("We train every aspect of MMA at this school — striking, grappling, conditioning, *and* pass coverage." Photo courtesy of sifuchowwingchun.com.)
By CagePotato contributor Chris Colemon
A new year is upon us, and for many of you disgusting fat bodies that means you’ve resolved to get into shape. For those who haven’t already thrown in the towel, you’ll want to make sure that your workouts are enjoyable, otherwise you won’t stick with it for the long haul. If you’ve ever beared witness to the fitness of the modern warrior, you may have noticed some pretty yoked dudes. Thanks to the variety of disciplines involved, MMA training provides an intense, well rounded workout.
The good news for you is that MMA gyms are popping up in every city, and whether you’re hoping to make a title run or simply looking to drop a few pounds, they’ve got a pair of board shorts in just your size. But before you sign up, be forewarned that not everyone you meet will be as likeable as your GSPs and your Jon Joneses. Here’s a quick rundown of who you may be sharing snorkels with at the gym. If you find yourself thinking, “There’s no one at my gym like that,” you may want to look again.
The Armchair Blackbelt: You learned all you needed to know about this guy when you saw him leaning on his bike in the parking lot. Today may be his first day at the gym, but he was watching the UFC before Brock was even champ, so do yourself a favor and go teach someone else how to slap on an armbar. He’ll play along and do these silly little drills for now, but after today’s performance he’s pretty sure the coach is going to want to move him out of the beginner’s class. He’s a ball of coiled, nervous energy, and the second he hits the mat he’s going for a gogoplata. Down the road he’ll make guest appearances at the gym, if only to tell you how he would have smashed his last opponent were it not for that nagging knee/back/skull injury that’s plagued him since he joined the team. Even when he doesn’t actually train, he’ll ask you to snag a picture of him fist-posing cageside so he can update his Facebook.
The Sadist: He burned his neighbor’s cat when he was nine and he’s been chasing that same high ever since; he’d all but given up when he stepped foot into an MMA gym for the first time and totally crippled someone. His inner beast has no leash, and the slightest suggestion that he isn’t the alpha male at the gym will set it loose. Training jiu jitsu? He’d sooner elbow you in the face than tap. Accidently butt heads while sparring? Here comes the body slam. There is no half-speed, there is no practicing technique. His only saving grace is that he’s found an outlet for his aggression. Without MMA, he’d be forced to unleash his wrath upon the unsuspecting public.
The Hot Chick: She’s a raven haired, impossibly-built goddess and she actually laughs when you make a Yamma joke. She’s God’s gift to mankind, but make no mistake, gentlemen — she’s a threat to your very existence. If you thought your girlfriend was mad when she found that photo in your sock drawer, just imagine what she’ll say when she sees your new sparring partner. It’s well established that no one wants to lose in front of a hot chick, so you can look forward to your teammates going for broke whenever she’s around. The last but most important conflict you’ll face will come from within. You’ve spent the last few years defending your sport from your asshole friends, swearing that there’s nothing even slightly sexual about jiu jitsu; now you’re riddled with doubt as you try to suppress the Dongbar swelling in your gi every time you roll with her.
The Express Train: In the few days he’s spent at the gym he’s quickly become one of its hardest workers. He doesn’t know an arm triangle from a side check kick, but he’s willing to train every day as if his very life depends on it, and in a lot of ways it does. That’s because he’s already booked his first fight for next month. Sure, he may still be a little rough around the edges a few weeks from now, but he just wants to get out there and bang. Hey, do you know anyone at RVCA? He’s hoping to get a couple thou for his shorts. He knows he has to pay his dues, but he’s kind of hoping Joe Silva makes it out to the Tallahassee Iguana Bar just the same.
The Self-Proclaimed Assistant Coach: He was a charter member at the gym, and he’s in pretty tight with the coach. Sure, he’s not the worst guy there, but when push comes to shove he can’t possibly back up all that tough talk. Rather than climbing into the cage and putting his skills to the test, he’d rather stroll around the gym pointing out the slightest imperfections in everyone else’s technique. You’d actually appreciate his insight and advice if not for the smug attitude with which it’s conveyed.
The Lost Cause: Ahhh time and pressure, you hope they give you diamonds but you end up with fecaloma. No matter how much time our hero spends in the gym, he just can’t put it all together. He’s the only 17th degree white belt in history, because the BJJ coach won’t promote him unless he’s really earned it. Despite countless 1-on-1′s with the boxing trainer, his head movement still looks like that interpretive dance you saw on the BBC. Nonetheless, everyone wants to see him succeed and they’re willing to give him every opportunity in the world to improve. In the meantime, he makes for one hell of a grappling dummy.
The One & Done: The constant nagging from his girlfriend to find a hobby had nearly consumed him when he opened that ValPak envelope and saw the “One Free Month” coupon to his local mma gym. For him it seemed like a great way to stay active; for her yet another opportunity to laugh at his failure. He showed up to the gym wearing pajama pants and a frat tee shirt from ‘99 — no mouthpiece, no cup, no clue. Halfway through the warm ups he started to regret that second helping of lasagna at lunch. He promises he’ll come back next week when the bruises heal from the savage beating he took. You will never, ever see this person again.