My first orientation to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) was last year when I visited my brother and went to watch my nephew Paul at a training session. It was then that I became a fan – not of the fighting (although the battle with the heavy bag is one that I find absolutely titillating as a woman with ex-husbands – very therapeutic). MMA training increases flexibility, agility, body strength and creates beautiful, tone muscle. What is not to love?
As I said, I would never want to do the actual fighting part, but the rest of it is so appealing. Watching Paul yesterday at his new gym made me want to kick off my heels and participate. Unfortunately, Paul’s group were all males who were already at a level far advanced from my basic boxing skills; plus, my brother frowns on me engaging with groups of sweaty, testosterone laden males in his presence – he is just not flexible like that. So I just watched…and asked questions.
Paul’s new gym is called Rampage Fitness Academy. This gym just opened a few weeks ago and is owned by Quinton Rampage Jackson (regular folks may remember him from The A-Team, while UFC fans know him as the former UFC World Light Heavyweight Champion) and Dave Roberts (a veteran of both the UFC and King of the Cage). According to the facility’s membership director, Mike Mendez, the gym’s focus is more about general fitness for family and kids than producing future UFC champions. I think that is a smart focus – particularly in Orange County (the gym is in Mission Viejo) – the fitness level this type of gym can offer is a desirable outcome for all ages.
It is a small gym, but has three central hubs for activity – a heavy bag/cardio area, a caged area and an open mat area. While we were there I was able to watch activities in all these areas. I first watched wrestling-like activities in the cage…oh my, I got warm just watching all that wrangling about.
I spent the bulk of my time at the gym watching Paul’s class (Paul is in white with red shoes) which was very MMA centric. The trainer of this class is the fellow in the grey - Brady Fink. Brady worked those boys over. They stretched, they contorted their bodies, they practiced fight sequences, they tussled about, they sweat – a lot. As fun as it was to watch all that raw energy and testosterone get channeled into calculated movement (and let me say it was fun on two fronts: 1) as an Aunt of one of the class members; and, 2) as a general observer who can appreciate hot, sweaty wrestling between intense, attractive men – oops, I digress) - it was, in a word - exhausting. I depleted a ton of energy just taking it all in.
It is probably unlikely that I will ever become invested enough in MMA to be a UCF star – okay it is not at all possible that I will be a UCF star no matter what I do; but, I endorse MMA for the fabulous health benefits it provides. You don’t have to be the biggest bad ass on the mat or in the cage to be a winner in this realm. The health benefits MMA offers will make you a winner as it applies to fitness…and if it enables you to better go toe-to-toe with a tiresome ex-husband – well, that’s just bonus points.
Day seven hundred and sixty-five of the new forty – obla di obla da