Saturday, July 16, 2011

Making his mark

One of the good things about the continued rise of mixed martial arts in Maryland is the increased awareness of the talent that's present here in the state. While better-known MMA camps nationwide like Greg Jackson in New Mexico or American Kickboxing Academy in California churn out some of the best the sport has ever seen, Maryland is coming into its own as a breeding ground for exciting young fighters eager to make their mark in the sport.

One of those guys is Jacob Kirwan, who trains out of Clinch Academy in Frederick. I have seen Jacob compete at previous events and if memory serves, he has great stand-up and is always eager to finish fights. Jacob was recently profiled in the local Frederick newspaper (catchy headline by the way; I wish I was that creative) and it's interesting to read in the article that he actually went to Jackson's camp in New Mexico and trained with some of the most exciting fighters out there, including Melvin Guillard, Donald Cerrone and Leonard Garcia from the UFC.

It was also interesting to read that if he wins his next fight he could receive a call-up to UFC, which would be great not only for himself but for MMA in Maryland overall. While trainers like Lloyd Irvin, who has worked with fighters like UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz and former UFC fighter Brandon Vera, base their operations in Maryland, the state appears to still be somewhat of a mystery in terms of its visibility in turning out competitive fighters. But hopefully through the efforts of people like Irvin and Jacob, that perception will soon change.

Jacob's fight that might land him in the UFC is actually schedule to take place tonight in Pennsylvania, with more information available here and here.

I will be sure to follow-up on the event and find out how Jacob fared, and in the meantime you can follow his blog here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shedding those pounds for summer

We're in the midst of beach season so it's a safe bet that many people (myself included) have been working out as much as possible in order to not horrify the masses when they take their shirt off once they step on the sand.

There are many forms of exercise, obviously. Some focus purely on cardio. Some focus entirely on lifting weights and building muscle. Some do a mix of both, while others focus are more unconventional methods of working out. Zumba is a craze that has overtaken the country recently. Basically you move or dance nonstop for an hour to loud Latin music while being directed by someone wearing a giant headset with a microphone that makes it look like they have a giant black mole growing out of their cheek.

But as I have pointed out in the past, mixed martial arts is also becoming a popular form of exercise as well. Those who read these blog regularly know that I have dabbled in such endeavors previously at Evolve Academy in Gaithersburg. And I am hopeful to return to it before too long. But Evolve is not alone in offering MMA as a form of exercise for those who want to get in shape but find walking on a treadmill or lifting 10-pound dumbbells as exciting as public television on a Saturday afternoon (seriously, watch it sometime. It's mind-numbingly boring).

Ground Control Baltimore is another gym that offers MMA to the masses as a way to work out, joining other gyms like Shaddock MMA in Eldersburg. Ground Control's efforts drew the attention of The Baltimore Sun, which wrote an article on the gym offering MMA training for fitness purposes.

People who go to Ground Control to train MMA but don't want to become fighters themselves still have the opportunity to train with local fighters, including Ryan Mackin, who has competed at the bi-annual Shogun Fights in Baltimore.

So if your annual trip to the beach is coming up and you still have that spare tire that you didn't realize you were cultivating while sitting at your desk eating donuts (which I have been known to do on occasion, so I am not criticizing), and you don't want to share space with meatheads who could probably create a mosaic on their backs due to the startling amount of bacne-inducing steroids they probably inject daily, MMA may be the ticket. It's a terrible cliché, but it's a hell of a workout.

Monday, July 4, 2011

To be the best, learn from the best

The first family of mixed martial arts seems to enjoy coming to Maryland. Members of the Gracie family have met with students from multiple gyms in Maryland over the last year or so and recently made yet another stop in our state.

Royler Gracie met with students from Garfield BJJ in Arnold and held a self-defense seminar. A full recap of the seminar can be found here.

At least one other member of the Gracie family, Ryron, has visited Maryland gyms before. If a Mount Rushmore of MMA was made, the Gracies would adorn every spot. But it remains to be seen if a mountain range in America could accommodate all the different members of the family. Maybe the Rocky Mountains or the Appalachians.