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Monday, July 15, 2024


ISI Combines Mixed Martial Arts/ Faith


By Jack Fichter

FISHING CREEK — On a cold February night when there was little for young people to do in this county, the gymnasium at Covenant Presbyterian Church was filled with teens learning self defense and mixed martial arts.
An electronic sign along the road advertised ISI Training beginning at 6 p.m. Jack Trombetta, a retired Lower Township Police detective, teacher and author, said the title ISI comes from a verse in the Bible: Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
Trombetta said Covenant Presbyterian Church wanted to bring in those who may not attend church.
“We believe in God and trust God as our savior and we thought ‘How can we get kids here?’” he said
The program combines defensive tactics and a 15-minute scripture study.
“We’re teaching about the physical world, we want to teach them that there is a spiritual world,” said Trombetta. “There’s a God behind the physical world, there’s a God that cares about them, there’s a God that knows them and has a purpose for them and loves them.”
“A lot of these kids don’t have any of that,” he continued.
The scripture lesson of the night was that the heavens declare there is design, function and complexity.
Trombetta noted there are a number of children in Lower Township coming from difficult family situations. He teaches at the Cape Educational COMPACT School, which was established to serve disaffected students ages 13-21.
Most of the men leading the program are tactical instructors and work in law enforcement, he said. ISI includes circuit training which Trombetta has taught at the County Police Academy since 1987.
The evening started with a 30-minute workout for the youths which included push-ups, jumping jacks, squat thrusts and crunches to build endurance.
Lower Township Police Lt. Bill Mastriani, who teaches boxing at the police academy with Trombetta, was showing the group basic stances, how to keep one’s balance, how to move forward and backwards, how to throw a left jab and a straight right, how to throw a hook and combinations and how to defend yourself from those moves.
Further training will include the proper way to fall.
“Before you can throw somebody down, you have to know how to fall,” said Trombetta.
Week two of ISI will be more circuit training, a quick review of boxing, throwing and falling, said Trombetta. He called ISI a “fantastic discipline.”
The group has 15 girls participating. Part of the training will be what to do if you are attacked.
At the end of eight week, participants will receive a sports Bible, a copy of Trombetta’s book, “Material Evidence,” and a certificate of completion of phase one of a mixed martial arts ISI course.

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