LOYALIST MMA: PART 2
After night one at Loyalist Martial Arts Academy, I was pretty excited to go back and find out more. Although I was not taking part in the classes, and just observing (and trying to not get in the way), I was already feeling like one of the students.
I think Tim already knew how special this place was to me. As I walked in, I received a warm welcome with high fives and slaps on the back from the facilitators teaching. I could literally feel the energy in the room increasing with every minute that passed.
Then I see the big kids start entering one by one. There is no silliness or horsing around, which in my experience, is a sign of nervousness or lack of confidence. These ladies and gentlemen were there for war. You may think the use of the term, “war” seems a little over-exaggerated. It’s not. The gym was somber, with only heavy metal playing in the background. The music was fast and loud with raspy vocals to go along with it. My heart rate was increasing more and more. I looked around and no one was saying a word.
The students were putting on their garb. They carefully and meticulously applied their hand wraps. Sitting ring-side with their backs to the centre, one by one lined up with very little small talk. Just a simple, “hey, how’s it going” to one another and that was it. I was getting irrationally nervous. It was stone cold.
Tim walked across the gym to me and explained that these fighters have bouts coming up in the next couple of months. This night was all about conditioning. Circuit training was on the menu tonight, Tim explained. That’s when I understood. The students were focused on one task and one task only. They were saving all the energy that they had.
One thing I noticed was that the students were all from different walks of life. From business owners, lawyers, police, reformed trouble makers, fitness models, intellectuals, stay at home moms, teachers, it was incredible to see everyone together, like a unit.
Tim then calmly but firmly said, “bring it in”. The students gathered around Tim as he reminded them of why they were here and what he expected to see in the upcoming bouts. Two words, REAL EFFORT. No speech, no motivational meme’s here folks. No, “just do your best”. I can assure you that you would not be in this class if you didn’t already know that.
Everyone went to their stations to begin. Ding! Ding! went the bell, and like a group of psychopaths, they stare into nothing. Blank stares, and then only these creepy little smirks, and finally, a freaking explosion of moving bodies go off, all moving as if the effort they put forth was sustaining their own existence.
As the bell rung again, I thought to myself, “oh good, they’re going to get a rest, because I’m sweating just watching” ...nope. They hustled to the next station and began the next stage of circuit training.
I kid you not, the whole academy got hot. The energy of 15 or so people in a very large space just turned the temperature up by 4 degrees. I was impressed. I figured that these kids would likely be a little full of themselves for being so bad ass at this sport, but nope. To the students, this was just a Wednesday night.
Tim then asked what I thought about day 2 so far. I laughed and said, “this is crazy!” Tim looked at me and said, “but did you see everyone just trusting the process?” Then it hit me. Tim had built these guys up at one point or another. No one complained because they knew that the process was what got them here. They knew why they were doing it.
Tim said, “they know I expect effort and my job is to farm it into them and all they have to do is harvest it”.
Soon, after the class was over, the conversations began and happy smiles came out. They came and did work. Everyone hung out after and chatted. No one was running out the door , rushing to go elsewhere. They liked it there. I knew that kind of the feeling too. This was my second night there, and including both nights, I spent a total 7 hours there. I got enough shots and enough information, but I wanted to stay. I liked it there too. It was inspiring. For a guy like myself, who is seen as skeptical when it comes to most things, I wholeheartedly believe in the process and ideology of Loyalist Martial Arts.
If you want to learn to stop making excuses. If you want to find your full physical and mental ability then this place will guide you. If you are willing to let your emotional guard down and trust the process, then they can help you by farming it into you and you can watch it grow and take pride in harvesting the real fruits of your labour.
Tim, Mandy, Andrew, and the Loyalist team and students. The academy left a huge impression on me, and for that, I thank you.