home about schedule news contactUs

Video and Media
Toe Hold Club

Welcome to THE TRAINING MAT of Moreno Valley. We offer simple and practical self defense for men, women and children.  Our school provides an effective blend of White Tiger Kenpo and Western Grappling Arts that is both safe and affordable.

Our emphasis on one-on-one instruction is one of the many qualities that makes our school unique to martial art instruction. 

Our highly trained and certified instructors Mark O'Dell, Mark Houston, and Jesse Marez have over 65 years of combined teaching experience and are committed to meeting the goal of every student whether it is to improve physical fitness, coordination or concentration.

On Saturday October 29 THE TRAINING MAT conducted nine advanced belts tests.  To read more click here.



Arm wrestling


The Training Mat would like to acknowledge our students and friends who recently were featured in the Press Enterprise to read the story Click Here

Dog Brothers Video

Staying true to the principal idea that a Dog Brothers Gathering should be an opportunity for personal growth Guro Marc Denny has gone back to his roots and formed the Tribal Gathering. The Tribal Gathering is a closed event focused on bringing together members of the pack to test and learn from each other. The video is a compilation of candidate Dog Brothers in ascension during the May 2011 Tribal. Mark Houston is now a recognized member of the tribe and given the name "Beowulf" Mr. Houston can be seen at the 4:40 mark.

Conditioning / Tough Mudder

The spring installment of our Conditioning Class has come to an end. 24 students pushed, pulled, grunted and sweated through 10 weeks of some of the most challenging training Mr. Houston has ever devised.  Weekly hikes and long distant runs were added as an additional element of training.  To see the pictures click here. A select few went on to participate in an event called the TOUGH MUDDER. The TOUGH MUDDER is a 10+ mile course with 28 obstacles originally designed to test members of elite Special Forces.  The creators of the event describe it “as possibly the toughest event in the world.” TOUGH MUDDER events are conducted throughout the USA and Europe.  To check out their website click here.  This year’s So Cal event took place in Big Bear during the weekend of May 28 & 29, 2011.  Sunday’s event had the additional distinction of a 10 degree wind chill, ice and snow flurries.  To see pictures from the event click here.


Sparring at THE TRAINING MAT plays a very important developmental role for our intermediate and advanced students.  The interaction that takes place gives our students the opportunity to connect their training with its application through controlled contact in a positive learning environment.  In this way our students gain the confidence they need to handle a hostile assault. To see the photos Click Here.


Tribal Gathering

The Dog Brothers Tribal Gathering was held in Hermosa Beach on May 14 & 15, 2011.  Fighters from throughout the USA, Canada and Germany participated.  To read more click here.  To see the pictures click here.

Dogbrother Seminar

On April 9th 2011, staff and students of THE TRAINING MAT participated in an advanced seminar conducted by Guro Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny.  Instruction at THE TRAINING MAT will always be centered on reality based self defense and with that in mind the potential threat weapons pose in street altercations needs to be addressed.  An important aspect of advanced instruction is the defense, and application, of weapons.  Primarily blunt weapons, staffs and fighting sticks, as well as edged weapons.  Weapons are not introduced into a student’s instruction until they have demonstrated the ability to first use and control their body as well as the maturity to understand the seriousness of the subject matter.  We are very thankful to Guro Denny for taking the time to travel to the Inland Empire to work with us.
To see the photos click here.

Grappling X Tournament

On March 20th 2011, students of THE TRAINING MAT participated in the Grappling X tournament in Corona, Ca.  Bryan Brown got silver in the 145 lbs. division by defeating his first opponent with a guillotine and his second opponent with a Technical Verbal Submission.  Mr. Brown’s only loss was to fellow teammate from Stable BJJ in San Jacinto, Roy Piring.  Mr. Piring went on to win the gold in his division.  Troy Castro received the gold in the 185 lbs. division by defeating his first opponent with a Double Wrist Lock (DWL) from side control and won his second match 2 to 0.  Special thanks to Ana Murcia for her support and assistance.

Grappling Update

On January 16, 2011 Coach Jesse Marez became the 3rd person in the history of Scientific Wrestling to be promoted to the position of Assistant Coach.  According to Jake Shannon, the founder of Scientific Wrestling, advancement within Scientific Wrestling requires a deep understanding of the principals and mechanics of Scientific Wrestling as well as the ability to effectively demonstrate their application during “live” training sessions.  In addition to having a working knowledge of the system all Assistant Coaches must also have the ability to effectively communicate this information to next the generation of students.
During two consecutive days of training Coach Marez spent over 20 hours drilling and wrestling under the close supervision of wrestling great Billy Robinson.  Along with fellow Assistant Coach Sam Kressin (Also a BJJ Black Belt) Coach Marez also assisted with demonstrations and instruction for other participants during this event.
Coach Marez and Coach Kressin will be featured in a DVD highlighting Billy Robinson's knowledge, application and variations of the Double Wrist Lock (DWL).  Mr. Marez and Mr. Kressin drilled through 4 tough hours of painful DWL's in order to film this DVD, it includes the same set ups Mr. Robinson taught Kazushi Sakuraba back in the days of Pride.
THE TRAINING MAT is proud to be the Inland Empire representative of the Toe Hold Club and have as one of its main instructors an instructor of Mr. Marez's caliber.

