For some months now my wife Cathy and myself had been the only regulars showing up for the MMA classes at our local dojo, Iron Circle. While this meant we got a lot of quality instructor time, I did wonder how the school could afford to run classes fotr two students.
Well, it turns out they can’t. Two days ago, Master Maybroda emailed us to tell us the MMA program was being canceled. Too many people, it seems, show up expecting it to be like what they see on UFC and bail when it isn’t. “You two outlasted all the wannabes” he wrote.
This leaves us with a problem. Where and how shall we train? We wouldn’t even consider just stopping. We’re martial artists – and, though my wife denies that this has become part of her self-identification in the way it is for me, she is no readier to give it up than I am.
Looking over the local Yelp listings for martial arts, and discarding schools we’ve trained at before but left for various reasons, we seem to be down to three alternatives…
Stay at Iron Circle and switch to the Tang Soo Do program. I considered moving us over to the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu track, but Master Maybroda doubts that would be a good fit because of the cereberal-palsy-induced range-of-motion issues in my legs and hips, and – sadly – he’s probably right.
Tang Soo Do would be a pretty easy road for us, as we already have black belts in Tae Kwon Do (which is closely related). I think all we’d have to do do to make black belt there is learn a handful of relatively simple forms. Indeed, the biggest issue with Tang Soo Do is that it might not be challenging enough to be interesting.
On the other hand, the instructors already know us and have a pretty good idea of our capabilities. We like and respect the head of school, and he likes and respects us. And the place is an easy 5-minute drive from here. These are not advantages lightly to be dismissed.
Another alternative is a place called (oddly) “Mr. Stuart’s” in West Chester, about fifteen minutes away. That’s where we’ll go, probably, if we decide our priority is to continue with MMA. They teach a mix of MMA, boxing, and an Israeli fighting system called “Haganah” which appears to be somebody’s branded variant of Krav Maga.
That’s interesting; I’ve had my eye on Krav Maga as a possible next style for a while now. It’s an aggressive, upper-body-focused power style with a lot of emphasis on improvised weapons and creative use of the tactical environment. A very good fit for my build and combat psychology, I think.
Our third possibility is a Shaolin kung-fu school in Berwyn, again about fifteen minutes away. I’m interested in this because my previous experience with Chinese kung fu (in wing chun style) was very positive; I’d like to get deeper into that.
We’re going to take time and audit a couple classes before committing to anything.