For an intense workout that requires strength, flexibility, technique and discipline, consider the Columbia Association’s new mixed martial arts (MMA) classes.
Classes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai kickboxing began in February. Trainer Alvin Chan, who has a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is a former member of the World Kickboxing Association’s U.S. Thai Boxing team, describes CA’s foray into MMA as a “fun workout in a safe environment.”
“It’s the fastest growing sport in the world,” says Chan, a certified personal trainer who’s worked for CA for 13 years and studied martial arts for 26 years.
Don’t expect all the drama you see on MMA TV shows, though.
“A lot of what we see on TV is overhyped,” Chan says. “The discipline and respect can be lost, but I think that’s such an important part of it.”
Instead, Chan says his classes offer a realistic representation of the sport, touting the health, fitness and social benefits of MMA.
“Just getting on the mat and rolling around, you’re using your body in all these different ways,” he says.
Chan’s classes are designed for students of all levels (ages 14 and up), and no MMA experience is required. As of press time, the classes had attracted participants ranging in age from 14 to 45. All were men, although the classes are open to women as well.
Both MMA classes take place on Mondays and Wednesdays -- jiu jitsu from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Muay Thai from 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. at the Supreme Sports Club in Columbia.
MMA instruction for CA members costs $125 a month for unlimited classes, and it’s $150 for nonmembers. Fees include a white Brazilian jiu-jitsu gi, which is the uniform for that class. Regular athletic attire can be worn to the Muay Thai classes, although groin protection is recommended.
For details, go to ColumbiaAssociation.org or call 410-381-5355.