Watch Out Chicago! Your Co-Worker Does MMA

 

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MMA is the fastest growing sport in America.  It draws from the 16-35 year old demographic and its followers are not solely the tattooed, ex-high school wrestler anymore.  MMA appeals to a mainstream sports fan, who is eager to make happy hour and gallery walks after the daily grind has ended.  Its pay-per-view buys has exceeded those of boxing, which is actually considered a contributing factor to boxing's slow demise.  MMA draws all types of Chicagoans who train in the various mixed martial arts for more than just the obvious fitness benefits.  I thought it is time to catch up with some locals that could just be your boss, your assistant or in the cubicle next to you that train in the mixed martial arts.   

 

The first two Chicagoans I will feature this week come from completely different professions.  Their work environments span from a conservative, corporate office setting to a creative workshop filled with remote control toys and Dora dolls.

Ben has been training in a variety of martial arts for 3 years.  Working in the banking industry today can be stressful, so Ben sought out boxing and krav maga as a way to manage his stress.  "I originally wanted to do boxing and krav, which are my favorite, but I have tried all the mixed martial arts...I think it is better to have a variety to choose from then just training in one like boxing, " explains Bank of America employee Ben.  

Do your co-workers know you train in the combat sports?

"Yes, we talk about it.  Most of them think it is cool and are impressed."

Does training in MMA/Combat Sports make for good water cooler conversation?

"Oh yeah, I was not a big UFC fan before training, but now I am.  I understand what's going on so it is easier to discuss it at work with other fans.  It makes for an un-stressful conversation at work because it has nothing to do with what's going on out there {in the financial market}."

What is your favorite thing about training?

"I love the mitt work, the networking at POW is awesome which I didn't expect and I am so much healthier."

Do you spar?

"I have done boxing and little muay thai style sparring.  I prefer the boxing sparring, but it depends on the class I choose to take for the day."

 

Mike has been training for 9 years.  He started out in extreme in-line skating and currently trains in MMA, mostly Brazilian Jiu Jitsu  (BJJ) and rock climbs.  Although he has had a knee surgery over the years because of his active lifestyle, he is back in BJJ with the help of strength training and several techniques from Chinese and Holistic Medicine.

Do your co-workers know you train in the combat sports?

"Yes, they know, some think it is a little odd, but then my co-workers play with toys all day."

Does training in MMA/Combat Sports make for good water cooler conversation?

"Yeah, especially when it is after a fight weekend.  Especially doing BJJ, because that is an element of a UFC match that most do not understand anyway.  It is nice to be able to explain the efforts a fighter is making on the ground."

What is your favorite thing about training?

"I love sparring and training technique drills. I when Dino (his instructor) has us do round robins and you surprise yourself, even if you got tapped out a couple of times, it is great!"

Do you spar?

"I spar in Brazilian jiu jitsu all the time."

 

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