John Martino 33 years old
BJJ and Kickboxing
Member since July 2008

I started training with Kurt nearly 5 years ago, because I was out of shape and looking for something more dynamic than weight training and running. I had trained a few times at another BJJ gym and was discouraged, as they didn’t take the time to show me the basics. They would teach a move but wouldn’t show me how to get to the position in the first place. Once I started training with Kurt and his staff, all of this changed. I learned the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from the ground up. Kurt has a way to break down the basics of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in such a way that anyone can learn it. He and his staff also incorporate the physical aspect of training, where I lost over 40 pounds in the first six months of training with Kurt. He also has a way of keeping class fun and exciting.


Michele O’Toole


Cross Fit/Cardio kickboxing/Thai Boxing

I have been enrolled at Kurt Pellegrino’s Mixed Martial Arts Academy for about 3 months. From the day I first came to Pellegrino’s I have always felt very welcomed and apart of an amazing, goal oriented, athletic and well respected school. Everyone who walks in Kurt’s door is always greeted from Kurt or Melissa with a smile on their face and happy to see you. My training has been amazing and Kurt gives nothing but encouragement to me as I am training and its a good feeling. I have gained confidence in myself from being at Pellegrino’s knowing that he will always take a moment to give you a high five or even just to say “good job today”. I want to take my strength to a higher level and get fit!

Robert Kanniard

Age; 12

BJJ, Wrestling, Kickboxing

Our son Robert Kanniard is 12 years old and has been going to Kurt Pellegrinos since he was 5. For seven years he has trained at the academy in wrestling, jujitsu, muay thai. Thanks to Kurt and his staff Robert has always placed in competition. Kurt has taught Robert respect and discipline. Robert’s favorite sport is wrestling. Kurt created a wrestler for Wall Intermediate school with a record of 10 and 1 currently with 9 pins. Kurt even took the time out of his busy schedule to came to one of his matches to cheer him on. Other parents tell us a lot how good Robert is at wrestling. Kurt and his staff trained him. Robert looks up to Kurt and considers him an great role model. We look forward to a lot more training and hard work at Kurt Pellegrino’s Mixed Martial Arts!!!!!


Name: Michael Lui

Age: 30

What program(s): BJJ & Kickboxing

How long: 4 years

Since training at Kurt’s school, I’ve had a healthier and better outlook on life. It has also given me the motivation to take up other active sports such as biking, running, and weight training. One of the great things I really do love about this gym is there are no egos. From the pro-fighters, to the higher ranked belts, everyone is willing to help one another improve. The school offers a lot of classes, to tailor to everyone’s needs. Whether you’re a kid looking to get into Jujitsu, or someone looking to get into shape and live a healthier life, the instructors here are very friendly, and knowledgeable.


Rob M


BJJ program

I’ve been training at Pellegrino Academy for about 16 months.I joined because I feel it’s the only training that is all inclusive, cardio, strength,self defense, discipline.  At Pellegrino Academy, Coach Kurt is there every day to train and teach, it’s not just his name on the front door.



Name Michaela Sorrentino
Age 20
What program(s) you are enrolled in: MMA, kickboxing, bjj
How long you has been a member: 2 years

I began kickboxing when I was 16; however, it wasn’t until I joined KPMMA that I realized I could take my interest of kickboxing and change my life. I kickboxed at the academy for 6 months before becoming interested in jiu jitsu. Once I started, there was no looking back. I was hooked. Not only does the sport of MMA help to release all of my days built up stress but it teaches me self defense and has allowed me to build unforgettable friendships. The instructors at the academy are not only knowledgeable and helpful but fun and approachable. Kurt, among many of the other instructors have quickly become some of my favorite people both on and off the mat. I have learned more in my short time at KPMMA than anywhere else I had previously trained and the ever changing lesson plans help to further my skills. Coming from an all girls muay thai kickboxing gym I was ambivalent about joining a male dominated academy. It was easily the best decision I have ever made, they made me feel welcome and did not discriminate. The support and motivation I felt was amazing and before long I was just another part of the team. As a 20 year old girl it is important to me to feel confident in my body as well as having the knowledge to defend myself in the real life situations. Through healthy eating and Kurt’s rigorous classes I have never felt better about myself. The academy has not only instilled the value of respect and discipline in me, but has given me a group of guys that I can call family. I may not become a professional fighter anytime soon but by training with the pros that I so fondly look up to, I hope to one day make them proud in the ring. Whether you aspire to be a professional fighter or just want to get in shape, this is the place for you. If your looking to change your life, there is no better time than now.


