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By opting into the web form above you are providing consent for Black Label Martial Arts to send you periodic text messages. Standard rates may apply. You can reply HELP at anytime or learn more. You may opt-out anytime by replying STOP.
Daniel Mcfann reviewed Black Label Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

If your looking for a professional, knowledgeable, clean, focused place for you or your child to learn bjj then I couldn't recommend this place more. I have two children who learn here. The environment is that of any top level gym and the staff is knowledgeable and focused on you or your child learning not only a martial art but lessons they can carry everyday to make them stronger and better people

Ellie Rivers reviewed Black Label Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

It can be pretty intimidating when you first walk in, but you are instantly greeted by friendly faces from both coaches and other students. I'm fairly new to BJJ and thought for sure in a big gym like Black Label Martial Arts I would fade into the background. That couldn't be further from the truth! Malachy takes the time to get to know all of his students and offers individualized instruction during classes. He's also kind of funny sometimes! Absolutely love this gym! Can't imagine training anywhere else!

David Diaz reviewed Black Label Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

Absolutely amazing place! They welcomed my Daughter with open arms!definitely going to evaluate her to the next level. Highly recommend!!!!

Eric York reviewed Black Label Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

I just started training here about two or three months ago. I travel full-time and have trained BJJ all over the world. There are a hand-full of places on the planet that make you feel like a member of the family from the moment you walk in. Black Label Martial Arts is one of them! The BJJ here is top-notch and they have training 6 days a week, multiple classes. They have a great group of folks there, especially the owners Malachy and Sarah! I wouldn't hesitate to refer anyone to train here! Oss!

Camden Dobbs Bowman reviewed Black Label Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

My first experience was a very good one.. everyone was very nice and helpful to me. I have zero experience in this art form. A warm but disciplined environment and very professional. I am excited about continuing to train here.. I will be back bet on that!

Justin Pohl reviewed Black Label Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

After recently moving to the Charleston area, I tried out a few gyms liking for the best fit. Black Label Martial Arts offered exactly what I was looking for with a great schedule with multiple class times! Everyone was extremely welcoming and the teaching is top notch! Highly recommend!

Noelle Guerry reviewed Black Label Martial Arts
5
via Facebook

My oldest son just started his boxing journey and I am thrilled we chose Black Label Martial Arts. Coach Isaac is amazing and everyone in the classes are super supportive. I can’t wait to see the growth in my son! If you’re looking for quality classes, you won’t be disappointed!

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Citadel couple takes on Charleston Boxing

After graduating from Citadel, couple takes on new challenge together in boxing ring

Rico Gabriel couldn’t stop shaking as he stepped through the ropes and into the boxing ring.

Neither could his girlfriend, Mary Ann Koller, as she did the same.

Gabriel and Koller, both Citadel graduates, have been sparring for months at Black Label Martial Arts in Charleston. But at a Golden Gloves boxing tournament in Greer last month, both made their debuts in an official amateur boxing event.

Both fighters rose to the challenge, said Isaac Betancourt-Sabillon, their coach at Black Label. Gabriel beat his opponent in the 141-pound division. His victory in the state tournament, which is sanctioned by USA Boxing, earned him a bid to the regionals next month in Knoxville.

Koller placed second in the state in the 132-pound weight class.

“You almost expect a loss in your first-ever match, but both of them really put on good performances and showed what they were made of,” said Betancourt-Sabillon.

Those first matches were a long time coming for the couple, who started dating in 2015 while students at The Citadel. Gabriel graduated in 2016, and Koller graduated a year later.

Their commitment to exercise and dieting has been huge for Koller, who hasn’t always been into athletics. She said the military school, in so many ways, prepared her for the boxing ring.

Charleston Boxing

Citadel graduates Mary Ann Koller (left) and Rico Gabriel (center) prepare for training with Coach and owner Malachy Friedman at the Black Label Boxing gym in West Ashley on Monday. Wade Spees/Staff

“It’s about knowing how to push your body through pain,” she said. “It’s so easy to give up and go get pizza. But when you’re committed and you have someone you can lean on, it really makes a difference.”

Their connection through boxing has had a similar impact on Gabriel. He first put on the gloves in May of last year, and Koller did the same about a month later when she moved back to Charleston.

Roughly 10 months later, Betancourt-Sabillon has seen growth in both of their games.

That starts with their listening skills, he said. A lot of newcomers want to immediately step in the ring and hit something. But these students really try to understand the sport, he said.

“We do things differently here,” said Betancourt-Sabillon, who has trained in New York facilities where Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis used to spar. “We’re hyper-focused on technique and process. Rico and Mary Ann have really bought into our system.”

After a recent successful boxing competition, Citadel graduates Rico Gabriel (right) and and Mary Ann Koller continue to train at the Black Label gym in West Ashley. Gabriel was sparing with coach Isaac Betancourt (left) and Koller was getting advice from gym owner Malachy Friedman on Monday, March 18, 2019. Wade Spees/Staff

With their first official fights in the rear view, Gabriel and Koller have stayed active in their training. Koller’s next fight will likely have to wait until later this year when she returns from Missouri, where she’ll be in military police training.

Until then, she’s adamant about keeping up with her training. She eventually wants to qualify for the U.S. Army boxing team and use it as a path to the Olympics.

“I used to think boxing had to start when you’re younger,” she said. “But I’m seeing that women are getting into it at different ages, so that’s really encouraging.”

Gabriel had a bout earlier this month at Al “Hollywood” Meggett’s event with the Charleston Boxing Club. He wants to get in as much experience and training as possible ahead of the regional on April 4.

“I’m really happy with the results for both of us,” Gabriel said. “Winning is the goal, but it’s also about seeing how far you’ve come and realizing your work is paying off.”

 

Post and Courier Charleston