Tony Cruz

BJJ Instructor, Blue Belt

Coach Tony Cruz was first introduced to martial arts by Tony Gutierrez at five years old and has since been training in various disciplines and sports. He started with Master Kim's Tae Kwon Do and transitioned to Kung Fu. As a youth, he participated in extracurricular sports like soccer, baseball, football, and basketball. In high school, he was in football, wrestling, track and field, and volleyball.

Tony joined Gordon Tech's football team his freshman year. His offensive lineman coach, who described wresting as an off season strength and conditioning sport, suggested he go out for Rams wrestling. Tony wrestled all throughout high school and his highest achievement was qualifying for sectionals. Tony said: "Looking back, wrestling was my favorite sport and I have been able to impelement its core structure in all my martial arts studies."

While in college, Tony took up MMA training at Hackney's Combat Academy, where he learned the basics of MMA, Muay Thai, and no-gi Jiu Jitsu. After a couple of years, he joined Patriot Boxing and Grappling Systems to continue his MMA foundation and rekindle his passion for wrestling. Then, he dived into gi Jiu Jitsu at New Breed Academy Chicago. New Breed taught him that constantly sharing knowledge is what makes martial artists grow. With dedication and hard work, he added three stripes to his white belt in a year. Tony competed at NAGA, IBJJF, and U.S. Grappling. Simultaneously, Tony also trains Muay Thai with Coach Gutierrez.

Tony is eager to coach at True Prodigy Athletics because "...I believe in Tony Gutierrez's program. He has never steered me in the wrong direction and his knowledge is constantly growing. As a physical case study, he was able to transform me from 265 lbs. to 163 lbs. within a year. This was a loss of over 100 lbs. in a year! Without his assistance, this accomplishment would have been near impossible." Tony C. is excited about the opportunity to coach under Tony G. and give back everything he's learned and currently learning. "I want to share what I know with those willing to listen - whether it be how to throw a jab, break guard, or eat healthy. I also want to learn from my students. I want to see them take my instructions and find their own niche that works for them."

His personal goals include attaining a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu while sharing his knowledge with True Prodigies. He believes martial arts is continually changing and True Prodigy Athletics will adapt with and evolve beyond it.

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