Fighting Is A Way Of Life
Fighting is often stereotyped as the brutish, thuggish and barbaric but increasingly people from all walks of life. Are disproving such pigeon-holing by stepping into their local gym to take up mixed martial arts.
Doctors, solicitors and students are among those who venture into Manchester’s Fighting Fit Gym. Which hosts classes in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ), Boxing, Judo, Bujinkan and the Keysi Fighting Method.
Head Coach at Fighting Fit, Martyn Cahill, claims there is no such thing as a typical member at his gym. And believes the diversity of MMA is what keeps people coming back for more.
“We get basically every kind of person walking through our doors,” Martyn told MMA Micks.
“Nobody is excluded or made to feel inadequate or intimidated. Many of our members are well-educated professionals but a lot of young people attend as well.
“The diversity of technique is very appealing. Every fighter brings their own particular attributes, both mental and physical. And has a unique approach and interpretation of the various techniques and their application.
“This means that there is almost endless variation in the way a fighter. Can develop and ultimately the way a fight can play out. It’s very hard to get bored of MMA.”
Such variation in the range of combatants means that MMA is not always the survival of the fittest. Something which Martyn believes is also part of the sport’s appeal.
“MMA is a sport where someone that perhaps isn’t the fastest or the strongest can still succeed,” he said.
“Because it’s so technical and diverse it’s open to a wider range of people who wouldn’t make it at the most elite level of other sports.
MMA Athletes tend To Be More Well Rounded
“This isn’t to say that there aren’t amazing athletes participating in MMA. Just that a broader spectrum of attributes is desirable. The MMA athlete tends to be more well-rounded.”
When quizzed on which MMA discipline is most popular Martyn’s answer is instant. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, the centre has athletes of proven pedigree on its roster.
David Onuma, a five-time BJJ world champion and world number one in his weight division. Oversees the gym’s BJJ syllabus and regularly teaches seminars there.
While female class instructor Anna Mayne is a double European Champion at brown belt. As well as a bronze medalist at the 2013 World Championships and Martyn admits having teachers of such a high-calibre is a coup for Fighting Fit.
“I think this level of competitive success attracts members to our BJJ classes,” said Martyn. “It builds confidence in what they are learning and inspires them on their own journey.
“Since we were established in 2008 there has been a huge growth in our membership. And this is down to the fact that we have great coaches and a really friendly environment.”
Despite such growth, Martyn was still quick to stress that people should give the idea of training and competing. Some serious thought before they walk through the doors of an MMA gym.
MMA Is Not for Everyone
“I really don’t think that MMA is for everyone,” he said.
“It’s a hard sport where most of the rewards will be on a personal level rather than a financial one.
“It will certainly teach you things about yourself and build character. But only the most elite practitioners can currently make a living from it.”
One thing the coach would like to see is the aforementioned stereotypes of brutality surrounding MMA dispelled.
“I would like there to be a greater awareness of the sport and for the general public to appreciate that it is a real sport and not some kind of barbaric spectacle.”
As TV coverage and awareness of UFC in the UK continues to grow, it seems that Martyn may yet get his wish.
Image courtesy of Fighting Fit Martial Arts Manchester.