Michael Johnson is 8 years old and has been a member of our Mini Finney’s MMA and Judo program since 2011.
His dedication along with the help of his parents has him participating in class 3-4 days a week and he has made a lot of friends over the years while learning martial arts at The Hit Squad.
He is currently a Yellow belt in Judo and an Orange shirt in MMA. A few of his accomplishments in tournaments have been:
• Mid Western Judo Gold Medalist
• St. Louis NAGA Silver Medalist
• Tennessee State Silver Medalist
What Michael says he likes best about our program here is “I’ve made lots of friends and my coaches make it fun!”
We caught up with Jeremy Johnson, a life-long martial artists and long-time Finney’s Hit Squad member who has trained everything from kickboxing to MMA and BJJ. We quizzed Jeremy on his Judo experience below:
What is Judo?
In 1882, Professor Jigaro Kano founded the Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo, Japan, which still is the international authority for Judo. It is a modern adaptation of traditional Japanese jiujitsu. The founder, Dr. Kano, stated that Judo is the elevation of an art to a principle. In studying Judo, it is essential to train the body and to cultivate the mind through the practice of methods of attack and defense. At Finney’s Hit Squad, our coaching staff features international-level Head Coach, George Stanich, who is recognized throughout the world in the sport of Judo. Judo is quite different from other martial arts, as people of all ages and athletic abilities are able to thrive due to the fact that brute strength does not play a role. Judo can also play an important role in the lives of children, as it will build confidence and discipline with its structured training and work outs. The coaches at Finney’s Hit Squad are all very familiar in working with both children and adults, as well as all skill levels from national champions to people looking for a good workout.
When did you start training Judo?
I started training in Judo about 4 years ago while training at another gym in MMA. It was not a real structured program like we have at the Hit Squad, but it was where I found the desire to learn more about Judo.
What makes Judo different from other martial arts?
Judo is a martial art that basically size doesn’t matter, Its more based on leverage, technique, and skill.
How has Judo / training Judo affected your life?
Judo has become a passion in my life. It is my main focus in martial arts as I am working toward a shodan (1st degree black belt) It has also brought me close to my kids as it has been a sport that we can all train and progress together.
How have you seen the Judo program change over the years?
The program at The Hit Squad is always evolving as you progress further into the sport. It works very well with all levels from the international competitor to the first day beginner. Everyone will learn something new in every class. Once day you may train with national and international champions who have come to George to prepare for matches all over the world or with athletes who are training for a spot on the Olympic team, then the next work with some people who are nervous as it is there first time ever stepping on a mat to begin the journey in martial arts.
What type of people train Judo? Who shows up to class?
All type of people train in Judo! Our classes will have everyone from 4 year old children, to Olympic level athletes and everything in between. Classes are always a wide variety of ages, skill levels, and sizes.
Is Judo good for children?
I personally think Judo is great for children. Both my son and daughter have been involved for over 2 years now. Judo keeps the kids in shape, aides in discipline, confidence, and morale.
What makes the hit squad facility a good place for Judo?
The Hit Squad is just about the best facility I have seen for any type of martial art or combat sport. The training areas are large and accommodate large classes. The workout facility provides for any type of weight training that is needed to go along with your particular sport, and the coaches are always willing to help.
Thanks for the interview, Jeremy! It’s folks like you who define the community at Finneys’ Hit Squad!
Want to try Finney’s Hit Squad for 7 days free? Contact us today at or sign-up online on our Contact Us page.
The Riverfront Times has named Finney’s HIT Squad Head Coach Jesse Finney the Best MMA Fighter for 2013! Follow this link to read the article or see the full text below:
Jesse Finney is a badass dude. He’s got a lifetime of learning to kick ass behind him and now mostly trains other people how to kick ass. A member of the St. Louis Boxing Hall of Fame, he runs his own gym and heads up Finney’s HIT Squad, an MMA team he purchased upon retiring back in 2011. Wait, he’s retired? Why is a retired MMA fighter our winner, you ask? On December 30, 2012, a man in the process of shoplifting seven bottles of vodka from the Schnucks in Crestwood got into an altercation with a female employee. The man attempted to make his getaway but was stopped by — yep, you guessed it — Jesse Finney. Finney held the man until police arrived, and the day was saved. Well, except for one bottle of vodka, which was somewhat tragically smashed during the struggle. Besides that, the outcome was a good one, all thanks to Finney, a real-life crime fighter.
Excellent! Thank you Riverfront Times and Congratulations, Jesse!
Want to try Finney’s HIT Squad for 7 days FREE!? Call us now at 618-452-8561 or visit our Contact Page and sign up today!
A former ice hockey player at the University of Dayton, Finney’s HIT Squad member John Mattingly now divides his time between coaching ice hockey at DeSmet Jesuit High School, owning and operating Mattingly Lumber and Millwork, and training with professional fighter and wrestling coach Ryan Sutton–Oh, not to mention, he’s also a licensed attorney!
“Not only does Ryan push me very hard mentally and physically,” says Mattingly of his personal trainer, “he also is respectful of my schedule—a true professional.
