PLATTSBURGH - Frank Palumbo first took up wrestling 18 years ago and his passion for martial arts has only expanded from there.
"I started wrestling in seventh grade, pretty much because my older brother did," Palumbo explained. "I got into that and found out I was pretty good at it and I liked it a lot. So, I just did as much as I could."
Continuing to wrestle through high school and college, Palumbo is a three-time NCAA All American and a National Champion. He also received the Male Athlete of the Year in 2001 at the State University of New York at Brockport.
Now Palumbo has built up his repertoire to become a Mixed Martial Arts fighter - which brings in a variety of techniques from combative sports such as boxing, wrestling, judo, kickboxing and more.
To best explain the sport of MMA, Palumbo quoted the philosophy of Bruce Lee, stating, "Don't choose to do one thing, do all things."
After working at the City of Plattsburgh Recreation Department, he became familiar with a local group known as Plattsburgh Combat Sports, who practice MMA.
"They've been around for I think about two years now," he said. "Pretty much just a group of friends that work out here at the gym and get together to do grappling, Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, martial arts."
To utilize his skills, Palumbo, along with his brother-in-law and cornerman, Tim Durney, head to Vermont to compete. The next competition - Burlington Brawl - will be this Saturday, July 24.
To prepare, Palumbo said he trains both physically and mentally.
"Besides diet, we exercise, we do a lot of weight lifting and try and do as much sport-specific exercise as possible," he explained. "Pushups for punching, a lot of wrestling and a lot of lifting."
To mentally prepare, Palumbo said a lot of it actually comes from the physical training.
"The more physically prepared I know I am, the better I feel about it," he explained.
However, Palumbo said he also does a lot of visualization.
"[I] try to imagine myself in as many situations as I can in my mind, before it actually happens," he said.
Currently, Palumbo competes in states such as Vermont and Rhode Island, because MMA is not sanctioned in New York.
"We're trying to change that," he explained. "We're writing letters to senators and congressmen, just trying to persuade them that it's a good thing, it's not a barbaric thing."
If interested in learning more about MMA with the Plattsburgh Combat Sports group, Durney said those interested just need to have a membership to the city gym. The group can be found on Facebook by searching "Plattsburgh Combat Sports."