAS warriors getting ready to compete, chok dee! I miss you Kru!

Now the instructors at OAMA! They teach me, take care of me like I was their brother, train\teach me every day and hang out with me at the end of every evening. For now almost 10 years we have been together! Hammer! Matthew Hache is a great BJJ teacher and training partner for me! Hammer and I go way back, each time he has been in my corner for fights or BJJ tournaments! He teaches the students of OAMA and me every day in wrestling and Gracie Jiu Jitsu. He has helped me so much in my wrestling and ground game, always putting the MMA twist on the techniques. He is a brown belt under Pat and a great BJJ competitor. Hammer has won so many BJJ tournaments I probably could not fit them in this blog!!! Hammer helped me improve my weakness which was BJJ and make it into one of my strength. He also gets me to practice my tap out every day, mopping the mat with me… or dumping me on the mat.

H-Bomb! Kru Jeff Harrison is my Bru. Half brother, half Kru. He holds pads for me every day, spars with me, drills with me. He makes sure I do my sprints on the tread mill, he even tests my will to win by offering me cookies and carbs … every day. He has over a decade of martial arts experience and teaches the students of OAMA and myself every day! Jeff is a phenomenal MMA\Muay Thai teacher, fighter and fitness coach…period!

Kru Nick Castiglia! Nick and I have been through so many fights, good times, bad times…you name it, we have done it all. Nick will always be my big brother! Always a fun time to train with him (when he is not trying to give you cauliflower ears or cow-hand), Nick is a very well rounded martial artist: BJJ purple belt, years of muay thai experience and strong wrestling! He is the reason I get up at 5:30 am on Tuesdays-Thursdays to train with him and to start my day just right getting punched in the face by a 200lbs Italian Stallion! Nowadays he usually takes care of managing the Kanata academy and promoting the WRECK MMA shows, but he always makes time in his day to talk to me a bit or even train with me late night or on weekends!

And finally, the owner of OAMA\Team Renzo Gracie, Patty C! Pat Cooligan is my mentor, my manager and my instructor! He took me aboard the team when I was 17 years old. He is the one responsible for my success not only as a martial arts instructor, a martial artist or Pro MMA fighter but as as the person I am today. He is the one responsible for my crazy hard training camps, incredible training trips, setting me up to train with world class instructors and martial artists (Renzo Gracie, John Danaher, Igor Gracie, Gregor Gracie, Rolles Gracie, Roger Gracie, Jongsanan Fairtex, Pierre Auge, Kru Chris Kew, Ajarn Burklurk, Shawn Williams, Lanna, Greg Jackson, Sassiprapa, Ricardo Almeida…and the list goes on!). He also has given me the opportunity to be an OAMA instructor, making it possible for me to make a living out of teaching and training martial arts and having the lifestyle of a Pro MMA fighter. Pat has provided me with all the tools to accomplish my goals. He also puts the game plan and strategy together for me to come up on top with the W in all of my fights! He also trains with me. Training with Pat is very tough. He is a Renzo Gracie black belt who knows how to use his weight and he is so strong! He has over two decades of martial arts experience! Training with Pat gets you tough, really really tough…like the old days kinda tough…the ones that they don’t make anymore  ! He always gives me tips and techniques, what I should focus on for my next fight and what techniques I should implement in my game. He has great strategy for fighting all kinds of opponents and has so much knowledge in the fight game! He has seen countless amounts of fights, from BJJ, MMA to kickboxing fights and will always shoot you straight!

Last but not least, the students of OAMA. Every day I teach them and train with them. They are the ones who are keeping OAMA alive, making it the best team ever! The students at OAMA teach me as much as I teach them! Most MMA fighters don’t teach martial arts. I believe that teaching martial arts at OAMA makes me a different fighter then most, I believe it gives me something special that most MMA fighters don’t have. All the students always come out to my fights and support me. From university students, policemen, doctors, government employees, lawyers, salesmen to construction workers, every day or evening they come in and train with me, talk with me and make OAMA what is …OAMA!

I am so proud of being part of this team…this family! You people are the reason I fight. I fight to represent each and every one of you to the best of my capability. Every time I fight, I feel like all of you have my back and all of you are fighting with me. You give me so much motivation and good energy…You will all be fighting with me in the cage in everyone of my fights! From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Organized like a team, fighting like a family- Team Renzo Gracie

Take care everyone! 1 love!

2 Responses to “ Boots Scraps Shout out to the Team Behind Boots! ”

  1. xenogenetic says:

    Well written Kru Mark and like you said, win or lose we are behind you. OAMA is the best!!

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  2. One thing that Mark’s Boots Scraps’ columns have illustrated well is just how much time, training and support from your teammates is required to fight at a high level. Nice post, Mark.

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