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Luna brothers dont have to go far for MMA training
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The Luna family (from left) Joe III, Joe Jr., Nick and Rosemary take a break in their home dojo. Manteca residents Nick and Rosemary Luna transformed their master bedroom into training grounds for their sons to work out and practice for wrestling and Brazilian Jujitsu. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Nick and Joe Luna III have arguably put in more time on the mat than any other youth in the area.

The Luna brothers have spent countless hours working out and training on their own standard-sized wrestling mat located in the master bedroom of their own Manteca residence.

And their parents, Rosemary and Joe Luna Jr., don’t sleep on the couch, either.

Their parents have not only given up the biggest room in the house, but they’ve also spent several thousands of dollars – and time – constructing the room into what it is today.

It not only features a mat that can be used for practicing their wrestling, boxing and jujitsu skills, but the room is also equipped with a punching bag (sand), speed bag and double-ended bag as well.

“When people come over, they call it the mini dojo,” said the boys’ mother Rosemary.

A dojo is the term used for a “normal gathering place for students of martial arts to conduct training, examinations or any other related encounters”, according to Wikipedia.

“We have wrestling mats, and they’re legit ones,” Mrs. Luna added. “They have little cubbies for all of their equipment and headgear. They have a lot of UFC posters in there, and that’s where my son (Joe) keeps his championship belts.”

They also have a treadmill and a bar for pull-ups/chin-ups, along with a television as well.

The dividends are certainly paying off.

Joe, an 11-year old sixth grader at Great Valley Academy, competes in jujitsu at Cortez Martial Arts Academy and is also a standout wrestler for the Lancers’ youth team. 

He is undefeated in the 105 pound weight class at 14-0 with five tournament titles under his belt so far this year. He took first place at his last wrestling tournament less than two weeks ago and recently took first at a jujitsu tournament in Aptos last Saturday.

Joe’s ultimate dream, though, is competing in mixed martial arts, like other members and trainers like Vince Bordi, a Cortez Martial Arts trainer and instructor.

“You have to be 16 to actually fight and do MMA,” said Joe, who stated Cain Velasquez is his favorite UFC fighter because he’s the sport’s first Mexican heavyweight champ. “My brother (Nick) and I always practice. We usually go in the exercise room and do wrestling or go outside and play catch.”

Like his older sibling, Nick, 8, also does jujitsu, wresting and plays football.

The younger Luna plays running back for the Manteca Cowboys and will move up to the Rookies division next year. He’s also a standout for the Lancers’ youth wrestling team at 65-70 pounds.

“I like (MMA), but I want to be football player,” said Nick, who has an 18-4 record for the Lancers’ wrestling squad and took first place Saturday at their jujitsu tourney in Aptos through Cortez Martial Arts.

“We go to UFC fights,” said the boys’ father, Joe. “We’ve been to Vegas and San Jose with them. We go to the UFC fan expos and they’ve met a lot of fighters. They’ve had tournament at Uriah Faber’s gym (in Sacramento). And we’re good friends with the owners of Cortez (Martial Arts).”

The Cortez family supports the Luna’s and their up-and-comers to the fullest extent, and has essentially “adopted” them into their own family, according to Mrs. Luna.

The Luna’s originally relocated to Manteca from Visalia. They’ve been planted into the community for over 10 years now, and things have started falling in place.

Another UFC superstar, Tito Ortiz, has even expressed interest in sponsoring the Luna kids with his brand-named gear ‘Punishment Athletics’.

Ortiz even follows the family on its social picture network Instagram.

“(Oritz) has been keeping tabs on them through Instagram,” Rosemary concluded. “It was after (Joe) won his NAGA (North American Grappling Association) championship belt in August.”

The boys are scheduled to compete in a jujitsu tournament on Feb. 16, in Carson against other kids from all over the country and world such as Guam and Mexico.

You can also follow the Luna brothers on their accounts (TheJoeJitsu1 and NickNyquil1).