People have a misconception about what a MMA gym should and shouldn’t be. In the last 10 or so years the mega MMA gyms have become the craze. If you’ve ever been to these mega gyms there is often a lot of wasted space. A lot of the stations serve no purpose or are hardly used at all.
When starting a gym, use every square inch. Nothing is more important then mat space. Pad everything you can; the floors and the walls. A cage is nice but you’ll hardly ever use it and when you do you can only get a couple of guys in there training at any given time. SSF uses the walls and wall panels all the time. There is no unused space.
People think bigger is better but that’s hardly ever true. What is important is how you utilize your space. SSF has produced numerous high level fighters and has done so in a building that is roughly 4000 sq. ft.; averaging 20-30 guys on the mats at any given time. It’s not the space or how fancy the gym is that makes champions. It’s the trainers and the gym mindset that build champions. A good MMA fighter is a reflection of his gym and like his gym should be unadorned but crammed full of knowledge. A fighter knows the value of working muscles and should care less about pretty packaging. Form follows function; for gyms and their fighters alike.
This applies to all fight gyms; Kronk Gym was a bare bones gritty gym and they produced some of the best boxers in the world. The best BJJ guys come from tiny hole in the wall gyms in Brazil. What these gyms have in common is top level coaches and the mindset to work hard and build champions. The people that make up these winning teams ask themselves the same question. What is the function; what is the purpose, does this assist in the creation of a better fighter? And if the answer isn’t immediately clear then it’s immediately abandoned for something that does.
The mega gyms are there to make money, first and foremost. Fighters don’t get the attention they would from a smaller more personal gym. That doesn’t mean all mega gyms are bad or that all the smaller gyms are great, but it does mean you should be suspicious. Look into where all the top fighters in your area are coming from; that’s where you want to be. There is a reason why legit fighters train there. Just as real body builders train at “iron gyms” and not at fancy chain mega gyms. Real gyms build real fighters. Everyone’s so over the posers in their MMA shirts strutting around the mall, the most casual of MMA fans can spot these guys a mile away now. Isn’t it time everyone started recognizing the majority of these mega gyms for what they are too?
* In the Oct 16, 2016 Sunday paper the Leaf Chronicle dedicated the entire front page to the only REAL MMA gym in the Clarksville area (SSF). The Leaf Chronicle compared the differences of Johnny come lately karate gyms like Harris Holt Martial Arts jumping on the MMA band wagon and trying to cash in on MMA while the only real MMA gym in Clarksville has been grinding and building world class fighters since 1997.