Hey guys, please give it up for our own Roberto Mastromarini, who recently earned his Silver Gloves in Savate at the impressively young age of just 17. Today we’re featuring a guest post from Roberto’s father, Peter, who has been an amazing support system to Roberto throughout the years:
It only feels like yesterday walking into Gold’s Gym and introducing Kombat Arts to Roberto for the first time. We sat and watched some of the members train; Roberto had just turned six years old. He was very shy and I remember him asking me “Why are we here?” I told him that I wanted him to try martial arts and he was hesitant and responded “Daddy, did you see what Lee can do to those bad guys? I don’t want to hurt anyone daddy.” Rush Hour was Roberto’s favourite movie at the time. Convincing Roberto to try martial arts wasn’t difficult. He was the first student of the Mini Dragons program under the tutelage of Hector Perez. He quickly excelled and enjoyed every class. To this day Hector is not only his coach but a close friend and very positive influence.
As a Mini Dragon, Roberto watched Professor Salem Assli for the first time at one of his seminars at Kombat. Roberto sat quietly on the mats as the older participants worked their technique. The Professor noticed Roberto sitting and watching attentively and he came over and asked if he could show him his technique. Roberto threw a punch and kick combination, after which the Professor smiled and patted Roberto on the head.
At the young age of 10, Roberto, under the direction of Joey de Los Reyes, began his training in Savate (Boxe Francaise). I remember discussions where Roberto asked Joey whether he would be capable of testing in Savate under Professor Salem, and Joey quickly responded that there was no issue with his capability but he was unsure if he was too young to handle the pressure of testing. Roberto would be the youngest to test and that was a concern. We set up a private lesson and asked Professor to determine whether Roberto was ready and capable of testing. It was so obvious that both Joey and I were more nervous than Roberto. He was able to do everything the Professor asked him to do. Very impressed with his capabilities, the Professor asked Roberto if he could explain the difference between Savate and Muay Thai and Roberto answered “They both can hurt someone if done correctly.” The Professor couldn’t help but smile.
At the end of the session the Professor came over to me and commented that he would be very interested in seeing what stage Roberto would be at when he turned 16. He assured Joey and I that he was ready for testing and would do so the next time Professor was in town. Who would have known that at 16 years of age Roberto would have completed his Yellow Glove testing and achieve Initiator instructor levels in Savate.
This past weekend was very special and a long time coming. This was not just any test but the most difficult of them all. In the final round of sparring I remember these words from the panel of judges: “This is your final round; this is your last chance to show me what you got.” The round started and I immediately had flashbacks of his 11 years at Kombat, remembering all his teachers, tests, training partners and so many highlights. I have had the privilege to watch my son’s journey each step of the way, and this past weekend it culminated with one of his greatest accomplishments as a martial artist. This was truly one of my proudest moments. At the mature age of 17 Roberto was awarded his SILVER Gloves. Seven years of dedication pays off.
Kombat Arts is not just a martial arts school but our extended family. I personally would like to thank everyone who has helped Roberto train throughout his journey and instilled in him that one is never too young to achieve BIG GOALS.
Thanks to Joey de Los Reyes, Hector Perez, Rafael Delgado, Scott Redstone, Dave Edwards, Mark Mendoza and all his training partners.
On behalf of me and my family, THANK YOU so much for being a positive influence in Roberto’s life. I truly believe that it takes a village to raise a child and as a parent you are always faced with making decisions for your kids, always wanting to position positive influences in your childs life. Walking into Gold’s Gym 11 years ago and signing Roberto up for Mini Dragons was and will continue to be one of the best decisions I have made for my son.
-Peter Mastromarini(Photos by Martin Duncan)