To Live and Train In New Jersey: Pure Mixed Martial Arts and Fitness by Nick “NJ” Holden

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Whether you’re a lover or a fighter you’ll enjoy Nick “N.J” Holden’s 
blow by blow tale of his mixed martial arts training in the Garden State by, Andy Main, 
a former competitor on UFC’s Ultimate Fighter
With the burgeoning of the fitness craze sweeping the nation, people are partaking in all forms of fitness beyond lifting things up and putting them down in a gym populated by sweat, B.O., and the hit parade playing on Pandora. More and more people are turning to a more intense fitness regiment offered by martial arts schools. Mixed martial arts is slowly becoming one of the top sports in the country, no thanks in part to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, and other various promotions. Mixed martial arts, or MMA, is different from other traditional sports in that it encompasses multiple disciplines, from wrestling and boxing to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, and judo. Martial arts have always intrigued me, ever since Daniel La Russo won the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament in California, and inspired me to train in Okinawan karate under Sensei John Porta of Porta’s Karate-Do and Kobudo Academy in Pompton Lakes for ten years. But with my hormones and high school kicking ass in my teen years, I abandoned karate in pursuit of cross country, video games, and college. But after much debate, I decided to reenter the world of martial arts when I enrolled at AMA Fight Club in Whippany, NJ through a chance encounter with Andy Main, who at the time was a competitor on the UFC reality series The Ultimate Fighter. I became friends with Andy and Mikey, his younger brother, two instructors at AMA who have branched out and started their own martial arts school, PURE Mixed Martial Arts and Fitness. But Andy is quick to point out that PURE is not just your typical martial arts school.

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“For mixed martial arts, whether it’s boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, etc., it’s important for the people coming in that they know they are learning from someone who’s done it, and for us, we have a following because of the experience.” Despite their youth, the Main brothers have extensive experience in the MMA field. Both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belts, their lineage can be traced back to the world famous Gracie family in Brazil. Andy is a professional fighter holding a 6-1-1 (as of this writing) record. He has trained in boxing under Teddy Lucio and Hall of Famer Louis Esa as well as Muay Thai under numerous coaches such as Mike Constantino and Kemail Verhoeven. Before he was old enough to drive, Mikey has been competing and winning championship belts and gold medals in grappling tournaments such as the No-Gi Pan Americans, the Abu Dhabi Regionals, and the Renzo Gracie Invitational. He also scored the fastest submission victory in his second MMA fight in December of last year and plans to make fighting more of a priority in the years to come. Mikey’s road hasn’t been easy, despite having an accomplished brother in the sport, but he feels that starting at an early age gave him an advantage over other competitors.
“I started competing when I was just 15 years old. Back then teen divisions were very rare, so I was often forced into adult divisions. Being 15 years old and fighting grown up men required me to evolve at a very fast pace which is why I believe I’ve had as much success as I’ve had thus far.” PURE, located in Denville, prides itself on not being a mere learning center, but instilling a lifestyle on its students. Mikey said, “My philosophy on BJJ is that it is not just a hobby, it is a way of life. BJJ changes a person’s physical appearance which reflects in all other areas in a person’s life. An improvement in a person’s physique makes them more confident in work, school, etc. Also the ability to defend yourself brings a person more confidence in their everyday life.”

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PURE’s class schedule takes place six days a week, from Monday to Saturday, usually during the evening when people fight through the Garden State’s various gridlocks. The class schedule offers Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (both gi and no gi, a gi being available to purchase at the school; additional gear can also be purchased there, such as hand wraps, gloves, etc.), fitness kickboxing, and striking/sparring; all classes are under the careful eye of the Main brothers, as explained by Mikey. “It is very rare to have two instructors teaching on the mat at all times. Basically our members are getting two for the price of one. Also, Andy and I are still active competitors and will be competing right alongside our students. Most instructors these days have retired from their competition career, but in my eyes, ours are just beginning. Also, we pay extremely close attention to our students’ progression. We do our best to be sure everyone is at the rank they rightfully should be.”

