After being on this site (lurking and finally commenting), I’ve gotten to know some of you guys and have had some awesome conversations. I have read some fanposts discussing favorite music, favorite fighters, what base we like to have our fighters come from, and many others that gave me great insight into the minds of you ‘fukers. So now I would like to know, how many out there do MMA training?
I know a lot are true fans regardless of whether or not they have trained or competed, but I was just curious as to who has tried their hand at some of the arts, and what got you involved in it? I myself was a young’un that always loved karate and martial arts. Growing up money was tight and unfortunately I did not get too many opportunities to pursue my love of martial arts. My uncle came from a Aikido background, so that always fascinated me; he would show me different joint locks and I loved it. From my fascination with Aikido, I began showing an interest in Hapkido as well, but that quickly went away when a good friend re-introduced me to the UFC again.
We began watching the UFC events from 2004 onwards, and he began explaining to me everything that I had missed since I saw my last UFC event, which was probably UFC 7. I was hooked again, and went out and bought some hand wraps and focus mitts. He showed me how to properly throw my jab, cross, uppercut, and hooks; he would later show me some wrasslin’ moves that he had picked up in high school. Like a new drug, my addiction to learning more was growing daily. I began studying fights, learning how to do armbars, triangles, guillotines, omoplatas, americanas, kimuras…the basics. I finally grew enough nerve to step into a gym called the NEST in Glendale,AZ in 2006, which was run by Joe Riggs and Edwin Dewees. Not a bad experience, but the gym folded quickly, and in 2007 I was deployed off to Iraq.
While serving overseas, when I wasn’t working, I would watch DVD’s that I brought from home, and continued to work my hands with my battle buddies in our room, and at the MWR. At the MWR, we also had access to some mats so we could grapple, and learn the moves displayed to us from youtube and the countless books that I would buy online. There I learned quite a bit from other grapplers and other boxers, and was very confident in my growth from when I first left home.
I finally came back to the states in July of 2008, and a month or two later, I began training at the incredible MMA Lab in Glendale, AZ. There I was able to learn from the amazing John Crouch, and even was fortunate enough to roll and talk to Mr. Ben Henderson himself. The Muay Thai coach there had a cool persona to him, and made the classes very enjoyable. Now I’m in Portland and have not found a decent MMA gym close to me, but I still enjoy boxing to stay sharp and in shape. So there’s a little bit about of background about myself and MMA, I would love to hear from you guys! Where do you train? And what really got you into it?