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On Assignment: Learning the art of wrestling and mixed martial arts at Edge Hoboken

HOBOKEN, N.J., FEB. 29, 2012 — A day in the life at Edge Hoboken Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts, located at 417 Newark St., the first satellite school of the original Edge School of Wrestling in Martinsville founded 25 years ago by Ernie Monaco and his family.

Edge Hoboken has trained some of New Jersey’s best all-time wrestlers and MMA fighters. The Edge offers mixed martial arts training for both beginner students and professional athletes alike. The Edge also instructs youth wrestlers 6 to 14 years of age.

Edge Hoboken, owned by Dave Esposito and Brandon Kinney, also offers beginner and professional training in Jiu-jitsu, boxing and Muay Thai.

Phillipe Nover, 28, of Brooklyn, right, trains with Edge co-owner and coach Brandon Kinney, for a Bellator Fighting Championship in May that will air on Spike TV. Nover also coaches regularly at Edge Hoboken. When Kinney was in high school, he was recruited by Dave Esposito to be part of the wrestling team at Columbia University. Years later, the two teamed up again to open Edge Hoboken. Kinney, 27, recalled how he started off in wrestling, “I was always wrestling with kids in the playground. I didn’t know it was actually a sport. I got a flyer in my school mailbox when I was in third grade.” Kinney, who works for the same real estate company during the day with Esposito, said, “Working at Edge, it’s not the same thing everyday, not just sitting behind the desk.” Kinney is a two-time NCAA Division 1 Qualifier and a two-time Michigan State Champion, among his numerous achievements. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Edge co-owner and head wrestling coach Dave Esposito, 34, upper left-hand corner, oversees a wrestling class. During the day, Esposito and fellow co-owner Brandon Kinney, work at a real estate company. “I love the job I have during the day,” Esposito said, “but wrestling has helped my life so much that it’s good to give back. What’s nice about this place is that we can coach young kids who step on the mat for the first time…then we have guys who are elite level who train here and we get to work with them, too. And then you have the general public who are from the area who are looking to get a good workout in, to learn mixed martial arts, self-defense. So it’s such a variety of people coming through here that you’re meeting and interacting with. It’s a rewarding thing.” (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Facility Manager Jeff Marsh, 26, who is also a coach at Edge Hoboken, takes care of the laundry which consists of towels and instructors’ uniforms. Marsh has competed in wrestling for over 20 years. He was a four-time letter winner at the University of Michigan where he received his BA through the Program in the Environments’ Sustainable Urban Design program. His achievements include: NCAA Division 1 qualifier, Big Ten Tournament semi-finalist, 67 Varsity Division One career wins. Jeff garnered 16 career wins over Division One All Americans, and currently trains fighters competing in Bellator And UFC Championships. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Facility Manager and coach Jeff Marsh, 26, schedules an orientation for a prospective student in the Edge’s upstairs office/lounge. Marsh said he quit his nine-to-five office job in Michigan selling commercial real estate to move East to be part of Edge Hoboken. He said he wanted to “achieve something, help build national champions, help people meet their goals, help inspire kids and shape their lives. You learn a lot of life lessons in wrestling. It teaches us how to persevere in tough situations and to reach your goals.” (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Wrestling coach Zachary Lamano, 27, of Union City, changes from his office clothes into his workout clothes. By day, Lamano works for the government regulating credit unions. Lamano is currently training for the 2012 US Olympic wrestling team and will be wrestling in the Olympic trials in April. He is also working closely with the Edge MMA Combat Team athletes in preparation for their upcoming fights. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Edge Hoboken co-owner Dave Esposito, 34, right, being lifted by Gerald Javier, 25, of Bergenfield, teaches takedowns and defense wrestling techniques for mixed martial arts (MMA). (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Zachary Lamano, 27, of Union City, in green shirt, demonstrates a Greco-Roman wrestling move he likes to call “The Houdini”–a move used to get out of being pinned against a wall and to gain control of the opponent and eventually take him down–with the help of Edge Hoboken co-owner and coach Brandon Kinney, 27. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Greco Roman 2012 Olympic hopeful Zach Lamano practices a suplex on head wrestling coach Dave Esposito. The move includes the lifting of an opponent in an attempt to score five points. Esposito has been involved in wrestling for 25 years. He wrestled at Lehigh University where he received his B.S. in Marketing and was an assistant wrestling coach at Columbia University where he received his Master’s degree in Communication and Education. He has had 105 career victories in college and high school wrestling. He has competed at the Black Belt Level at the Pan Am Games and the Abu Dhabi Trials with a record of 2 and 2. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Gracie Jiu Jitsu Black Belt David Branch is looking to secure a single leg takedown as ACC Wrestling Champion Cody Hamrah defends with a lift, creating a scramble. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Mike Hussey, 26, of Kearny, a junior Jiu-jitsu instructor at Edge, warms up on a chin-up bar attached to the National and World Championships Wall of Fame. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Chris Walsh, 29, of Hoboken, who owns a local moving company, Bin-it, arrives for a Jiu-Jitsu class at Edge Hoboken. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Students change into their Jiu-jitsu kimonos. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Students Joe Leonard, 23, of Hoboken, right, and Christopher Perez, 22, of Jersey City, left, learn guard passing from instructors Kevin Ottino, 19, of Bayonne, on the ground right, and Mike Hussey. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

