Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Training to overcome bullying

Unfortunately bullying has become pervasive in society. And as an added obstacle, it has evolved from simple threats to hand over your lunch money to using text messages and Facebook to engage in "cyberbullying", which makes bullying in general much more difficult to defeat.

But Top Flight MMA in Aberdeen is doing its part to help educate young people to overcome bullying. The gym has sent out several e-newsletters recently promoting its "Bully Buster Seminar", which they say will help kids "deal with and conquer peer pressure and bullies!"

But they're also not teaching kids how to put a bully in a rear-naked choke or how to knock them out with a quick punch to the jaw. Top Flight goes out of its way to emphasize in the e-newsletter that the program teaches kids to "effectively avoid trouble, diffuse a situation without fighting, and how to protect themselves when faced with eminent [sic] danger."

That last part sounds familiar, since when I talked to Master Mike Moses from Evolve Academy in Gaithersburg, he talked about a similar program he runs where kids learn to diffuse situations. While I am a firm believer in being justified in defending one's self when faced with a physical threat, I also agree with always trying to resolve the situation peacefully first. Mixed martial arts is all about discipline and even if kids aren't learning actual MMA, they should still be learning the same values. Top Flight also makes it fun by telling kids they will teach them a "Jedi Mind Trick", though I feel like most young people know little about Star Wars, much to the chagrin of some.

But if the kids want to be the next Randy Couture or Brock Lesnar when they're older, Top Flight can accommodate that too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bringing the belt back home

He's not quite the "Huntington Beach Bad Boy", but unlike Tito Ortiz, Ravon Dixon can call himself a titleholder.

The "Charm City Bad Boy" won the 155-pound title from Jason Harmon at the Onslaught Fights show earlier this month in Virginia. It's nice to see Harmon display enough class and sportsmanship to pose for a photo with the man who took his title, but I can't get over that shiner Harmon is sporting. Ouch.

In unrelated news, my experience in the Primal Skills mixed martial arts class at Evolve Academy in Gaithersburg continues. I did a lot of the same drills in my second class as my first one but there were also some new drills introduced, and I had the privilege of Master Mike Moses, the gym's owner, conduct my class.

Unfortunately my coordination is still not where I want it to be; though a better statement might be that I have no coordination to speak of. I'm struggling when shooting in for a takedown attempt, as my brain and the rest of my body just don't seem to be on the same page when it comes to that.

I am keeping in mind that this is only my second real time even attempting any MMA exercises, whereas the other people in the class have probably been doing it for much longer. Fortunately the other students and instructors and Master Mike have been nothing but encouraging so far, which definitely helps. But I'm slowly getting more confident in my strikes, knees and leg kicks, so I guess it's important to focus on the things I do well while continuing to improve on other things.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Taking the plunge

Stop me if you've heard this before: I'm going to take a mixed martial arts fitness class.

I know I've talked about that at length for the last few months. But today, I finally put my money where my mouth is and did it. Evolve Academy in Gaithersburg has a class, Primal Skills, which owner Mike Moses described as "fitness with an attitude" in a feature article I wrote about MMA in Maryland as part of my full-time job.

I have long been interested in taking the class but each time I had decided I was finally going to do it, something came up that forced me to take a step back and reassess (timing, cost, etc.). But I finally decided that it was time to put up or shut up and that if I was truly passionate about doing this and fully committed to getting in better shape, this was going to be a great help in accomplishing that.

I can say without hesitation that I have never had a more intense workout in my life. For one hour me and three other guys rotated in during a variety of MMA-inspired drills, including combinations of punches, kicks and knees. I swung a sledgehammer into a giant truck tire, swung a medicine ball tied to a rope back and forth and worked my body in ways I hadn't done before.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the workout. I was drenched in sweat when it was over and one guy in the class who realized it was my first day told me that a lot of people in my position would have quit before it was over and gave me credit for seeing it through to the end, which really made me feel good.

I'm hopeful I can take advantage of the class on all three days that it is offered. This was definitely the workout I envisioned in a sport that I'm still learning my way around but so far enjoy on a pretty big scale.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bash at the Beach

No, I'm not going to regale you with tales of the old WCW pay-per-views of yore, including the 1996 Bash at Beach where Hulk Hogan "went heel" and aligned himself with the nWo, disillusioning and devastating an entire generation of Hulkamaniacs in the process.

I'm talking about the Cage Time 3 event in Ocean City at the end of July. I attended the first Cage Time event in April near Baltimore. I enjoyed the event and actually covered it for the same website as the link above, with help from the very lovely and talented Erin Morgan.

According to the review above some Cage Time veterans competed at this event, including Steven Baker. I like the writer's, Gavin Maleson, line of "Rashad Evans Impersonation award" to describe one of the other competitors at the event. Reading that line made me realize that I haven't seen any local MMA fighter as of yet who reminds me, physically or stylistically, of any particular UFC fighter. But then again I have only been to two MMA events in Maryland.

Maleson also mentions some drawbacks he experienced at the event, namely a malfunctioning PA system and less than adequate seating in some areas. Cage Time still apppears to be a MMA brand finding its way, not yet on the level as the biggest MMA brand in Maryland right now, Shogun Fights.

Nevertheless, it's good to see MMA brands in Maryland continue to grow. While Cage Time just held its third event, Shogun Fights 3 will be at First Mariner Arena in Baltimore in November.