Jacqueline Lurch

Program: Thai Boxing/Conditioning Kickboxing

I joined Pellegrino’s MMA Academy three months ago. I loved it the first day I walked in there. Kurt and his wife Melissa make you feel so welcomed. The staff is very knowledgeable and truly dedicated to teaching you the right techniques. Coach Frank is absolutely amazing. He is very passionate and patient. I do the cardio conditioning kickboxing which is an amazing workout. For one hour you box, kick with Ab work, push-ups, squats and other exercises in between. It’s a great stress release and a full body workout. You will quickly tone your whole body. I also do the Thai boxing classes which Coach Frank and Coach Justin teach proper technique for boxing and kicking. They are organized and focused which makes it a true learning experience. They are very motivating and inspire you to do your best. I wish I walked through those doors years earlier! It’s never too late to start. You’ll be glad you did! Everyone at Pellegrino’s MMA academy are truly talented instructors and they will get you in the best shape of your life!

Kurt Pechinsky

Age 40

Program: BJJ

Ive been training at Pellegrino’s since September 2012. I can’t say enough about the level of professionalism and knowledge from the staff. Every coach that I have had the pleasure of working with has been very helpful and very professional. Prior to training at Pellegrino’s I almost gave up training because it wasn’t fun anymore. After 1 class here my “spark” has been relit and I enjoy training again. I should have come here years ago.


Name: Ken Wheeler

Age 27

Program: Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, MMA, Cross Training
Member for 7 months

Feel free to write what it is you like about the academy, what it has done for you and/or why you began training. You can mention any particular instructors, but its not necessary.

When I started at the gym, I had recently dropped 20 pounds after deciding it was time to get serious about getting back in shape. After joining, not only did I lose an additional 20 pounds within a couple months, but I developed a love and respect for Mixed Martial Arts.

At 27 years old, with multiple prior knee injuries, one might think twice about starting a brand new contact sport with the intent of competing, but I feel like I’m 21 again. Since joining, I walk a little taller, I’m more confident and I feel the best I have ever felt. It’s funny how when you introduce the kind of discipline that MMA provides, how it can trickle into other areas of your life and add value and structure.

I often heard some people refer to MMA and combat sports like they are just a bunch of guys beating each other up, but now I am quick to correct them. It is fascinating to me how incredibly technical each discipline actually is, and how much athleticism and intelligence is required to efficiently execute the individual techniques in order to have them culminate into an effective fight strategy.

One thing I will never forget and I appreciate to this day, is how welcoming everyone was and still is. The instructors took extra time when they saw me struggling, other students always help if they see you need it and everyone has the utmost respect for each other. When I joined at Pellegrino MMA, I didn’t just get a new hobby and a way to offset the sedentary lifestyle of a desk job. I got a new lifestyle, new friendships, and I was welcomed into a new family. And I’ve never felt better in my life.



Name: Ryan Magovern

Age: 29

What program(s) you are enrolled in: CAP (BJJ/Kickboxing/MMA)

How long have you been a member: 3 Months

The best decision I’ve made in years. What started out as a way to break up the time between surfing and snowboarding has turned into a full fledged addiction. The coaches are knowledgeable, friendly, and professional. The atmosphere is welcoming as well as encouraging which made the initial break-in period a breeze. I was also thoroughly impressed that the first time I visited the academy I was greeted by Kurt himself, who personally took the time to show me around and teach me a few jiu jitsu moves. Anybody could’ve given me that initial tour but I believe it speaks leaps and bounds to how the Pellegrino’s operate their academy and the quality of instruction that I’ve come to appreciate. I can’t speak highly enough about the KPMMAA – my only regret is that I didn’t start years ago.


