Derek PicinichBJJ Black Belt
I met Yanni about 10 years ago at Cruz Control BJJ. Yanni had been training a few years before I started and was the first person to help me with the basics of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Besides the instructor, Yanni, was very helpful in my transition from a college wrester in to the marital art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Because of his technical instruction and love of the sport, I continue to train with and under Yanni at his school Up Top in Wayne NJ. As being a black belt myself, I continue to pick his brain as he is an encyclopedia of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He runs a great fundamental and advanced class at his school and his students are some of the most respectful students an instructor could ask for. Yanni also takes the time out to roll with his students and help build and tweak their game. Definitely try out his class as I guarantee you will quickly see why Up Top is an established school for all levels of BJJ practioners.
Owner – On Point BJJ
Grappler’s Quest Superfight Medalist
Ed WilsonStudent - Blue Belt
I’ve been training BJJ for over four years now, but the last three spent at UPTOP have been my most productive. When I started training at UPTOP, I won a bronze and silver medal at NAGA (Grappling Tournament) within the first six months. I received my blue belt from our head instructor Yanni, and I couldn’t ask for a better guy to train under. Although BJJ is a one on one type sport, I firmly believe that you are only as good as the team you train with. Here at UPTOP, we have a fun loving group of guys that push each other every class with the hope of making everyone in the school the best they can be. We have the best teacher around (Yanni) and a great location to train. As long as I train BJJ, I will always be a part of UPTOP BJJ.
Dennis OrtegaStudent - Blue Belt
At 5’7, 240lbs I was in desperate need to lose weight. I’m not a huge fan of going to the gym so I needed a fun way to help me lose weight. As a fan of MMA I found Up Top Martial Arts and decided to start training there. Even from my first day there it didn’t seem like work, it was fun and exciting training and I was having a blast. After my first month I lost 20 pounds, and now after 2 years of training I’m down to 180 pounds and actively competing in grappling tournaments. Up Top Martial Arts really changed my life!
Greg MendezStudent - Blue Belt
When i started high school at the age of 15, i had grown tired of training traditional martial arts at my old tae kwon do school and was looking for something new. While searching i had came along Yanni’s school advertising Brazilian Jiu jitsu. At the time was not a fan of the UFC and had never heard of BJJ so i thought i would give it a shot and try a few class. It was not long after i noticed i had a real passion for BJJ.
Getting on the mats and training is the highlight of my day. I always try to make it to as many classes as i can during the week as well as going to the open mats. There are no egos on the mats while training and Yanni’s teaching ability is outstanding. He is respectful, humble, but most importantly patient. Yanni will work with you despite what ever level your jiu jitsu is at.
At 16 years old, i was promoted to blue belt. I am an avid BJJ competitor winning medals in both Grapplers Quest and NAGA. I am in great shape and my athletic performance gets better with everyday i train. I have full intensions of training until i earn my black belt in Brazilian Jiu jitsu and have no doubt with training and help i receive from Yanni that one day i will achieve my dream of competing in a BJJ pro division
Thank you for everything Yanni.
Andy MainProfessional MMA Fighter
I am so fortunate to have had Yanni to learn from when I was beginning my martial arts career and even to this day. H has always had a way of instilling knowledge and making techniques in jiu jitsu easier to understand and make effective in realistic situations. I used to name techniques after him because he would always have such great understanding of the moves he would teach. Yanni is an awesome instructor because of his love of the arts. He is constantly training and learning and is always excited to pass on his knowledge. H has a great desire to help his students become the best they can be. I remember multiple times Yanni talking me through tough matches in grappling tournaments and helping me earn victories on many occasions. I can honestly say that Yanni has been and continues to be a significant part of my success in martial arts.
Professional MMA Fighter
TUF Season 12 Contestant
Dustin WuStudent - Blue Belt
Up Top Martial Arts, headed by Yanni Hronakis, is the embodiment of combat sports and self defense. I’ve always been fascinated with fighting from a young age, far before I even heard about a sport called mixed martial arts. I took to boxing with a few friends at school and decided that it was simply not enough to satisfy my thirst to learn. Then, I fought in a local Newark-based NAGA prior to having any sort of formal training, and was instantly thrilled with the concept of competing. After entering my freshman year of college, I knew that I had limited time to train, and needed to make each second count. Up Top allowed me to realize just how possible it was to reach new limits and achieve my goals in my passion. Yanni truly knows the intricacies of martial arts, ranging from ground fighting to striking – his instruction and knowledge are second to none. Fighters and intrigued minds come from all over just to reach a better grasp of the technique that only Yanni Hronakis can offer. From the casual to the professional, all can find a home in the welcoming gym of Up Top Martial Arts.
Thank you for everything Yanni!
Philip StrohmeyerStudent - Blue Belt
About 3 years ago I was starting to grow tired of working out at my gym. I have always been in shape, but I wanted to be more athletic. I decided to change the way I was exercising. I have always been a fan of the UFC, so I wanted to try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. As soon as I started I quickly realized the passion I had for BJJ.
Looking back at the situation Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was is the vehicle, but Yanni is the engine. Yanni is an amazing instructor and practitioner. He is passionate, encouraging and most importantly patient. No matter your age or skill level you can be sure that Yanni can help you. His knowledge of all things BJJ is awe inspiring.
The 3 days that I get on the mat are the highlight of my week. I enjoy the friendships that I have built with the fellow students. Everyone comes to class ready to learn and we all check our ego’s at the door, which is not easy for a bunch of guy learning to defend themselves. It is like going to bar with your friends, but you are getting in shape and learning some cool moves.
At 31 years old I received my blue belt. I’m in the best shape of my life and my self confidence has sky rocketed. Thank you Yanni, you have a student for life.
Rich Di CarloStudent - Blue Belt
I took some traditional martial arts 15 years ago with a number of different teachers, and was fairly successful, but stopped in my early 20s. Last year at age 41, I thought getting involved in martial arts would give me motivation to stop smoking and get back in shape. I saw an ad and went to check out the school. I was instantly impressed by the friendly, humble, confident instructor and the other people at the school. Under his teaching and coaching I have competed in three different grappling and jiu-jitsu tournament’s within the past 18 months and collected a gold medal and two silvers in the Renzo Gracie Invitational and the Grapplers Quests submission grappling tournament. There are No egos on our mats and Yanni’s natural ability to teach and convey his expert knowledge of jiujitsu and MMA is remarkable. I recently received my promotion to blue belt and I feel I am in the best shape of my life and recommend it to everyone.
Michael CarrafielloStudent - Blue Belt
Both my son and I study under Yanni Hronakis – different disciplines for different reasons. For me, in my early forties, the training in jiu-jitsu and kickboxing has helped me get back in shape. I can roll now with guys half my age. I have lost over 40 pounds. I have started competing and have already taken 3 silver medals and 1 gold. For my 8 year old son, who is now a blue belt in Tae Kwon Do, Yanni has taught him concentration, confidence and discipline. For both of us, the benefits of our training reach well outside the school.
Eric FlemingStudent - Purple Belt
Up Top Martial Arts is by far the best academy for martial arts in Wayne, New Jersey. I have been a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for 4 years now and have achieved the rank of purple belt. With my experience, I can tell you with utmost certainty that Up Top Martial Arts, and Yanni is the place to be if you’re in the area. The instruction is very detailed, the students make great training partners, the classes are intense, and it’s an overall great workout. I would highly recommend the academy to anyone from a novice to someone with years of training – you won’t be disappointed!