Instructors from Scranton MMA visited Pittston Area High School on Friday to put on a free self defense clinic for the students.

Sarah Velehoski, a senior at Pittston Area, invited the instructors from Scranton MMA to teach her and her classmates some basic self defense techniques. Sarah is in the Pittston Area chapter of the National Honor Society. Being part of the NHS includes completing a senior project. Her senior project included setting up a self defense demonstration at the high school so she and her friends would be more prepared for college.

“With a bunch of us going away to college, I thought it’d be a good idea to have a basic understanding,” Sarah said.


Frank Alogna is one of the Scranton MMA instructors who attended the demonstration. Frank is one of the head instructors at Scranton MMA, and has eight years of experience in jiu jitsu. After training in the art for so long, he knows the ins and outs of jiu jitsu and how effective it can be for self defense. He has practiced self defense jiu jitsu with top black belts such as Royce Gracie and Phil Migliarese. Training with these two has given him a thorough understanding of jiu jitsu and how important it can be, especially for high school seniors.

“They’re about to go into the real world. They might be in areas they’re not familiar with, and with people they don’t know. It’s always good to know self defense to feel confident and be prepared for any situation,” Frank said.


Jess Papi is another instructor who went to the demonstration at Pittston Area. She has been practicing jiu jitsu since she was sixteen years old. Knowing self defense throughout high school and college has kept her more aware of her surroundings. Jiu jitsu gave her confidence, and she is prepared to handle herself in case something were to happen. Knowing firsthand how important it is for a student to know how to defend herself, Jess was excited to teach the Pittston Area students some basic techniques.

“Going to college can be scary. You hear horror stories about students being mugged late at night, and you can’t help but think that a little bit of self defense knowledge could have helped them,” Jess said. “Fortunately, I haven’t had to use my jiu jitsu on an attacker yet but I know that when or if the day comes, I’ll be ready.”


About twenty students attended the self defense clinic in the gymnasium at Pittston Area High School. Frank and Jess taught the young men and women some basic concepts such as how to stand up properly and how to keep a sturdy base. They then showed the proper defensive techniques to the sucker punch, the shoulder grab, and the headlock. The students did an awesome job picking up on the basics, and they asked some great questions about other techniques as well! Scranton MMA would like to extend a huge thank you to Sarah Velehoski for inviting us to her school and having a great group of students there for our instructors to teach!

If you or anyone you know is interested in learning jiu jitsu for self defense, contact Scranton MMA at 1-800-748-9910 or!