Kru Brian Crenshaw
Ever since 1971 when Crenshaw saw his first Bruce Lee movie, he wanted to study martial arts. Brian Crenshaw has been involved in formal martial arts classes since 1972. He received his first Black Belt in 1976 in an American Open Karate/Kickboxing system, his second in 1979 in Shotokan Karate and also a 1st Kyu (Brown Belt with one stripe) in Kyokushin Karate in 1984. While studying three styles of Karate, Crenshaw managed to win three AAU National Karate Championships Gold medals in Kumite and Forms divisions. These wins qualified Crenshaw for the AAU National Team and to represent the US in various international competitions around the world. Most notably, Crenshaw represented the US in the PUKO Pan American Champions in Guatemala (Bronze medalist in Kumite) and the WUKO World Championships in China, where he made it to the quarter finals. Crenshaw was awarded the Karateka of the year in 1979 and 1980 by the Amateur Athletic Union. In addition to Karate tournaments, Crenshaw fought in Full Contact Karate matches and Kyokushin Knockdown matches and took the Tri State Kyokushin Knockdown Tournament in the Lightweight division.
In 1983, Crenshaw's dream came true when he attended his first of many seminars with Guru Dan Inosanto. Through Crenshaw's experience with Guru Dan, he was able to make a bridge to his inspiration: Bruce Lee. Crenshaw's inspiration soon turned to tremendous respect and awe for the intense and diligent effort of Guru Dan to carry on his teacher Bruce Lee's wishes. Guru Dan opened Crenshaw's eyes to a whole new world of martial arts. He not only introduced him to Kali, but also to Muay Thai, Silat, Savate, Jun Fan, Shoot Fighting, and, of course, the concepts of Jeet Kune Do.
In 1985, Crenshaw had the workout of his life in an all day training session with Arjan Surachai Sirisute. Arjan Chai showed Crenshaw repeatedly how to push one's body to its limit. Arjan Chai's awesome power and technique accompanied by his quick-witted humor immediately captivated Crenshaw's respect and admiration. Arjan Chai's unforgiving critique combined with his sincere desire for Crenshaw to become technically proficient provided the stage for his Muay Thai base. Crenshaw was tested and awarded his basic level instructor in 1993 and in 1995 was made a Kru (teacher of Muay Thai).
It wasn't until 1987 that Kru Brian was able to take formal Wing Chun classes. Studying Wing Chun (Ving Tsun) in the Moy Yat family system and achieving the rank of Sifu (instructor), he left the Ving Tsun system with a respect for the art and an appreciation for the study of detail and began to search for another Wing Chun Sifu whose emphasis was more on the application of the art. Guru Dan's wife, Simo Paula, suggested that he contact Sifu Francis Fong in Atlanta, GA. From their first phone conversation where Sifu Fong took one hour and a half to talk to him long distance, he was sold. Sifu Fong's warm nature and sincere desire to pass on his art was just the combination Kru Brian was looking for. He moved to Atlanta exclusively to train under Sifu Fong. Sifu Fong not only taught him Wing Chun, Muay Thai and Kali, but also how to take the Wing Chun principles and concepts and blend them into his other studies. Kru Brian didn't realize what had happened until a conversation one day with Guru Dan at a summer training camp. Guru Dan said, "Your Sifu epitomizes my Sifu, Bruce Lee, more than anyone I have ever seen. Not only does he have the physical technique, but moreover, the principles and concepts have literally become a part of his every movement." That's when Kru Brian realized that he had come full circle. He was not only seeing, but experiencing and learning the concepts (in Sifu Fong's interpretation) of Jeet Kune Do. His stay in Atlanta was both rewarding and challenging. He learned much, fought often, and taught many students and classes. During this period of time he traveled to various locations trying his hand at K-1 style, San Shou and Muay Thai style fights. Kru Brian achieved an instructorship in Wing Chun under Sifu Fong and in Muay Thai under Ajarn Chai Surisute, but most importantly, he moved to a very different level in the martial arts.
