President: Geoffrey HurdI am a law student, originally from Martinez, GA (near Augusta, home of the Masters Golf Tournament). I came to Pitt after a visit with Sam Warren (our judo black belt instructor), a good friend of mine from high school, encouraged me to put in an application. I won a scholarship, and the rest, as they say, is current events. I began grappling in Athens, GA during my undergraduate study at Itto Martial Arts under now-professional fighter Andy Stolarik. He taught both competition-style Judo alongside practical self-defense Judo and Bronx Jiu-Jitsu. I attained the rank of green belt under his study in 2003 before leaving the area to come to law school. After a brief adjustment period, I have now begun my training anew in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, recently receiving my brown belt (sankyu) in Judo under the USJA. I have enjoyed being able to expand by BJJ knowledge through seminars and now with our training under Team Balance brown belt Bobby Palumbi. While listed as an instructor, I readily admit having a lot to learn and approach every class as a new learning experience. I am also proud to bring my legal knowledge to the benefit of the members of the club, by explaining the relevant rights and responsibilities of being a martial artist under American and Pennsylvania law.
Vice President: Jimmy Cerra
I am an engineer-physics undergrate from Penn Hills, PA. I walked onto the wrestling team in my junior year of high school and wrestled varsity during my senior year. After getting really sick, I many years off from school and wrestling.
I joined the CMU Grappling Club in April 2005 where I learned no-gi grappling from Randy Jones and Drew Yao. I started attending Ultimate Fighting and Fitness to learn combat submission wrestling and MMA from Bill Vucick shortly after. I began using a gi to learn BJJ at CMU, the Pitt BJJ Club, and Steel City Martial Arts in the fall semester 2005. I finally began judo at the Pitt BJJ Club and at Kim's Martial Arts in the Spring semester 2006.
I am currently a blue belt in BJJ and an orange belt in judo. I placed in the following competitions:
Ultimate Force 2005:
Kumite Classic 2006:
Pennsylvania Open Judo Championships 2006:
Business Manager: Jennifer Sydeski
I was born in the Pittsburgh area and grew up in a small town in West Virginia (Yay for back-woods girls!) I am currently a super-senior in biomedical engineering here at Pitt. Outside of school and martial arts I enjoy spending time with my family, working in a bioengineering laboratory, and being as involved as my schedule will allow in geeky engineering groups (as well as fueling my recently acquired guilty pleasure of watching old horror movies.)
From 1994 to 1998 I studied Seiei Kan Karate (AKJU)
in Ripley West Virginia under Sensei Timothy King. During this time I
also attended Hapkido seminars in the West Virginia/ Kentucky area.
Upon coming to Pitt, I began training in Olympic-style Judo with Master
Kyuha Kim (2001-2002). During the summer of 2002, I studied abroad in
China, where I practiced Tai Chi early in the mornings with probably
150 seniors in a town square. I also studied a form of Kung Fu, but the
language barrier between the professor and me was a bit too much to
gain an understanding of the origins of the particular style. In 2003 I
took a semester of Olympic Tae Kwan Doe, again with Master Kyuha Kim. I
started studying Kajukenbo in the spring of 2005, and Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu in the fall of 2005, both of which I hope to continue
studying through the rest of my time here in Pittsburgh and beyond.