Andy’s take on PURE is this: “Right now, even though there are a lot of martial arts gyms in the area, there are zero gyms in the area that have a professional fighter as the head instructor…We are such strong believers in what we do, in the martial arts.” But both brothers have an equal hand in the day to day operations and are geared toward not capitalizing on a business opportunity, but to enlighten people on what Andy explains is more than just a school. “The goal is really to get people to really fall in love with the art and develop goals of their own, whether it’s to compete once, whether it’s to be a champion, whether it’s to fight once, to become an MMA fighter, whatever they want to do, it’s to be able to facilitate a career or just facilitate whatever the student needs in terms of good technique, good training, and the right mindset to reach those goals. And I think, and I believed this for a long time, that every single person is an individual. There are techniques that you learn that are universal, but everybody is going to do it a bit differently based on their body type, size, whatever. There’s going to be differences in every person that need to be catered to.” Both brothers have slightly different styles in terms of fighting and grappling, and both use that to better communicate with their students, a defining factor in their teaching philosophies. But one cannot deny that to train under both of these fighters is quite an experience, actually training with professional fighters who are interested in helping out their fellow man and woman. From personal experience, I have grown as both a student and as a person and have utilized as much as I have learned in my training in addition to adhering to some of their philosophies, something that I believe every person can use in his or her everyday life.

Since opening in October, PURE’s class enrollment has steadily grown thanks in part to the infectious and positive attitude that both brothers display to their students. They are courteous, friendly, and are always ready to share their knowledge of techniques and strategies to whoever is willing to learn. So, with that in mind, keep an eye out for PURE Mixed Martial Arts and Fitness located at 100 Ford Rd. in Denville, New Jersey and check out their website at This is Nick NJ reminding everyone that life is not just a journey, but a goddamn adventure!

Follow Nick on Twitter @exiledinNJ

When Push Comes To Shove: WARRIOR – Review by Nick Holden


The Sexy Armpit’s featured writer Nick “N.J” Holden is back! Here’s his review of WARRIOR, a film featuring scenes filmed in Atlantic City as well as Tom Hardy a.k.a BANE in Dark Knight Rises!

You know what a crowd-pleaser is? Sure you do, when a movie makes the audience happy, such as when Daniel LaRusso rose up to kick uber-bully John Norris into the next world in The Karate Kid (the 1984 version, not the lame-ass remake) or when T.S. finally won Brandy’s heart in Mallrats (with a little assistance from good buddy Brodie). Both movies told simple stories and relied on the strength of the characters to push everything forward, and in some cases, made the film memorable despite plot holes and typical Hollywood clichés. The new film Warrior is a throwback to the crowd-pleaser, and while it won’t score points for originality, it makes up tremendously in character and brutal, but not gratuitous, martial arts action.

Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton) is a former mixed martial artist turned teacher who is faced with overwhelming debt that threatens to leave him and his family homeless. Long estranged from his father (Nick Nolte), a former alcoholic boxer, he soon finds himself competing in small independent venues until he sees the brass ring; Sparta, an elimination-style tournament in Atlantic City that could help him avoid financial disaster. On the other side of the spectrum is his younger brother Tommy (Tom Hardy), a former Marine running from his past who turns to his father to help him train for Sparta. Eventually, after several violent battles, the brothers find themselves facing each other in the main event amidst much tension and family drama.

Basically, it’s Rocky meets The Fighter, only set in the world of MMA, fitting since it has exploded all over due to the popularity of Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, Strikeforce, and other promotions all over the world. Actors Edgerton and Hardy completely immerse themselves into their roles by bulking up (especially Hardy, who looks like a smaller version of The Hulk) and undergoing extensive martial arts training for the film’s numerous fight scenes. Also appearing in smaller roles are real-life fighters Nate “The Great” Marquardt, Erik Apple, and Anthony Johnson, giving the film an authentic feel. The appearance of TNA wrestler Kurt Angle as an invincible Russian fighter (shades of MMA superstar Fedor Emelianenko) seems a tad cartoonish, but the showdown between him and Brendan is one ferocious battle to be seen on film. Nick Nolte does an admirable job as the absentee father who tries to reconnect with both sons, but finds himself at odds with his own demons.

Mostly set in Pennsylvania, the film’s conclusion takes place in New Jersey’s own den of sin, Atlantic City. One of the more memorable takes place in the dead of night on the shores of NJ, when both brothers have a powerful reunion, with each man not sure of the other’s motives or if their fractured family will survive their in-cage encounter. A strength in Warrior is the focus on the individual above all else; there are no real villains that stand in the way of the brothers’ quest for glory, only their own pasts. Brendan struggles with trying to decide if he really has what it takes to go all the way and take home the ultimate prize. Tommy is running from his past and, while begrudgingly trains under his father, tries to make up for his own misgivings as a son and soldier. 

