In 2004 the opening of Attitude First Training Center at our previous location one of our Black Belts convinced me that we needed to get involved with the MMA craze. I was intrigued and so we started developing a team. We had great success and developed several skilled fighters; captured a few titles and got ranked on Sherdog.
Unfortunately, this type of training/competition can be taxing on people’s bodies and life schedules. Through injuries, members moving from area and loss of interest; the team dwindled. We maintained the times for training but I realized my heart wasn’t really into it. To develop a functioning and successful MMA team would require that the school become primarily a MMA gym and deal less with the Kenpo/self-defense aspects.
I felt that would minimize working with the youth that I knew was my true passion when it came to sharing the values that Martial Arts training offered.
However, with that said… my heart is still into competition. In retrospect, I also now recognize that our current members are missing “something.” There’s a level of expertise that competition brings to a team, school, club, etc. that can’t be achieved any other way.
Are we good Martial Arts Academy? I say “Heck Yeah!” however I or better yet we have nothing to compare it to. Measuring our skills against other Martial Artists is truly one way of verifying any claim. I get it, there are other ways and the fact that you win one day doesn’t lay any long lasting claim over anything other than that moment in time. However it does present the individual with another opportunity to measure skills and tackle new challenges.
Coming next…. Part 3: “So Now What?”