Whilst I was judging at Cage Control I saw a familiar face step into the cage as Ritchie Jones took on Jay Reynolds. I was impressed by what Ritchie showed in that fight as he used some first class grappling skills to get the win. I caught up with him after the show for a bit of a chat about Falcons Martial Arts Academy and their plans for the future.
What was your first involvement with mixed martial arts?
Briefly explain the history of the gym.
The Falcons martial arts gym has been running since 1990, teaching all aspects of martial arts. It is funded by sensei Heath Gait who himself was taught by sensei Ross Iannoccaro, the club was among the first to put on mixed martial arts shows in South Wales dating back nearly 10 years ago now with "Grapple and Strike.” On those shows some of the most famous names in UK mixed martial arts fought, names such as Marc Goddard, Ronnie Mann, Alex Owen, Tim Newman and Joseph Duffy.
The gym now concentrates its efforts on the Welsh Grapple and Strike Amateur League bringing in fighters from all over the UK to fight for the end of year Grapple and Strike amateur title. We have a stable of fighters at the gym ranging from those who train to keep fit and have fun all the way up to those in the professional ranks.
What is your vision for the gym?
To continue moving forward and teaching in a friendly motivated environment where like minded individuals can come together to achieve their goals whatever they may be. Things can only get better and if continue to progress as we have done the last 20 years who knows where we will be in another 20!
Who are the coaches and what are their backgrounds?
|Sensei Heath Gait|
He has fought for Wales 27 times, held various titles in jujutsu, grappling and kickboxing and won the combat sports MMA national championship.
Our assistant coach is professional mma fighter Joseph Duffy, aged only 22 yet with a gleaming mixed martial arts record of 6-0-0 with plenty of experience in the amateur and semi pro levels, many will have seen Joe on the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter filmed in the USA and he recently came back from the world martial arts games in Las Vegas with 4 gold medals in jujutsu and Kumite.
He is the European freestyle kickboxing champion, Grapple and Strike Welsh and National Champion along with all other grappling and stand up credentials.
What range of classes does the gym offer?
The classes have something for everyone, we have stand up and grappling classes which make part of the MMA training along with sport jujutsu and conditioning classes, plus professional fight training is available during the day for those who compete.
There are also separate classes during the evening breaking down individual aspects of the fight game. We also run children’s programs teaching kickboxing and self defence; alongside all this Heath regularly gives time up to help local schools with anti bullying schemes and keep fit programs.
As more and more MMA gyms open up over the coming months what do you feel is unique about the gym?
I don't see Falcons Martial Arts as a gym I see it as a family, there is a real bond between the members and everyone is made to feel welcome. Our extensive track record sets us apart from other gyms, the quality of fighters being produced and fighting at different levels is a credit to the club.
|TUF12 Fighter Joe Duffy|
Saturday sessions are a killer, it’s hard to see what’s fun about pushing a car around the industrial estate along with sprints, rope climbs, weights, rope whips all finished off with some pressure sparring. That said, we come back every time so it’s got to be good for you! (No one has to do that in case I just scared you from coming on a Saturday!)
How would you sum the gym up in a sentence?
My second family, focused, motivated and loyal.
What are the plans for the gym for the future?
To continue as we are and I’d keep your eyes out for our strong amateur team coming through the ranks along with several semi pro fighters looking to make waves in the next 12 months. Remember the name Joseph Duffy as he will be on a tear next year!
Is there anyone that you'd like to thank or give a shout out to?
Heath Gait and Joseph Duffy for their guidance and everyone training at Falcons Martial Arts, especially guys who make it to every session and make the gym what it is. You all know who you are.