Coach Blanda Makes Weight

Blanda celebrates a big win at a recent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition in Baltimore, Maryland. (Credit: Charles Blanda)

Blanda celebrates a big win at a recent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition in Baltimore, Maryland. (Credit: Charles Blanda)

Who’s the new gym coach and substitute everyone’s talking about? Combover haircut. Strong build. His name is Charles Blanda.

 

Born and raised in Deer Park, Long Island, Blanda was always interested in sports. In high school, a sport he played seriously was wrestling. 

 

“When I was a little kid, I wanted to be either a rockstar or a professional wrestler, and there’s only one way to become a professional wrestler,” Blanda said. “So that’s what got me started in it, but then it turned out I was pretty good and kept going with it.”

 

Blanda grew up in Deer Park, Long Island. (Credit: www.tangeroutlet.com)

 

After getting a bachelor’s degree in political science, Blanda found himself working many jobs. He worked in a bus yard, as a custodian, electrician, and in an office space. While working as a custodian, Blanda realized his love for being in a school environment and helping kids. 

 

While working these jobs, Blanda coached children and adults in Jiu-Jitsu, a sport he’s gone all over the country to compete in. Being exposed to school life through his custodial job and coaching in the martial arts academy made his life goals obvious. After putting all the puzzle pieces of his desired occupation together, he knew becoming a high school physical education coach was perfect for him. 

 

Blanda celebrates a big win at a recent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition in Baltimore, Maryland. (Credit: Charles Blanda)

 

“I was already an avid weightlifter, and I believe in people being physically fit. The best thing I could do to benefit the world and benefit society was to help kids be fit and develop healthy habits,” Blanda said.

 

After student-teaching at Great Neck South, Blanda was brought to North. He often substitutes for absent teachers but is found more in the gymnasiums, helping with physical education.

 

Now, one of Blanda’s main priorities is leading North’s wrestling team to a successful season, as he is the new Co-Coach. Aside from the actual wrestling, he wants to instill high confidence and a strong work ethic in all his wrestlers.

 

“Wrestling made me the man I am today, and it taught me not to be afraid to fail,” Blanda said. “When it comes to students, having them reach out of their comfort zone and not letting anything hold them back is something I pinpoint. When these guys are in the room, they are really going to compete.” 

 

Blanda hits a double takedown in a recent Jiu-Jitsu super fight in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Credit: Charles Blanda)

 

Blanda has grown to appreciate the culture and atmosphere of Great Neck, after spending an abundant time at both North and South High School.  While he believes that the student-elicited hype around him is a little crazy at times, he is grateful that the student community has accepted him so fast and likes him so much.

“Maybe it’s because I look young,” Blanda jokes. “I just enjoy coming in every day. It’s a fun time.”

Blanda’s new opportunities at North can renew his passion for wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu, coaching and educating.