Skip to content

Young man reaches emotional milestone with blue belt

'We're happy that Jeff has found a place where he feels welcome at our gym and that it has helped him in other aspects of his life,' says coach
20220613-masci
Getting his blue belt was a proud and emotional moment for Jeffery Masci.

It was a proud and emotional moment for Jeffery Masci.

Receiving his blue belt designation in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Steel City MMA marked a milestone for the young man who copes with an intellectual disability.

“My grandmother passed away last year during the COVID pandemic,” he said. “I was crying emotionally when I received my blue belt because I felt my grandmother’s presence.”

Masci says he’s been training five days a week for almost eight years at Steel City.

He became interested in martial arts in high school.

“At the time I was not into sports, I was into art,” he said.

A video presentation by Brent Fryia, the owner and head coach at Steel City MMA, got Masci hooked and once he started, there was no looking back.

Participating in martial arts made a difference in Masci’s life. 

Before joining Steel City, the special education student in high school had a tough time keeping up with the other students.

That began to change.

“It made me confident. I was a very shy person. I wouldn’t go out. I just wanted to be at home,” he said. “My learning started to improve and I handled stress better.”

Today, Masci is employed in the local film industry as a production assistant.

Fryia has trained many athletes in his gym and has himself reached the highest levels in his sport. 

Masci, however, struck a special chord with the coach.

“We're very proud of what Jeffrey has accomplished,” said Fryia. “He's been a member of our gym for seven or eight years, and has been doing Jiu Jitsu for about five years. It has taken Jeffrey a bit longer to achieve his blue belt than many others, working through lots of challenges, which makes his dedication over the years even more impressive.”

“Mostly, we're happy that Jeff has found a place where he feels welcome at our gym and that it has helped him in other aspects of his life,” he added.

Masci’s grandmother must be looking down and smiling too.

Reader Feedback


Frank Rupnik

About the Author: Frank Rupnik

Frank Rupnik is Community Editor of SooToday. Frank is a veteran writer and editor who has worked at daily newspapers across Ontario for more than 30 years
Read more