Topeka, Kan. (WIBW) -- The last weekend of the Sunflower State Games starts Friday, and one of the sports going on is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. One academy that competes is right here in Topeka.
Marc Monaco is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. While he is from New Jersey Marc's story is about his family, and his Jiu Jitsu Family he has created in Topeka.
Marc Monaco, owner of Topeka Jiu Jitsu Academy said, "I've trained in a couple of different facilities early in my Jiu Jitsu career. And I actually brought my instructor from New Jersey. I went down there and trained with him a little bit, and did some private lessons years ago. And when we decided to be affiliated with him he took us under his wing. And I brought him down for some seminars. He liked what he saw. He liked that we were growing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Topeka. And the rest is history."
Marc's oldest son , Dorian is 10-years-old, and has been doing Jiu Jitsu for over three years. And his middle son just started competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Marc's wife Amy is also around the academy taking self defense-classes.
And all of this creates a family environment for everyone else.
Corey Merrill, a Jiu Jitsu athlete said, " This school is a beautiful thing. We got positive people. I mean good technique. Teachers. Mr. Monaco he's the man. So we have a good thing. Everybody works together. Everybody is good. And everybody wants to do well. And it's a family environment which I like."
Troy Russell, another Jiu Jitsu athlete at Topeka Jiu Jitsu Academy said, "It expanded my circle and the quality of people that I was surrounding myself with increased tremendously."
And although Monaco is accomplished in the art of Jiu Jitsu, black belt and all. There's also more to his classes.
Jay Howland, who is a Jiu Jitsu athlete said, "He makes it fun. He likes to joke around at the same time. He makes it a formal class, but you know we still have fun at the same time."
Monaco has helped grow the sport so much in the area he is the commissioner for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the Sunflower State Games, and helped get the sport into the Sunflower State Games.