The film does have its flaws, however. It runs a tad too long (a hair over two hours) and the conclusion does leave many unanswered questions as to where the family stands after the final fight. It also has the clichés we’ve seen before; the principal who is against Brendan, then cheers him on, Brendan’s students all rallying for him, and montages of the training regiments. But if you’re into a crowd-pleaser on a nice weekend night or a fan of MMA, then Warrior is a nice breath of air; not fresh air, but good air nonetheless.

The Creepy Karate Kid Coincidence

Sexy Armpit's Karate Kid Coincidence

“Yeah, but 3 was awesome because it had the twist that Daniel was getting trained by Terry Silver in the Cobra Kai dojo,” said my friend Frank as he defended 1989’s 3rd installment of The Karate Kid saga. Yes, the actual Karate Kid, with Ralph Macchio, not Will Smith’s son and especially not Hilary Swank. “OK, but 2 had the typhoon which was intense,” boasted Dave who was more passionate about watching Danielsan’s trip to Okinawa than his adventurous attempts at uprooting an innocent bonsai tree. “In 3 I like how they tied in the detail that John Kreese was in the war, it worked nicely.” Meanwhile my mind was regurgitating all the awful, scarring memories of when Elisabeth Shue abandoned me. After all, I was one of her loyal prepubescent admirers and then as if she learned some secret ninja shit, she vanished and was nowhere to be found in the sequels.
As usual, I was the one who incited this debate. So, over a few beers, I decided to gauge some of my best friends’ opinions on the Karate Kid films. I was even nice enough to preface my upcoming topic to my cohorts with a very brief overview of how Empire Strikes Back is largely regarded amongst Star Wars fans and movie goers as the best of the Star Wars films. The same usually goes for The Godfather Part 2 and several other movies as well, it’s just that no one ever paid either of the Karate Kid sequels the respect they deserve by officially burying one of them. 
“Since the original Karate Kid is the far superior film in the saga, which of sequels is the best?” I asked them. On this particular night I was in a very “3” mood and was basically in agreement with Frank if it weren’t for the fact that the venerable William Zabka did not appear in it. Other times, such as right after I saw Karate Kid Part 2 in the summer of 1986, (at the now defunct and dilapidated Amboy Multiplex Cinema in Sayreville) I was riding it’s excitement and naturally a huge proponent of The Karate Kid Part 2. But as Batman said in another less lauded film sequel, Batman Returns, “…Things change.”

As we continued to mull over the high and lows of the saga, we examined each film’s minute details which were otherwise ignored, traded barbs, and also inadvertently made jokes to the point where I couldn’t breathe because I was laughing so hard. That’s when something happened that halted The All Valley Giggle Fest 2011.

At that very second, a loud bell broke the laughter. It was my iPhone notifying me of a new text message. I leaned over to the coffee table and I was momentarily stunned after I read it’s eerily timed message. I showed my friends, and as we stood there dumbfounded with our mouths hanging open, we all simultaneously turned into “Ted” Theodore Logan and gave a collective “WHOA!”

Nick Text Message

It’s not unlike Sexy Armpit writer Nick “N.J” Holden to text me famous movie quotes at random times, but this one made me feel like he should be Pete Venkman’s next guest on World of The Psychic! I wasn’t sure if it was just a one off movie line or whoever was possessing Nick wanted to continue going back and forth. For a few seconds I felt that if we came back with the wrong line some death machine like in a SAW movie would come out and torture us. Nah, it was just Nick…or was it? Is his cell phone equipped with GPS and ESP? We continued sending back the follow up lines as if we were defending our honor in a karate tournament.

Did Elisabeth Shue Bankrupt New Jersey?


It’s been almost 25 years since Elisabeth Shue played Ali “give me back my radio” Mills, Danny Larusso’s love interest in The Karate Kid, so it’s about damn time she made some headlines again. This time, instead of playing the girlfriend of an Italian Jersey boy who learned how to wax on and off, she was actually instrumental in New Jersey losing a bunch of cash. For NJ to lose more money than it already has seems impossible.

Gracie, a film about a Jersey girl who wanted to play competitive soccer, did not make enough revenue to turn a profit. Almost 4 years ago, NJ’s Economic Development Authority wrote off a $2 million dollar loan to the film’s producers to pay the tab for Jerseyites Andrew Shue (a co-writer on the film) and his sister Elisabeth to star in Gracie. The loan was granted by state lawmakers in hopes of boosting movie production in New Jersey. The filmmakers also have to pay back the film’s lead financial backers Goldman Sachs, who shelled out $7 million dollars to make the film.