Frankie Jones

44 Years Old

Cross Fix and Conditioning Kickboxing

For me the academy is not just a place to work out but a place where you do not feel intimidated or out of place. All of the coaches and support is fun, professional and most of all challenging. It is an awesome workout with people at different levels. Even if you do not know the person in the class and you are meeting for the first time they coach you and support you which is motivating. My personal goal is to stay in shape, improve my overall strength and to add on the Thai Intro boxing in the next few months. I have to get past many medical issues in the last three years and it is important for me to remain strong and supported. Kurt, Melissa, Coach Frank and Bill are all awesome to work with.



Ian Walsh


Jiu Jitsu, Grappling, and wrestling

Ian has learned so much from Kurt and his instructors, and not only the skills for the programs he attends. He has learned self-discipline which shows in the way he is on top of his school work and other activities. He also has learned the importance of respect and empathy for others. Attending the programs has built up his confidence level, and he truly has developed a very healthy self esteem which has helped him in friendships, schoolwork, and other activities like scouts and music. He has learned to advocate for himself and for others. Kurt, Joe, Steve, Dave, Andrew and his team not only teach the skills required to do your best in the programs, but also the life skills that help a child grow and do his/her best in life. They have been very supportive during tournaments and have instilled a team culture among the boys.

Desirae and Denis Walsh



Name: Matt Mulcahy


Enrolled in Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and No Gi Grappling

I started training at Pellegrino Mixed Martial Arts and Fitness Academy when I was just turning 17 years old. At the time I had no idea what to expect, i’d never trained any sort of martial art before. I’m a slow learner so I had to go everyday to l had to go everyday to make sure I was making progress. The instructors there are world class and have taught me not just how to fight but how to live my life as well. I can honestly say the people there have become my best friends who I would do anything for. Pellegrino Mixed Martial Arts and Fitness Academy got me so into training that when I went to college I had to find a place to continue my training so I could continue to learn, and keep up with my best friends! I’m gonna be 20 this year and am still training harder than ever, not because I’m making money or because I’m gonna be the next Ultimate Fighter, but because I just love what I do and love going to this place! It’s not just a gym; it’s what I’m proud to call my family. Oss!


Name: Shawn
Age: 27
My primary focus is BJJ/ Submission Grappling.

I originally began training BJJ while I was living in California.
Prior to BJJ, I grew up a surfer, lifeguard, and swimmer who was
looking for an alternative way to stay in shape.  For years before my
first BJJ class I had a friend who was highly competitive in the sport
and was always trying to get me to try it out.  Finally, one day I
decided to give it a shot and pretty much never looked back.  When I moved back to New Jersey I found that I was lucky enough to
have KPMMA only two miles from my home.  I’m proud to say that KPMMA
is where my true passion for BJJ began.  KPMMA has both world class
instructors and students. It also has the perfect balance of
seriousness and fun to suit anyone’s goals.  Moreover, there are NOT
any egos in this school, everyone is treated and feels the same.  I
have been a proud member of KPMMA for nearly two years now, train
almost every day, and look forward to competing in the future.  For
anyone who asks me why I train so much BJJ, my answer usually is that
it’s as fun as surfing. I recommend this school for anyone regardless of their age, ability, or goals.


Josie Centeno

13 years old


I enrolled my daughter, Josephine Centeno in the kickboxing program just two weeks ago but I can already see that she loves it. I liked that Josephine met with a trainer in a one on one before she started in her group because it made her feel at home and comfortable along with giving her a glimpse of what she could expect in class. The academy has a family atmosphere that is warm and caring while providing valuable lessons in courtesy and respect. I look forward to the character building experiences that will come to Josie from the exposure at the academy.


