New England is a rising bastion for cultivating young mixed martial arts talent. From Maine to Connecticut, promising fighters are nearly as prevalent as the litter lining the streets in the city of Lowell. One young and rising fighter whom also personifies the tough attitude of this region is undefeated Jesse Kosakowski. Martial arts, fighting and a healthy lifestyle is nearly as prevalent in the young Connecticut fighter as the platelets in his blood. It all began too early for Kosakowski not to be this deeply conjured by the art of fighting.
“I started when I was four years old,” Kosakowski told MMASucka. “But when I was that little, I wasn’t particularly obsessed with it by no means. I just did it.
“It was like a mother putting their kid in a karate class or in soccer, just so they could be involved with something. I was kind of involved with it like that but I always definitely loved the sport, man. I especially loved the grappling, I loved practicing armbars and shit like that, its fun. It was definitely in my blood from when I was little.”
Born for Blood
The relationship between the young Kosakowski and martial arts does not coincide with coincidence. His father, Ron Kosakowski, is considered a staple in the Connecticut martial arts community. A master in the art of Filipino Kuntao, Ron Kosakowski opened a gym out of his garage in 1988. There he taught the art of Kuntao which he learned from his longtime instructor, Joe Rossi. Rossi, a WWII veteran, learned the art while stationed in the Philippines with the Navy. Since then, Practical Self Defense Training Center migrated to a commercial building and opened up the teachings of other martial arts.
The mention of his father came affront during the discussion numerous times. First, he spoke in passing of his father’s role in his knowledge of fighting. It was only one nonchalant sentence, but it began to depict the vast deference Kosakowski has for his father.
“I grew up training grappling with my dad, so it’s kind of in my blood to be a grappler,” Kosakowski said. “That’s kind of like my build.”
At an early age, Kosakowski emulated his father. As a child, he adopted the same healthy diet his father undertook many years ago.
“My dad kind of raised me on with an all-natural diet,” he said. “He’s always ate that way. Since the 1970s, he’s been eating real healthy. I kind of grew up eating that same way so I always ate an organic non-GMO diet”.
His appreciation for his father shined through, most notably, when he spoke of him in his corner. It was a brief and almost incomplete statement.
Grappling Super Fights
He recalled a regional grappling match where he had an opponent in a deep armbar. While in the position, Kosakowski believed his opponent tapped, the opponent disagreed. It left both corners and competitors in a difficult situation. One that appears from the dusty shadows of disrespect every so often at competitions such as these.
Following a brief moment of confusion, Kosakowski’s father proceeded to encourage both competitors to continue, despite the proposed fake tap. To Ron Kosakowski, the controversy and unsportsmanlike behavior mattered little. What mattered was the competition, the problems posed by the opponent and the solutions his son would provide.
“I even had someone at [North American Grappling Association] one time who definitely tapped but the kid complained.”
“So, my dad is like the type [of person] who’s going to be like ‘Alright, let’s go again. Let’s go again.’” He then chuckled while his words slipped out, “if your dad’s hyping you up to go again.”
Ultimately, Kosakowski caught the opponent in a choke minutes later. He moved beyond the frustration and anger of the match. He took the simple, concise words from his father and let them breathe a calming air into his psyche.
Moments of great similarity paint the roads of Kosakowski’s adolescent journey in martial arts. In these moments it becomes clear that the young martial artist is beholden of respect and deep admiration to his father.