MMA in the DMV: The Clinch Academy

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I asked my very good friend Mark to guest blog for my post on the Clinch Academy. He was training there when we met over 3 years ago and had the best things to say about the gym. So without further ado, the FroBunni restarts her series on MMA in the DMV (finally).

It is difficult for me to write anything unbiased about the Clinch Academy because it's a place I've come to love so much. I'll limit my own personal testimony on the Clinch however to this: it played a large part in taking a guy who didn't care much about physical fitness and who wouldn't likely know how to defend himself if his life depended on it, and turned him into someone who recognizes the importance of personal health, is aware of how to avoid conflict, and yet at the same time is also adequately prepared to face it should the need present itself.

Walking into the Clinch, the surroundings are similar to most MMA schools. There is the large area covered by mats, a heavy bag area, and even a cage. But what separates the Clinch from other schools in the area is who runs it. Upon coming through the doors, we meet the man himself, Luke Rinehart. Luke makes his school distinguished in three main ways: its commitment to excellence, its ability meet people where they're at, and the family of students - young and old - parents, and coaches that has sprouted and grown from the Clinch's humble beginnings.

One doesn't have to do to much digging when it comes to the Clinch's history of excellent. At the back wall stands a display filled with medals, trophies, and belts all won by Clinch Academy students. A quick internet search reveals that the Clinch was the home to brothers Jacob and Joey Kirwan who are former Ring of Combat Champions and former Bellator fighters. Current Shogun FC fighters, Cole Presley and Cody Baker, are regularly in attendance. Additionally, observations of the kids' classes give people a glimpse at future warriors such as Luke's son Braesen and Jhondy "The Constrictor" Fuller who, as of right now, probably has an entire room containing the awards he's already won. 

However, in addition to the athletes and future champions roaming the Clinch Academy's space, one also finds the whole gamut of individuals in any given class. From the high school student taking an Intro to Combatives course, to the Chief of Police looking to continue on the path that's already earned him his Jiu Jitsu black belt, and everyone in between, the Clinch offers courses to assist anyone in just about any goal they have in mind. This concept leads to, what I believe, to be the most important piece of the Clinch Academy: It's family atmosphere. 

Despite all of the levels represented and the intensity of the training, all are considered equal. No matter who one's partner is in class, the odds are likely that one will feel encouraged and positively challenged by that partner. The end result is a school of people able to push one another to something better. 

In closing, while I may not have been able to stay unbiased, I hope I've conveyed one clear message; that the Clinch Academy is one great place to train.

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