Jake Clark

6 years old

Junior Warriors BJJ

My son Jake is 6 years old and takes the Little Warriors BJJ program. He has had 2 years of Prior martial arts experience. I have to say that Pellegrino mixed martial arts academy is by far the best place he has attended. In just 5 months he has learned respect and discipline not only for his coaches but for BJJ in itself. Everyday of the week he begs to come to class. I truly believe that Coach Kurt might be his own super hero! In our opinion there is not a better martial arts academy anywhere. We love being a part of the Pellegrino family.


Evan Vacchiano

24 years old

BJJ and Muay Thai

I have been training jiu jitsu since 2008 and have trained at over a dozen places. I couldn’t be happier training at Kurt Pellegrino’s. Their jiu jitsu game is very diverse. It’s awesome to be at a place where they incorporate the best jiu jitsu techniques from across the game. I’ve trained standup at multiple places. But Frank Ursino’s is on another level. Every part of his game is amazing. You will be a step above the competition training with Coach Frank.  Kurt Pellegrino’s is the place to go if you’re looking to continue your fighting career. At Kurt’s it’s all about teamwork and pushing each other to achieve goals.


Brian Wilton


Lake Como Councilman

I just wanted to touch base and extend my sincere thanks for the
training that you and Bill have provided over the last few months in the
A.M. Killers Cross-Training Class. Initially I joined the program simply
as a way to change up my workout routine from my endurance/triathlon
training which I normally stop for the winter.  However, I was
pleasantly surprised to see a major increase in my overall fitness and
muscle strength which has translated into better running, swimming and
biking workouts. I highly recommend your class to everyone from the
fittest of triathletes looking for that competitive edge, to out of
shape people just looking to get fit.  Thanks again!



Adam Potulski


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Student of Kurt for 9 years

I started training with Kurt Pellegrino nine years ago. Kurt is one of the most personable instructors I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Not only does he have outstanding credentials, but he also has a personality that lends itself well to a fun and positive learning environment where all your goals can be met. I’ve been so happy with my experience at KP MMA that I’ve referred friends, my girlfriend, little sister, and even my own mother for classes. Every single time I’ve heard positive feedback. All I could ever ask for is that my friends & family felt as comfortable & appreciated at the gym as I do. I’m proud to say, without exception, that has always been the case.


Connor Northrup


Age 19

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

I have been attending Pellegrino MMA for a little less than two years. I got involved in Pellegrino MMA through wrestling. I really enjoyed the beginner jiu-jitsu classes. The teachers are all terrific and really had me prepared when I tested for my blue belt. I also really enjoyed the cross-fit class. it was a great workout that focused on everything and not just one thing. All the students are fun and laid back, which makes classes much more enjoyable. There is a wide range of ages which is good, easy to get along with everyone. I have enjoyed myself at Pellegrino MMA and proud to be a member.


David F.

Programs: CAP (BJJ/Kickboxing/MMA)

I started training at KPMMA in Sept of 2012. Prior to training at KPMMA I would engage in bad habits such as Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. I immediately turned my life around in sept of 2012, with the help of Coach Kurt Pellegrino and all the Coaches and Students there as well!! Training at KPMMA gave me the hope and desire to get in shape, and improve my overall well being. They have many options, such as: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, crossfit, Cardio Kickboxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, MMA class, and what I like is they offer all these immenities from a beginner level , all the way to advanced and Pro level. KPMMA has help and restored my self confidence. I have lost 15 lbs since September of 2012. One of the great options KPMMA offers is private lessons. If I am having a difficult time progressing in Jiu Jitsu, I have the option of training one on one with Coach Kurt Pellegrino. He has done some troubleshooting and helped correct any gaps in my training. Also, KPMMA is a very Clean and sanitary gym. It has top quality Zebra Mats throughout the facility. It is cleaned on a daily basis. I am so Grateful for being a part of such a wonderful Team. Thank You KPMMA for everything you have done for me.

