Getting in SHAPE

Michael Minjares

Fri April 25, 2014 12:19pm

So, from this position, you’ll want to grab right under the collar,” came the clear and concise direction from the watchful eye of the instructor. “With your other hand, reach around and secure the other side and then shift your weight back.”
With stunning expertise, the reigning 2013 World Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Masters Senior 2 Champion then proceeded to show his young charge exactly how the move should be performed. And just like that the intensity of the training exercise ramped up as Ty Valkanas executed the maneuver in total control of his opponent. Valkanas often provides hands-on training for his students at the Global Fighting League, one of two training divisions of EastLake’s Body By Bobbie – The Institute of Health and Fitness.
On this morning, Valkanas’ instruction focused on his son’s work on the mat and trying to use an opponent’s body weight against him. However, all of Valkanas’ students benefit from his years of martial arts training and competition experience.
“I started in martial arts when I was about seven or eight years old,” Valkanas explained. “My dad was getting me to try different sports – baseball, soccer. He then got me into taekwondo. From the time I started, I’ve always kept with martial arts. I loved doing it.”
As a youngster, martial arts provided the discipline and structure Valkanas thrived within. He enjoyed the constant challenge of reaching for a goal and striving for new accomplishments. In 1979 he entered his first point-fighting tournament and did well. The experience taught him valuable lessons about competition. With the support of his dad, the North Carolina youngster moved on to training in boxing and Muay Thai kickboxing. The internally motivated Valkanas quickly took to his new discipline and in 1988 won the first of three consecutive state championships in full-contact kickboxing. With no UFC or MMA around at that time, Valkanas faced a decision about his next move.
“I had the opportunity to go professional, but I decided to join the Navy and try to become a SEAL,” the Chula Vista resident said. “A friend of mine in high school always talked about the Navy SEAL team. The military really wasn’t my thing at the time. But after a year at a community college, unsure of what I wanted to do, the military was attractive. So, I decided to give it a try.”
Valkanas served in the military for 11 years, 9 of them as a decorated Navy SEAL where he was introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s an experience he says he wouldn’t trade for anything. He left the military to spend more time with his two young sons, first moving into law enforcement and then real estate investing. Today, Valkanas works alongside his wife Bobbie in helping local residents reach their fitness goals. He takes great pride in his work with the Global Fighting League.
“Those folks that sign up with us will see results,” he says. “If you want to see results, you’ve come to the right place.”