“When we train we focus on the task at hand. I have always been an active weight lifter, but with Ryan’s help I have broadened my training. We don’t just go through the motions of a typical “workout.” He keeps it fresh and exciting. I would have never tried MMA if it had not been for Ryan.”
Mattingly, a life-long athelete, goes on to describe the difference between Finney’s HIT Squad and other gyms. He explains, “The results I have had are probably not typical—I’ve actively trained for years with trainers. Finney’s is different, the results I have experienced are mental. After a kickboxing class or MMA training, I feel mentally stronger, more confident to tackle my everyday problems.” He continues, “The best facility I have ever trained at… period, end of story.”
As a collegiate athlete turned high-school coach, Mattingly has involved himself in weight-training and excercise his entire life, but his training at Finney’s HIT Squad is the first time he has incorporated martial arts.
Mattingly states, “I am active in the kickboxing, MMA, and BJJ programs at Finney’s. The classes are very controlled and safe but can be very intense. It is one of the only times in my day where I can truly clear my head of all the stress at work and home.”
John is one of the staples in the community at Finney’s Hit Squad. He says, “The community at Finney’s is the best part. I train with folks from all walks of life: blue collar, white collar, students, professionals, athletes, and everything in between. When you step into a ring, desperate for air, completely exhausted, and you know your partner is facing the same thing, there is an immediate bond.”
Awesome! We appreciate everything you do, John, and thank you for the interview!
Want to train at Finney’s HIT Squad for 7 days free? Contact us today to start your free week!
Finney’s HIT Squad fighter Susie Wyatt made the news again, this time on Channel 5 news in St. Louis after her victory last weekend in St. Louis!
Susie, a single mother, grand mother, blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and a popular MMA fighter, gives her thoughts on what it takes to achieve your dreams in her interview below:
Want to try Finney’s HIT Squad for 7 days FREE? Call us at 618-452-8561 to start your one week trial today!
Finney’s HIT Squad member Susie Wyatt has been featured in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for her outstanding accomplishments in the gym, including a decorated MMA career, a strong Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu background, and role-model status amongst members of the gym.
Susie is one of the reasons the community at Finney’s HIT Squad is so great. She, along with many other members, inspire everyone to meet their goals.
Interested in trying Finney’s HIT Squad for 7 days FREE? Call us today at 618-452-8561 or sign up on our free trial page.
Our Finney’s HIT Squad Judo program, under Coach George Stanich, is a great opportunity to scratch that competitive itch, learn self-defense, and meet awesome people in a family friendly martial arts program focused on attitude, discipline, and respect.We pride ourselves on the atmosphere at Finney’s HIT Squad, and Judo is an excellent example of the kind of community that our members and staff build. Our Judo Team is composed of adults, teens, and children. The class is run by professionals who have been coaching for decades, on all levels, including Olympic athletes.Here is an interview from our Judo coach (note: highlights clips are from Fighter Training Class, not Judo Class):
Starting martial arts at a young age is a great way for a child to learn the value of attitude, discipline, and respect while having a blast! At Finney’s HIT Squad, our professional instructors build a safe, friendly atmosphere where our students can learn these principles.
A child faces new challenges every day: time-management, proper behavior, homework, and even bullies. Our program is an excellent way for children to learn valuable tools to help handle life’s many challenges–all while having a great time and making new friends!
Our students learn and have fun while expending energy and releasing stress. An outlet for regular physical activity helps children stay focused at the appropriate times, like during school.
We pride ourselves on the positive atmosphere at Finney’s HIT Squad. We focus on building a team, where every student is important and you’re only as good as your training partners. We encourage young ones to have fun while learning the techniques they’ll need to advance in their sport.
We have several strategies to teach the value of settings goals, working toward them, and fulfilling them:
• Our students can witness the results of hard work first hand as they improve at the techniques they’ve learned through attentive listening and practice.
• Our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program offers belt advancement based on technique and character.
• Our students often compete in grappling competitions and kickboxing exhibitions, where they learn the thrill of competition as their team and coaches cheer them on.
• A skilled marital artist is a result of years of dedication, practice, effective learning, and a positive, respectful attitude. Our students learn these lessons while having a great time working toward a goal.
To try Finney’s HIT Squad for 7 days free, call us today at 618-452-8561! You can also message us on our contact page and one of our trainers will get back to you soon! See you in class!
Attention all students! Call us today at 618-452-8561 to learn more about our student special for this summer!
Get in amazing shape and have a blast at Finney’s HIT Squad this summer break!
Call today at 618-452-8561!
Here are just a few of the advantages that Finney’s HIT Squad has over the average gym:
• Beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes
• Full state-of-the-art fitness and cardio. center
• 20,000 square foot facility
• Full-sized competition cage and boxing ring
• Full-time, professional instructors whose only job is to teach at Finney’s MMA
• A kids classes and personal training, featuring boxing, kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Judo.
• An accessible location just 5 minutes from the arch
• A fighter training program for any skill level designed to train an individual with no experience all the way to the professional level
• A long history of providing the St. Louis community with a great place to come train and get in shape
• A 7-day free trial so anyone can try us out before they sign up!
And those are just a few of the advantages! Try our Finney’s HIT Squad for 7 days free! Call us now at 618-452-8561 or contact us here and one of our trainers will get in touch with you soon!