Encore Career: Martial Arts


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Dean Galluccio, left, gets ready to break a choke hold.

Once upon a time, retirement meant a time for leisurely game of golf. Now, it is more likely to mean the start of a second career. Just ask Dean Galluccio.

Galluccio has two years to go until he retires from his current job as a detective with the Essex County Sheriff’s Department. But he is already laying the foundation of his next career–teaching martial arts. Early this summer, the Verona resident became a partner in SMASH MMA, a mixed martial arts school in Fairfield. The school teaches boxing, grappling, cardio kickboxing, Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu jitsu, as well as Galluccio’s specialty, Krav Maga.

“It’s really nasty,” says Galluccio with the sincere smile of a basically nice guy (he helps with Verona’s Junior Wrestling program). Krav Maga was developed as street-fighting technique by Jewish resistance groups in Slovakia in the 1930s, and was adopted as the official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces. Now one of the trendiest self-defense classes in America, Krav Maga teaches its students how to steel themselves against an attacker by any and all means. There is none of the stylized pretense of kung fu or karate. In Krav Maga, you get the job done and go home, as unharmed as possible.

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“Everyone has a fight or flight response to an attack,” says Galluccio. “Our drills teach them how to control their fear and to be relentless.” And yes, Galluccio has had occasion to use Krav Maga in his current job, against fugitives who were often substantially larger. “Krav Maga is the best system I’ve ever trained,” he adds.

Galluccio’s current job, his relative youth and the fact that he has been involved with Krav Maga for nine years could give him a leg up on others entering encore careers.  The Center for Aging and Work at Boston College put out a study last year that suggested that better prepared and better funded people do better in their second careers. The national nonprofit Encore is one place to learn about the possibilities in encore careers.

If you want to see what Krav Maga and the other martial arts options are all about, SMASH MMA is having an open house this Saturday, September 29, from 2 to 7 p.m. The facility is located at 66 Clinton Road, Fairfield, and the event includes a one-day special membership rate of $99 for unlimited classes, a savings of $30 off the regular rate. The NJAC Wrestling Club, located in the same facility, will be co-hosting the event. It offers wrestling coaching both in group and private settings to athletes ages 5 to 18.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


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