Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Grapple in the Big Apple

Another month, another nationwide tournament for a Maryland gym to compete in. This time Evolve Academy in Gaithersburg is seeing which of its students will compete in the 2010 Pan Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship this weekend in New York City, according to Evolve's latest e-newsletter.

Evolve has competed in similar events in the past, always as part of Team Lloyd Irvin of Camp Springs, of which Evolve is an affiliate member school. There appears to be eight divisions, according to the competition's website, with each division containing multiple weight classes for people from ages 16 to ages 46 and up.

I have only seen videos on YouTube and other places of grappling tournaments, but it is definitely a far cry from the regular mixed martial arts event. Whereas MMA incorporates many different styles, tournaments such as the No-Gi Championship only seems to focus exclusively on jiu-jitsu and its sister forms.

Personally, I think if they attached a catchy title like "The Grapple in the Big Apple", they could attract even more people. But then I would have to demand compensation and attribution for thinking of that title first.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Third time is the Charm (City)

In the movie business, if a film franchise becomes incredibly profitable it is usually rewarded with a sequel and even sometimes a trilogy. "Star Wars" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" immediately come to mind. I am not a Star Wars fan by any stretch (and have never actually seen any of the Star Wars movies, much to the astonishment of my friends and co-workers). While we will probably never see George Lucas or Gore Verbinski at the helm of a film about mixed martial arts, a trilogy of the MMA kind is finding its way to Maryland in November.

Shogun Fights, Maryland's premier MMA organization headed by John Rallo of Ground Control Baltimore is having its third event November 13 at First Mariner Arena in Baltimore. A card for the event can be found here and features several fighters who have competed at the first two Shogun Fights events.

Just scanning over the card I am looking forward to seeing if local MMA fighter Binky Jones can even up his record as well as seeing Ryan McGowan for his sheer size alone. I'm also looking forward to seeing Dave Daniecki and Gemiyale Adkins compete in their respective bouts, since those two put on a war against each other at the second Shogun Fights event.

I went to the second event and wrote about it and will be doing the same for this event as well. I may even be fortunate enough to cover the event for Mid-Atlantic Combat Sports, a MMA website that covers predominantly the mid-Atlantic region. My friend Erin Morgan wrote about Shogun Fights II for the same website earlier this year.

The second Shogun Fights event drew around 5,000 people to First Mariner Arena but since then I'm confident that awareness of Maryland MMA has increased respectable, so I expect a larger turnout for the third event.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A return of sorts

I had previously written about MMA fighter Wilson Reis visiting Evolve Academy in Gaithersburg to hold seminars for both students and instructors. Well according to a recent e-newsletter from the gym, Reis is making his triumphant return to the gym later next to offer another seminar for instructors and private lessons for students. I heard positive things regarding Reis' last visit so I have no doubt this next trip will be nothing but beneficial for the gym and its students.

Hopefully two of Evolve's students, Jason Morris and Frank Wingate, can bring back some lessons of their own to share after each competed at the Elite Fighting Challenge in Virginia Beach, Va. over the weekend, according to Evolve's latest e-newsletter. Unfortunately both guys came up short but I had the good fortune of having Jason as one of my instructors during one of the "Primal Skills" classes I took at Evolve and I have zero doubt that his loss was not due to proper training and preparation. Jason is diligent and committed to the craft of MMA and I have the utmost confidence his next fight will have a much better outcome.

I also read in Evolve's latest e-newsletter that Master Mike Moses was anonymously nominated to the Black Belt Hall of Fame. Had I known that nominations for that were open I would have gladly attached my name to a nomination for Master Mike. I have interacted with Master Mike on multiple occasions and also had the extreme good fortune to have him as an instructor during one of the "Primal Skills" classes I took. I cannot say enough good things about Master Mike but will just say for now that the nomination is very well-deserved.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Getting in on the act

Someone once asked me, "How many times can you sit on a treadmill?"

While treadmills are typically used for running, not sitting, I understood his point in the context of the conversation we were having. As people become more health conscious and express a greater desire to get in shape, the monotonous prospect of jogging in place on a treadmill day after day does not exactly inspire some people to get off the couch.

I have written at length about the incorporation of mixed martial arts into fitness at places like Evolve Academy in Gaithersburg. But now other Maryland MMA gyms seem to be capitalizing on the growing desire of the public to find new ways to get in shape while also combining with MMA, which is becoming more and more popular and part of the mainstream itself as days go by.

Shaddock MMA in Eldersburg has their "Caveman Workout," which according to their website starts at 6 a.m. (not the most desirable start time in my opinion, unless you're a true fitness freak) and boasts several exercises found in the MMA regimen, including flipping giant tires used on tractor trailers and hitting them with sledgehammers. I have done the latter myself and let me tell you, it is defintely good exercise.

Method MMA in Forest Hill is also offering its own MMA fitness class for the fall season. According to a recent e-newsletter by the gym, the class "will consist of many different conditioning methods that will be useful for grappling competition, MMA competition or weight loss."

The class will also cost only $10 per session, which is quite the bargain.

Other gyms offering actual MMA training, but those are typically reserved for individuals who specifically want to become fighters and compete on the amateur and professional circuit. While I have no doubt MMA training is a fantastic workout, if you would rather just get in shape instead of learning how to pummel someone, it would behoove you to make sure any classes you sign up to take are specifically centered on fitness rather than possible bonebreaking.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Explanation

No, I'm not ripping off sports columnist Jason Whitlock's dramatic exit from the Kansas City Star. I'm instead going to try and explain why I decided to give up on something I had been looking forward to for so long and spent an ample amount of time talking up.

For the longest time I wanted to take part in the "Primal Skills" mixed martial arts fitness class at Evolve Academy in Gaithersburg. I finally had the chance last month and like I wrote about in previous blog posts, it was the best workout experience of my life. It was intense. It was hard. It was fast. It was refreshing and exciting. It was everything I expected it to be.

So why did I decide to stop? It wasn't because I didn't think I could handle it. Truth be told, I was a little overwhelmed after the first session but the instructors and other guys in the class were incredibly encouraging and supportive. They recognized it was my first time doing something that intense and one guy even made a point to give me credit for sticking through it and telling me that most guys in my position would have quit before it was over.

I guess that's what bothers me the most. I feel like I let those guys down. I decided to stop going because simply, I couldn't afford it. Over the past few months my bills have gone up as my expenses increase beyond what I thought they would be. Unfortunately I inherited my father's tendency to try and be stringent with money and decided to cut back on any unnecessary luxuries. I know most people would not consider fitness a luxury but I'm still keeping my regular gym membership, which doesn't cost as much as the Primal Skills class.

I'm hopeful I can return to Evolve and Primal Skills before long. I'm trying to put myself in a position to improve my financial standing and hopefully find a better-paying job so I can reduce my debt and be able pursue opportunities like Primal Skills. It was everything I imagined it would be and the sooner I can get back to it, the better.