Photobucket’s story about the $2 million dollar loss, garnered numerous comments that ranged from infuriated people who criticized the state’s lack of fiscal responsibility to others who had the idea of re-shooting the film with gratuitous frontal nudity and sex scenes and then re-releasing it. Oh you wacky Jersey folks! There may be a lack of moolah here, but there’s never a shortage of PORN!


Regardless of NJ being “in the hole,” Elisabeth Shue could probably afford to send me a kickback from her residual check because I keep her entire filmography in rotation. Just the other day I checked my brain at my front door and popped Hollow Man into the antique “DVD player.” Let’s talk about that one scene where Josh Brolin is about to get his bang on with her. We would’ve had a nice fleeting ass cheek shot, but her granny thong is in the way. That was the most ginormous whale tale in the history of the existence of the term “whale tale.”


Even though Shue is no spring chicken, she’s still a hot and seasoned actress who has starred in a bunch of other films close to my heart. You are all beasts for condemning her turn as Jennifer Parker in Back To The Future II and III. Leave her alone, she was in a catch 22 situation! She had to fill the “shues” of Claudia Wells who had a sexy appealing sex appeal. And no…that wasn’t a typo. Wells was not only sexy, but supportive as her character Jennifer rooted Marty on: “You’re good Marty, you’re really good!” I love that kind of encouragement, especially when she’s being “encouraging” in the back of my black Toyota 4×4 down at the lake.


For all her years of service to horny men out there, The Sexy Armpit gives Elisabeth a bye this time. Perhaps we could all demand that her brother Andrew refund the money to the state via his windfall that came through after Melrose Place made it to DVD?

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.12: The Karate Kid is “Goin’ Back to Jersey…to Jersey”

In 1989, The Karate Kid starred in his own short lived animated series. In the 2nd episode, Homecoming, Danielson heads back to his home state of New Jersey to search for a mystical shrine. Sadly, there’s no sign of Johnny Lawrence aka the legendary William Zabka. Although all isn’t lost, since much of the episode’s action takes place at an amusement park. As far as I know there are no amusement parks in Newark, so who knows? Maybe they were at Six Flags Great Adventure?

It was announced last week that a new Karate Kid film may go into production starring Will Smith’s son Jaden.

Finding this video on Hulu was a big score. If you haven’t visited Hulu then get on it! I signed up when it was in beta and it was well worth it. Hulu is my first stop for SNL sketches, full length movies, and TV episodes. It gets me caught up on shows and some ’80s classics during my lunch hour at work.

The Most Embarrassing Songs on My iPod

Everyone’s bound to experience one of those “uh-oh” moments if an embarrassing song starts playing on your iPod. Picture it, you’re rolling down the main street of your town, windows down, iPod on shuffle mode, and you have your friends in the car. Right after rocking out to “Welcome to the Jungle,” you hear the beginning chords of “Sexy Boy” the Shawn Michaels’ theme song or the Native American war chant that kicks off Tatanka’s theme song. Some of you may not even realize that they’re both WWE theme songs and in that case you may sidestep some shame. Although, you have to admit that at least a little part of you would squirm in your seat a bit.

How about when your iPod segues from Rob Zombie’s “Superbeast” right into “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston? It’s totally cool to have Whitney on your iPod, especially if its one of her big hits, but when you’re in the car with a bunch of guy friends, and at the very least trying to act cool, your attempts are murdered by the sweet sound of synthesizers. You can win people over with goofy favorites like Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before you Go-Go,” but if their song “Freedom” comes on then your stock descends faster than the Delorean running low on plutonium. (pre-Mr. Fusion of course)

Having your friends ask you to unlock their car doors so they could tumble out while you’re still driving is a possibility if they hear you have the Baywatch theme song on your iPod. Whereas “Break the Ice” by John Farnham from the Rad soundtrack will actually give you street cred with those “in the know.” It’s possible to save yourself when a song comes on that the person doesn’t know but you’ll have to have a good enough story and reason for giving it the push to your almighty iPod. Here’s some examples: You can be forgiven for having Winger’s “Seventeen,” since it’s fun and nostalgic, but once you start digging into their catalog and “Out for the Count” from Karate Kid 3 comes on, then there’s not much that can save you at that point. Don’t let me forget “California” by Phantom Planet. It’s not really the song’s fault as much as it’s what I do when I’m listening to it. I reminisce about scenes from the O.C in a blurry, dramatic, tear-laden montage in my mind. I’ll dig deeper for you as I present a compendium of some of the most embarrassing songs on my iPod:

The Oompa Loopa Song from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
WWE Songs – The Boogeyman theme “Im the Boogeyman and I’m coming to get you!” and
Land of a Thousand Dances
Play That Funky Music by Vanilla Ice – Shit, how is it that you’re the life of the party if you play “Ninja Rap,” but you may as well crawl into a kitchen cabinet if “Roll ‘em Up” comes on.
Skeet Surfin’ by Nick Rivers/Val Kilmer – Top Secret Soundtrack
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Theme Song – Even though they’re the world’s most fearsome fighting team, you’re friend’s cut you no slack. Just hearing this theme emerge from a segue will always illicit some sort of heckle, so you’re lucky if you’re in the car with a fellow fan boy. That date of yours sure won’t be impressed that you’d rather listen to theme songs of old cartoons rather than Ne-Yo or Rhianna.
Other TV Theme Songs – Muppet Show, Charles in Charge, Mr. Belvedere, Perfect Strangers, Pee wee’s Playhouse Theme by Ellen Shaw (Cyndi Lauper). An interesting fact is that the Saved by the Bell theme song is always an overwhelming cross gender favorite.
King Tut – Steve Martin It’s a very funny song, but trying to hustle it to someone who’s never heard it proves challenging.
I’m Breathless songs inspired by the film Dick Tracy by Madonna Depending on your company in the car this album was obviously more embarrassing than Swept Away and Shangai Surprise combined.
Video Game Theme Songs – The magical songs from Alex Kidd in Miracle World make you come off like a real geek but you can get away with songs from Out Run because they sound like some underground new wave revival band from NYC. You can’t go wrong with the Super Mario brothers theme.
I Wanna Have Some Fun – Samantha Fox
Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? by Rod Stewart – I don’t care, I still love it.
Hot Rod Hearts – Robbie Dupree
Give it To Me Baby – Rick James
Party All the Time by Eddie Murphy and Rick James
Bruce by Rick Springfield here Rick talks about how he gets mistaken for “The Boss.”
Dancing In Heaven (Orbital Be-bop) by Q-Feel, Girls Just Want to Have Fun soundtrack
Sexyback – Poison rips off Justin Timberlake
Get this Party Started by Pink This is on the list just for being too girly.
Glory of Love – Peter Cetera from the Karate Kid part 2 soundtrack
Christmas songs up the wazoo – Merry Christmas Baby by my fav. Pepe the Prawn and R2D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas! with vocals by Jon Bon Jovi! Girls definitely take heed when they are informed that Jon Bon Jovi appears on the song.
Paula Abdul Songs – Straight up, Cold Hearted Snake. Remember the video for Cold Hearted Snake that was freakin’ hot at the time
Stars are Blind by Paris Hilton
Physical by Olivia Newton John (It fulfills my ’80s aerobic girl fetish)
Step by Step by New Kids on the Block
Call Me Back by Mike Flowers Pops
Notorious by Loverboy
Take It Higher by Larry Greene, Over the Top Soundtrack
Playing with the Boys by Kenny Loggins, Top Gun Soundtrack. Apparently the scene that it plays in is called “homoerotic.” Strange…I didn’t realize a bunch of sweaty, shirtless guys in cut off jean shorts playing volleyball was at all gay.
Ewok Celebration/Finale by John Williams Affectionately known as the “Yub, Yub Song.” You’re pretty much slayed like a Rancor Monster if you get caught with this one playing.
We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off by Jermaine Stewart
Flashdance…what a Feeling by Irene Cara
Howard the Duck performed by Lea Thompson and Holly Robinson Peete
Songs from The Grease 2 Soundtrack – Score Tonight, Who’s that Guy? among others.
Rock and Roll Part 2 by Gary Glitter. A top contender for most embarrassing track on my iPod since Glitter is a convicted pedophile. I hope I’m not denied entry into the plane to Vegas because I have this!
Anything by Franz Ferdinand
Who’s Johnny
– El Debarge
Kookie by Ed Byrnes
The Last Dragon by Dwight David, The Last Dragon Soundtrack
Smooth Up in Ya – Bulletboys
Porno Star by Buckcherry Ok this one is literally embarrassing. Imagine if your parents are in the car and the lyrics “don’t you know we fuck for money, I’m a big dick motherfucking porno star” blast through the speakers?
About Us by Brooke Hogan
I’ve Had the Time of My Life by Bill Medley/Jennifer Warnes, Dirty Dancing Soundtrack
Copa Cabana by Barry Manilow
Solid as Rock by Ashford and Simpson
Soldier of Love by Donny Osmond

I want to know…what are some of the most embarrassing tracks on your iPod?