In 1994, he returned to his hometown of Richmond, Virginia, and in November of that year opened Prodigy Martial Arts Academy, concentrating on developing a core group of students in the arts of Wing Chun Kung Fu, Muay Thai Kickboxing, and Filipino Kali, while perpetuating the concepts of JKD as the underlying and driving force behind the school. As the students developed, so did his thoughts on making them functional with their techniques. For Brian, the Jeet Kune Do meant not only realistic techniques, but realistic and effective training methods. In 1996, while in California for a Penjak Silat instructor's camp, he had an opportunity to train with Sifu Burton Richardson. They had met several times in the past, as he regularly performed demonstrations for Guru Inosanto and Sifu Fong at many seminars and camps. However on this occasion, Brian was introduced to the ineffectiveness of his traditional Kali defenses. Sifu Burton showed him some new ideas he had been working on with his stick fighting and ground fighting. Sifu Burton first introduced Kru Brian to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The improved stick fighting and BJJ caused everything to click ...the light bulbs went off...these were realistic training methods! Kru Brian began to train with Sifu Burton regularly by traveling to California, meeting at seminars, or hosting him for seminars at his own school. Finally, the training, competing, teaching, and concepts made sense and all came together in Jeet Kune Do Unlimited. In December 1997, Sifu Burton certified Kru Brian as an Instructor in Jeet Kune Do Unlimited. However, for the betterment of his instructor program and to add strength the growing organization, it was decided in 1998 to have everyone pass a physical test before certification. This was an important move as everyone who tested would have to pass a rigorous sparring test in each range of combat (stick fighting, stand up and groundwork). Kru Brian was made an Instructor in the Jeet June Do Unlimited organization on October 30, 1998.
In addition to his JKD training, Kru Brian has continually pursued avenues to improve his Muay Thai first as a fighter and later as a trainer. It has been his pleasure to have trained with Kru Sakasem Kanthawong, Kru Walter "Sleeper" Michalowski, and Kru Surichai Surisute. He has trained extensively with Kru Vut Kamnark to learn the ins and outs of Muay Thai. Kru Vut also encouraged him to pursue the promotional end of Muay Thai as well. With his guidance Mr. Crenshaw has successfully promoted many Muay Thai and MMA events. He has hosted both ISKA and WKA events that featured regional and US title cards. In 2001, he was honored by the WKA with the appointment as WKA US Representative-Amateur Muay Thai and Kickboxing. In 2003 his role was increased to US Representative for both the Amateur and Professional Ring Sports Divisions of Muay Thai, MMA, Kickboxing, Full Contact and Submission Grappling. In 2004, he formed a management and promotions company and began the Combat Sports Challenge fight series. In late 2006 Prodigy Martial Arts partnered with the principles of MOD Grappling and FX Boxing to open Combat Sports Center in the West End of Richmond and has continued to evolve into the present day Combat Sports Club (CSC RVA). CSC RVA has developed numerous event champions and international level competitors in Muay Thai, MMA and Grappling. Kru Brian Crenshaw and the well versed staff of the CSC RVA have produced many champions from 1999 through the present.
Kru Brian Crenshaw is also the US President of the World Kickboxing Association (WKA USA), which sanctions over 60 Kickboxing, Muay Thai and MMA shows per year. WKA USA hosts the largest amateur Combat Sports Tournament in the US each year. Winners of this event are selected to the WKA US NATIONAL TEAM which then travels to compete in different countries around the world in the WKA UNIFIED WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS.
Instructor/Coach Freddy "C" Corritone
We are honored to have Instructor Fred Corritone directing our Boxing program with Combat Sports Center. Freddy Corritone has dedicated his life to keeping the martial arts alive and well in the community. He founded the New York Karate-Boxing Athletic League in 1974, which has been represented by 58 rated fighters. Coach Corritone's training has produced Golden Gloves Champions, Regional Star Champions, Police Olympic Champions, as well as U.S. and World Champions.
Freddy has coached six U.S. teams for both national and international competitions. In addition, he has coached the NYPD boxing team.
Sensei Corritone holds a sixth-degree Black Belt in Shotokan Karate, and his 40-plus-year martial arts background also includes Arnis, Aiki-Ju Jitsu, Goju, Boxing, and Kickboxing. Coach Freddy has an extensive background in developing young athletes to perform better in their respective sports, function more efficiently in their everyday activities, and achieve their goals. Freddy has worked many fighters through USA Boxing's amateur program, with fighters competing in many sanctioned events, including state, regional and national championships and Golden Gloves Tournament. He has coached and cornered many professional boxers and is an accomplished cut man.
Coach Freddy is also a certified official by many state athletic commissions and is senior "A" class official for the World Kickboxing Association.