I've been living in the DC area for about 3 years now, and when I moved here, I didn't expect that I would be fully immersed in MMA like I am today. And if you know anything about DC and MMA, then you would know it's all but dead here. Like seriously, when I'm on twitter and see all of these fighters in NY, FL, NV, and CA, I keep thinking to myself, why didn't I move there once I graduated. So, I decided to turn lemons into lemonade, reach out to locale MMA/martial arts gyms, and interview gym owners and fighters. I actually didn't expect that I would hear back from anyone, but low and behold, within an hour of sending my first batch of emails, Jerome from DCBFIT responded with a resounding yes. A few weeks later, I hopped on the green line, went to Navy Yard, and spent an evening in his gym interviewing him and his fighters.
DCBFIT is a martial gym that specializes in Muay Thai and MMA. DCBFIT owner, Jerome Wilson, began his Muay Thai fighting career in 1999 and opened DCBFIT almost a year ago on January 18, 2013. Despite only being open for a year, I noticed that the gym was packed and, after interviewing a few of his fighters, I realized he had a huge following. And when you meet him, you will understand why. Friendly, charismatic, and a complete dictator when leading his classes, you couldn't fully despise him after that 100th burpee he made you do. When I walked into the gym, he recognized me from the emails and welcomed me to the gym, no feeling uncomfortable or awkward. And despite him teaching two Training classes, personally training 2 people, and beginning a warm-up for his MMA class, he never forgot that I was there. He ensured that I got my interviews and his students had the most intense workout of their life.
And about those workouts, let me just say I am glad I was on the other side (though I intend to go back for a workout). Students punched and kicked their way to a slimmer, trimmer, and healthier body, and Jerome made sure there were no quitters. By the end of the 45 minute workout, his students were tired, exhausted and dripping in sweat. At the same time he was conducting his Training workout, he was also personally training 2 of his clients. They ended their workout, exhausted as well, but what amazed me (besides the 50 squats with a shoulder press using 15lbs dumbbells - I tried that when I got home and stopped at 20) was that he was giving 100% of his time to his personal training clients and the 20+ Training class participants. I've been to fitness and martial gyms where the trainer can't even fully commit to a class of 10, so trust me in saying that is a true talent.
I spent about 3 hours at the gym watching classes and interviewing Jerome and his fighters - James Kellaris, Michael Parker, and Brooks - and was impressed with the diverse background and set of skills of each fighter. Jerome's MMA class is unique in that everyone brings something different to the table. Brooks has a wrestling background, while Michael and James are more kickboxers/strikers. During my interview with Jerome, he explained that all his fighters fight to their personality. There is no specialized style in his gym and this allows his fighters to train and spare with every different type of fighter, thus giving them an advantage in the ring. He also mentioned his "no egos" rule. He welcomes and is willing to train anyone…except those that come in with egos.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to DCBFIT. It was the perfect gym to start my MMA in the DMV series and everyone was very nice and welcoming. Check out the website for more information - http://www.dcbfit.com - or head down to Navy Yard and try a class. I know that I will be (hopefully this weekend, maybe next week)!
Come back to the FroBunni on the following days when I feature the interview with Jerome and his fighters (and this will force me to work on these interviews instead of playing Scribble Hero while I sit on the metro).