Thursday, 17 June 2010

Gym of the Month - Spartan MMA

I thought it was about time I gave some space to the gyms up and down the country so you people can see just how much quality there is at the minute and how the sport is making these gyms evolve every single day. This month I'll be profiling Spartan MMA,, who have their first mma show this Saturday (19th June) in Shrewsbury as they bring us Cage Control 1 - The Beginning: I caught up with Gym co-founder Andy Molyneux for a chat about Spartan MMA.

What was your first involvement in mixed martial arts?

I first got involved with MMA about 9 years ago when I was helping to teach traditional Ju Jitsu at a club in Surrey. I had a small group of friends within the class who didn’t really want to learn the ‘deadly techniques’ that the Sensei said can’t really be tested but would definitely work???

We decided to hire a sports hall at the local leisure centre and it went from there, it was pretty crude and we didn’t know what we were doing, we would watch UFC videos and try and copy the techniques. We would also stand in the centre circle of the basketball court with 16oz gloves on and beat the shit our of each other for 5 minutes!

How did Spartan MMA start?

Spartan MMA started after Dougie Wildman and myself got selected to fight for the ISKA National MMA Team in the European Championships in Rome. We were both training a lot but we needed to do more sparring. We decided to hire a sports hall for a couple of hours 3 times a week. Our plan was to teach for the first hour to pay the hall hire and then pick some of the better ones to spar with for the second hour. We handed out some flyers to try and get people through the doors and were blown away by the response. When we turned up at the sports hall for our first session there were 40 + blokes waiting!

What is your vision for Spartan MMA?

To be a recognised camp that turns out high quality fighters at all levels. We have a huge amateur team with about 20 fighters and a good semi-pro team of about 10 fighters. We have some real prospects and are looking forward to the future!

Who are the coaches and what are their respective backgrounds?

We have 3 coaches at Spartan MMA. Dougie Wildman has a striking background with a black belt in Kickboxing and years of experience in thai boxing. I look after stuff when it goes to the ground, I have a black belt in ju jitsu (traditional) and nine years of competitive submission grappling. Both Doug and I are ISKA Team England fighters and students under Mario Sukata from Wolfslair for BJJ and. We also have Lee Youens who heads up our Junior MMA Program, Lee is a judo brown belt and the ISKA Amateur European Featherweight Champion.

What range of classes do you currently run?

The classes we currently run are: Preliminary Martial Arts Training, this if for 7yrs and under. Junior MMA for 8 – 14yrs, Ladies Only Box-Fit, Cardio Sessions, MMA, striking for mma fundamentals, grappling in mma fundamentals and sparring sessions. We are open 4 days a week to the public and 6 days a week for the fight team leading up to a fight. We also offer our fight team early morning sessions free of charge in preparation for a fight. These sessions are horrible; 5:30am – 7:00am These are just as much about mental strength as physical.

As more and more gyms open up what do you think is unique about the Spartan experience?

Most of the gyms that seem to be popping up here there and everywhere are an existing martial arts school that is jumping on the MMA band wagon. Our club is purely mma, every technique or drill we introduce is evaluated to see if it would be effective in an mma situation. Very soon we will also be one of the most kitted out gyms in the country too. Our New Sponsor BeaverFit is supplying us with a cross fit rig and all the gooidies that go along with it such as ropes, tyres & hoops. They are putting in cage walls that will run the length of our 2000sq ft gym, and a full cage to sit next to our existing boxing ring. We can’t wait!

What is the most gruelling session that you currently run?

We do a session called ‘The Beast’ we normally run it on a Friday evening once a month straight after the cardio session. Our warm up is a deck of cards; hearts = press ups, spades = sit ups, clubs = burpees, diamonds = 4 punches & sprawl. Basically we shuffle the pack, turn the top card over and whatever number is on the card that’s how many we do of that exercise – we do the whole pack! We then have 35 stations of 1 minute excrcises including tyre flips, clap press ups, defending takedowns against the wall & resistance band shoots.

How would you sum up Spartan MMA in one sentence?

A grassroots gym who are starting to make waves in Mixed Martial Arts in the UK.

What are your plans to develop the gym in the future?

To keep our fight team healthy, develop the junior mma programs and to promote mma in the local area.

Is there anyone that you'd like to thank or give a shout out to?

I'd like to give a quick thank you to Beaver fit @ & Fight easy @

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