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Matt Sangiorge wearing a Sanabul Vintage BJJ gi

Fighter Series: Who is Matt Sangiorge?

At 4 years old, Matt Sangiorge started his martial arts training in the self-defense based discipline of American Tang Soo Do.  Now, he teaches American Tang Soo Do, BJJ, and Krav Maga to younger students with disabilities.


Before attending high school, Matt was homeschooled and would always head to the gym as soon as he finished his work for the day.  He spent a lot of time in the gym and developed close relationships with the people there.  


It was during this period of his life that Matt discovered his love for teaching and helping others through martial arts.  When he first began teaching, Matt said the special needs program had just started.  After some experience teaching the special needs students, he explained that he had so much fun working with them on a daily basis and eventually accepted a full time teaching position at 18 years old.


Since then, he has remained loyal to the school where it all started for him.  Matt is one of Pooler Karate’s Special Kicks instructors.  Located in Pooler, Georgia, the non-profit Special Kicks program offers training for students with disabilities and currently has about 75 students.  He teaches American Tang Soo Do, BJJ, and Krav Maga to many young children with different disabilities, such as Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy.  Not only do they learn martial arts, but through training, they develop a variety of valuable life skills: confidence, coordination, social skills, and more!


Throughout his teaching career, Matt has always kept (and always will keep) in mind that there are other people in this world who are less fortunate.  Their situations may not allow them to have the same mental and/or physical capabilities that many people take for granted everyday.  Despite these odds, his students never give up and always give their best efforts, showing the true heart and fighting spirit they possess.  Inspired by his students, Matt remembers to remain grateful every single day.


When asked for one piece of advice that he would like to share with people, Matt advocates for everyone to start/continue training martial arts.  He says that it helps him with many different aspects of life, such as fitness/physical health, mental health, confidence, and self-defense capabilities, and would like to see more people train and experience these benefits.


Currently, Matt is training for an upcoming fight, where he will be making his MMA debut.  After training early in the morning, he teaches from 11:30am - 7:45pm.  After these classes, he dedicates more one-on-one time to his students in the Special Kicks program, providing an individual focus on each student’s current level of abilities.  In addition to these private lessons, another way that Matt will be supporting his Special Kicks students is through his own ticket sales.  


When people buy tickets to local combat sports events, the promotion usually gives a portion of the ticket revenue back to the fighters, based on the amount of people they attract to the show.  Matt told us that he will be donating all of the money he makes from these ticket sales to the Special Kicks non-profit program, in order to sponsor training for more students with disabilities.  Selfless actions like these show the true character of Matt Sangiorge, who once again proves how much he cares about his students and the Special Kicks program.  


For more information on Pooler Karate’s Special Kicks program and how you can help, please visit ​​https://www.specialkicks.com/.