I have be noticing or really not noticing The American Kickboxing Academy being talked about as an elite gym and AKA and Javier Mendez should have won gym and coach of the year. Many people will want to defend Greg Jackson and his camp and think that I am attacking him. I hold Greg Jackson in very high regard and belive that he is one of the best coaches in the sport. In 2010 Javier Mendez and AKA had a better year than Greg Jackson. Javier Mendez is a hands on coach that trains a small but very close knit and elite team and in the year of 2010 he and his camp proved to be the best team and coach in MMA.
First I will break down the gym and then I will evaluate Javier Mendez and why he holds the keys to AKA's success. The numbers that the gym has put up this year speak for them-self; Jon Fitch was promised a title shot, Josh Koscheck fought for the title and won Fight of the Night Honors, Mike Swick fought for a number contender shot,(these are all Welterweights) and Cain Velasquez fought and won the title in a stunning fashion and won two Knockout of the Night Honors. As well we say Phil Davis pull off the "Mr. Wonderful Kimura" winning him Submission of the Night, further more Hershal Walker is training with AKA(I just find this funny). This is a true MMA gym, a gym that teaches all aspects of the game. It was founded by a kick-boxer who has wrestlers as fighters and elite coaches from Mauy Thai, Boxing, Tae Kwon Do, and BJJ. This is a gym that has given wrestlers standup games. The recent Blood Elbow article that named Cain the fighter of the year said that he used to have "pillow hands", AKA has changed that to a man that has Brock Lesnar Knockout hands. Koscheck has dramatically improved his striking game and Fitch has continued to dominate every competitor that is put in front of him. From top to bottom AKA is producing some of the biggest names and talents in the sport, (need I remind you about Phil Davis).
I will now address the man behind it all Javier Mendez. Javier Mendez proved himself in the Kickboxing world and is now proving that he is an elite coach. Many coaches have large gyms and multiple facilities so they do not get to coach there fighters one on one all the time and even be with them though an entire camp, or they themselves are training for a fight.(you guys know who I am talking about) Javier Mendez owns a relatively small gym where he gets one on one time with all of his fighters and takes an active role in their training. He is still young enough that his fighters are his close friends and he is not seen as an old wobbly coach. He is an top coach that should have won Coach of the Year and Gym of the Year Awards.
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