MMA Fans and Day Dreamers, Listen Up

I watched an incredible card in UFC 58 as Rich Franklin fought through a broken left hand, hairline fracture in his foot, stressed tendons and lots of lumps to absolutely dominate a dangerous contender in Montreal’s David Loiseau. I love warrior sports. Whether it’s wrestling, fencing, martial arts, kickboxing. I just dig the determination it takes to be a champion in these sports. Also, it plays to my own athletic background. Back to my point… when I watch the UFC I get really pumped and I want to go do some Jiu-Jitsu or something.

About three months ago I checked out Ed Clay’s Nashville Mixed Martial Arts Academy at 100 Oaks for a free Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class . From the moment I entered I knew this place wasn’t about selling a dream. The locker room was a mess. Towels and bags all over the place. It was obviously the least important part of the facility (they may have improved it, it was three months ago). Moving right along… I stepped on the mat and was greeted by the coach for the midday session, Shawn Hammonds.

Now, if you are used to watching MMA you may not know who Shawn is. But if you follow BJJ, you know that Shawn is no joke. He’s a Brown Belt in BJJ (as is Ed) and that is not some belt that gets handed out to everyone who hangs out in the dojo for a year. I remember circling the mat and running through the drills and immediately he took the time to help me get my form correct. He noticed I had experience as a wrestler when it was time to shoot double legs. He helped me to distinguish which aspects of wrestling would help me and hurt me in BJJ. And he showed me how to choke someone out.

I left that class realizing that Nashville was REALLY lucky to have these guys in town. They are teaching true BJJ, and their lineage is traceable to the Gracie family, where it all started. Furthermore, both Ed and Shawn are learning BJJ these days from Master Lloyd Irvin, who is a highly decorated BJJ Black Belt.

I haven’t been back because I didn’t want to waste my time or theirs. But I think I will be back sooner rather than later. It’s a committment, but the potential to do what Rich Franklin did when he went from a high school teacher to UFC champion of the world in 4 years at 31 years old means there is an opportunity for many of us hopefuls here in Nashville to test themselves.

1 Comment so far

  1. Chris Wage (unregistered) on March 8th, 2006 @ 1:01 am

    I went to a class with some of the guys that go to MMA now back when they just had some little place over on Charlotte.

    They definitely weren’t foolin around.

    I went home that night sore with pain in muscles I never knew existed..



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