A Jiu-jitsu class. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Sidney Nemes, 34, of Hoboken, applies a triangle choke on Josh Ocasio, 22, of Union City. Nemes has a purple belt and took third place a year ago in the New York International Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Federation. Ocasio is one of the first students at Edge Hoboken and worked as an assistant. He has since competed in Grapplers Quest where he won first place in the intermediate level. He is the first blue belter in Jiu-jitsu at Edge instructed by David Branch. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Head Jiu-jitsu instructor David Branch, on the floor, demonstrates a straight arm bar technique on student Kenny Wise, 26 of Bergenfield, as student Bryan Baldicanas, 26, of Dumont watches. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Jiu-jitsu student Christopher Abeel, 28, of Hoboken, lies exhausted on the mat. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Juan German, 23, of West New York, wraps his hands in preparation for a Muay Thai (also known as Thai kickboxing) class. Though German said he has experience in boxing, this will be his first lesson in Muay Thai. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Head Jiu-jitsu instructor David Branch promotes Chris Walsh, 29, of Hoboken, to a blue belt after the class. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Junior instructor Mike Hussey after a Jiu-jitsu class. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Head intro Muay Thai coach Gerald Javier, 25, of Bergenfield, directs students to execute raised-leg crunches as part of a warm-up routine. Javier has trained in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu for over ten years. He holds both NJ Golden Gloves titles, as well as multiple Grapplers Quest Championships in NoGi and Gi competition. He is also the captain of the Edge Muay Thai competition team and is currently training to make his Pro MMA. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Greg Luthor, 23, of Harlem, executes knuckle push ups as a warm up to a Muay Thai class. Luthor, who is an aspiring actor, said, “I was always interested in mixed martial arts. I can actually use it in film acting.” (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Harry Castro, 36, of Jersey City, paid a visit to Edge Hoboken with his wife, Jessica, 21, and four-month-old daughter, Arrayah, to observe the Muay Thai class. Castro, who has had other martial arts experience said he is interested in signing up for Muay Thai classes but that he wanted to see “the discipline, technique and curriculum” at Edge. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Edward Javier, 17, of Bergenfield, teaches a first-timer (who didn’t want to be named) the basic moves in Muay Thai.  She said, “I like to stay active and I thought this was an exciting new way to just be active and be fit. I do a lot of running and yoga. I grew up playing soccer and basketball so I have a little background in contact sports. My sister heard of Muay Thai at the Edge and thought I’d be interested. I don’t know what to expect yet, I’m just going to have fun with it. It’s a little intimidating (being the only girl in the class) but I know that there are other girls who are members here and who come here regularly.” (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Michael Alvarez, 18, of Kearny, kicks at pads held by Mike Hussey during his first Muay Thai class. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Muay Thai students push themselves to the limit during a “burnout” session of punches and knee kicks at the end of the class. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Muay Thai students, including Rakesh Lalbiharie, 30, of Jersey City, center, push themselves to the limit by executing a mountain climber exercise during a “burnout” session at the end of the class. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Omar Ali, 27, an accountant from East Orange, who has been learning Muay Thai at Edge for a week now, works out on the ropes in front of a poster of Olympic gold medalist Dan Gable who was a legendary wrestling coach at the University of Iowa where he won 15 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) team titles, and posters of NCAA Champions who trained at Edge Hoboken. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Hung Nguyen, 27, of Lodi, left, spars with head intro Muay Thai coach Gerald Javier to see if he can be a last-minute fill-in for a March 9 Friday Night Fights match. According to Jeff Marsh, “Hung did indeed take the fight as a last minute replacement, and made his amateur debut (his very first fight ever) and lost a very close decision and was offered a rematch of the same bout. He was happy with his performance and started strong but faded through the fight as his nerves and adrenaline had him on edge.” (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Jeff Marsh mops the mats he sprayed with ammonia. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Students shoot some hoops in a space Edge Hoboken leases out to recreational groups for sporting and other events. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

A signed poster of Henry Cejudo, the youngest American wrestler to win a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. Cejudo came to Edge Hoboken and coached in one of their programs. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Students and instructors head home at closing time. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

Jeff Marsh closes up the gym. (Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal)

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