Ken Wheeler

CAP (Kickboxing, MMA, BJJ)

This academy is outstanding. Top tier instructors paired with a state of the art facility makes for the finest MMA training you can get in the NJ area. There is a super friendly family-like atmosphere that makes students feel welcome and comfortable. Whether you are looking to just get in shape, or become a combat sports machine, this is the place to be.


Dave Billeter


The first time I called Kurt Pellegrino’s Academy to find out what time they had a BJJ class that night Kurt answered the phone. I told him my situation that I had seven years experience and just moved back to NJ and he told me to drive there right now..so I did. Choosing a new school is difficult, you never know what to expect from the instructors or the students. My experience started with meeting Kurt, then taking a class and training with several of his students including some of his black belts. You would be hard pressed to find a big ego on that mat. Everyone welcomed me, we trained hard and the vibe was as cool as could be. I knew that day I found my school. Since then I have seen the way Kurt and the upper belts interact with everyone whether it’s day one or ten plus years in…everyone matters, everyone is there to help. It’s a terrific atmosphere that I am honored to now be a part of. If you’re thinking of trying it out just walk through the door and see for yourself. I look forward to seeing you on the mats.


Gary Blasco

BJJ & Kickboxing

Coming from the largest MMA school in the Tri State area I was apprehensive walking into Pellegrino’s. Was I ever wrong !! Kurt Pellegrino is the real deal. UFC fighter with many notable wins, Ju Jitsu black belt, acclaimed wrestler. Who could be more capable than this man if you want to learn this art. The gym is managed by his very beautiful wife Melissa & she also teaches the Jersey Girl Boot Camp.. Hear that ladies, this is where you want to train. It doesn’t stop here, this is just the beginning.The instructor staff, coach Jeff & coach Chris. Great guys these two, are students that worked there way up under coach Kurt.Coach Joe teaches the fundamental classfor green belt students. The building block for an advanced belt. He is precise & methodical with no wasted energy & his passion for the sport is contagious. Each & everyone of his teachers are first class, respectful, eager to lend an extra hand,with no egos. Parents, this is where you want your children to train. Then you have the bonuses. Tuesday & Thursday Coach George an Olympic Judo star is teaching throws & take downs, a definite edge if Ju Jitsu is your game. As you advance in your training you will get to take advantage of the twice a week No Gi classes. Tuesday night with Coach Jim. An awesome man with a gentle personality, very capable, amiable, all around great guy. Thursday night with Coach Gus. The Arm Bar Assassin ( my nickname for him ). Very nice person, loves to share what he learned. If MMA is what you want, then Pellegrino’s is the gym where you want to learn this art. Kurt has more champions than any other gym I’ve trained at. Coach Fish, the head boxing instructor is first class. Justin, who teaches the beginner Muay Thai class, is a great fighter & will be a champion himself in my opinion. Lastly if personnel safety is what you would like to learn, there is no better teacher than Coach Jeff Eisenberg. His class is available on Wednesday & Saturday. He teaches street tactics that will save your life. Not the fluffy dance moves that a lot of schools are disguising as self defense. .  All in all Kurt Pellegrino’s Mixed Martial Arts Academy is the most comprehensive gym you will find in New Jersey.


Alysa Gelpke

Husband Mike, sons Harrison (6) and Thomas (5) all take BJJ

Harrison has been training at KPMMA since October. He is 6 years old and loves the Little Warriors Jiu Jitsu class. When I asked him why he likes it, he answered, “It’s challenging and fun!” It’s been amazing to see him grow in confidence and skill.


Demi Gregorakis

Jersey Girl Bootcamp

Life changing. I can say with total confidence that KPMMA is the best place to be. I have been here for a year now and I have never felt better. Coach Kurt, Coach Melissa and Coach Michelle are amazing. This isn’t your typical gym, it’s a family run business and they make you feel like family. They care so much about all the members here and care so much about achieving your goals and getting you where you want to be. I never met more down to earth people. I’ve been to so many places, and I’m so lucky to have come across KPMMA. I have lost weight, gotten in shape, I started off feeling so down on myself, this is the place you want to be if you want to start something amazing. Even if you feel like you have no athletic ability like me, its a judgement free zone in all honestly. You come, do the best you can do and keep pushing. You will succeed here! I can’t thank Coach Kurt, Melissa and Michelle enough, they are the sweetest people ever, and have helped me more than they could ever know. Love this place so much!