Girl Scouts

As part of our effort to continuely contribute to our community THE TRAINING MAT conducted a seminar on March 23rd 2011 for the local Girls Scout Daisies, troop 965.  To help the troop earn their badge for being Courageous and Strong, one of our senior instructors, Mark O’Dell, spent an hour working with the girls on basic self defense, physical fitness and on understanding the meaning of Courageous and Strong. To see the photos click here.

Conditioning Update

THE TRAINING MAT’s spring installment of Advanced Conditioning has reached the midpoint of its 10 week course. 

Sparring Update

Sparring is currently underway at THE TRAINING MAT.  Sparring is a vital aspect of our martial art instruction and it plays a crucial role in the development of confidence, focus and control.  Contact and interaction between students is designed to match the ability and skill level of the individual to ensure a positive learning environment and to maximize the gains each student receives from their instruction. 
Sparring with our youngest students focuses on their self defense applications along with the striking aspect of sparring.  We focus on confidence and technical development with our bigger kids and with our women we work on aggression, movement and the skills needed to offset the advantage of a bigger and/or stronger opponent.  With the men we focus on developing a well rounded set of skills to give them the versatility needed to adapt to a wide range of assaults. 

Expanded Hours and Classes

As part of our ongoing effort to continually provide our students with unparalleled instruction and excellent service we have again expanded our school hours and increased class times.  For more information click here.

Spring of 2011 Conditioning Class

Our spring installment of the TTM Conditioning Class has begun.  We have 25 brave souls committed to training 3 to 5 days a week for the next 10 weeks.  They will be running, pushing and pulling, grunting and sweating, through the most demanding and comprehensive physical conditioning program that has yet been devised by Mr. Houston.  A small handful will go on to participate in the 10 mile obstacle course called THE TOUGH MUDDER
For more information on THE TOUGH MUDDER click here
To see how everyone does check back soon.

Dogbrothers Gathering of the Pack September 2010

The following video is a compilation of highlights from the September 2010 Gathering of the Pack, courtesy of DBMA.  The Gathering of the Pack is an advanced form of training designed to simulate the reality of actual combat in a way that tests the participant’s ability to think, transition and function while in the adrenal state.  The extreme nature of this event is not for everyone and students of THE TRAINING MAT are not required to participate.  The principal idea behind this event is best stated by Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny during the first 30 seconds of the video. 

Mark “Fu Dog” O’Dell, Co-Founder of THE TRAINING MAT and member of the Dog Brothers, can be glimpsed at the 33 sec mark and at 3:02. A larger portion of one of his fights is at the 1:19 mark.  Mark “C-Beowulf” Houston, also a Co-Founder of THE TRAINING MAT and member of DBMA, was on hand as time keeper and can be seen in the background throughout the clip. To read more click here. To see the photos click here.


Jeremiah Houston Graduation


What a man does during turbulent times says more about his character than anything that can be said with words. Everyone associated with our family or THE TRAINING MAT knows how proud we are of our younger brother and we would like to recognize him for his dedication and hard work. On August 8, 2010, Jeremiah Houston graduated from basic training in the Air Force. He is currently going through advanced training and selection with a hard road still ahead of him. For those interested in joining us in writing campaign to keep his spirits up please do not hesitate to contact us at the school.


Kick Boxing

Mark Houston was recently awarded the Green Belt in Thai Kickboxing by Lorenzo "Coach" Rodriguez and one of his Black Belts "Smokin" Joe Sarkissian. Thai Kickboxing is a unique fighting form pioneered by Mr. Rodriguez over his extensive fighting and training career.

Dog Brother Group Leaders

On April 13, 2010 Mark O'Dell and Mark Houston became Group Leaders in the Dog Brothers organization. To learn more about the Dog Brothers click here. To see the post on the Dog Brothers forum Click Here

Update: Mr O'Dell and Mr Houston are now candidate Dogbrothers!



Catch-As-Catch-Can in the latest issue of Fight!

Catch Wrestling has been featured in numerous publications over the years. The most recent articles can be found in 'Real Fighter Magazine' (#17), 'Total MMA' (ECW Press), 'Sports Graphic Number','Weekly Gong' (Japan), and 'Fight!' magazine.
To read the article in 'Fight!' magazine Click Here.

Our new commercial is up and running.

Assistant Instructors



THE TRAINING MAT is proud to announce the induction of 5 new Assistant Instructors.  To learn more click here.


Joe Sarkissian

Welcome Joe Sarkissian

We would like to publicly welcome "Smokin" Joe Sarkissian to THE TRAINING MAT instructor staff. His wealth of knowledge combined with his intense and thorough teaching style will be a great addition and asset to our school. His fighting experience spans over 13 years of competitive Kickboxing along with playing an instrumental role in the development of countless champions. With the addition of Mr. Sarkissian, THE TRAINING MAT continues along its path of developing and refining a complete martial art. To see Mr. Sarkissian's profile Click Here.

To learn more click here.

Awards Demo



Video Games and Martial Arts

Matt FastLong time friend and former instructor Matt Fast was recently featured in an article by the Press Enterprise. Mr. Fast is using his masters degree in Computer Science and years of experience to develop a Simulation and Gaming program for RCC. The support and encouragement Mr. Fast has shown us over the years and in particular with the development and maintenance of this web site has been invaluable. To read the whole article click here.

MinderThe Training Mat in Soft Ball

Recently Brittany Minder was interviewed by the Stanford newspaper and was asked how a college soft ball catcher is known for her boxing. To read the whole article click here.