Chris Tranchina

BJJ (gi and no gi)

I started training at KPMMA about 2.5 years ago and have to say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Being a 3 sport college athlete and having wrestled in high school, I was looking for a fun and exciting activity to take on once college competition was over and BJJ and grappling at KPMMA was a perfect fit. I was getting board at the gym and hated running for cardio, so the workout it gives you is second to none. I am in the best shape of my life and as lean as ever. The comraderie and atmosphere is one of the main reasons I keep showing up. The guys and instructors are fun, knowledgeable and respectful. This is not a place where you will get beaten up if you don’t know what you are doing, its a place where you will actually learn something new, get a great workout, and make new friends. The facility is HUGE, the mats are clean, and if you are looking for a great workout, want to learn something new and useful, and want to make new friends, I highly recommend checking out KPMMA.

Mike Marchese

Cross Training

I saw an ad for a free 2 hour seminar at Pellegrino’s MMA gym. I stopped in on a Saturday and its changed my life so far! My wife, son and I have joined up for different classes. The Family Friendly Atmosphere is Contiguous! All the Trainers are Excellent and help to push you and get the exercises done correctly. I’m doing cross fit training and have in 12 weeks lost 26 lb., 2″ off my waist and 4″ off my midsection and have energy and muscles again.  Amazing!  I can’t believe this gym has been here all along and I never knew it. I wish I found it 10 years ago and its so close to home. I can’t wait to see what the next 12 weeks brings me. When I started I couldn’t do any exercise for more than 5-10 seconds. Now I can do Planks for 60 seconds, Bosou squats and Burpes for 45-60 seconds, ALL thanks to the trainers who push me.  Thank you for making my family your family! This is the BEST MMA GYM ON THE EAST COAST!  Its a must for anyone looking to get back in shape at any age or level. Its Hard Work, BUT its well worth it! Thanks again.


Ian Morris


I started training at Pellegrino’s mma academy about two months ago and love. I have other martial arts experience and have not been able to find a gym that has as many classes a week as Pellegrino mma. all if the instructors and students made me feel welcomed when i joined. I would recommend Kurt Pellegrino’s mma academy to anyone. I plan on getting into fighting and I am glad that I joined a really great gym to train at.


Ralph Apicelli


I have visited and or trained at many different schools in the area and I mean it sincerely when I say that none contain the quality and atmosphere of Pellegrino Mixed Martial Arts. From the day a started 3 yrs ago I have felt like a family member. All levels of students and instructors have gone out of their way to make me feel accepted and never let me feel negative about any progress I have obtained. It is a huge difference to go from a quasi military old school karate dojo to Kurt Pellegrino’s humorous and quite informal yet very affective teaching methods. The staff and students have helped me in countless ways.


Joe Pierro


Just started training here and this is my 3rd school in about 5 years. I’ve never felt more comfortable and welcomed in my first week of training at any of my other schools. Everyone introduces themselves and is as friendly as can be and will help you with anything… Amazing place. I’d encourage anyone who is interested in Mixed Martial Arts to train here. Great coaches. Great school.


Nick Zambuto

Daughter, Isabella age 4

Our daughter just started the little warriors bjj class.  She was the only girl in the class and probably the youngest. The first couple times she went she was very shy and did not even want to go onto the mat. She has been going for a month now and shes been grappling with the boys and knows all the moves she learns each week.  Coach Kurt, Coach Channtel, Coach Chris and Coach Kyli have really helped her and worked with her on an individual basis, and have been a huge help on our daughter overcoming her shyness and getting on the mat.  Thanks for everything KPMMA.