When Kaylee Nightingale, the director of the Western Faculty and Wellness Program, suggested that I try out a good friend’s mixed martial arts gym, I was very skeptical. I had no experience in kickboxing, self-defense, wrestling, you name it! I decided to try something new and go outside of my comfort zone since that’s what this quarter is all about. It has turned out to be one of the best experiences I have had so far this quarter!
I ended up taking three stand-up fighting classes, one weapons and grappling class, as well as a kettlebell/TRX fitness class. My first class was a stand-up fighting one that focused on punching, kneeing, kicking, and blocking. I came to class early and met the owner Rob, filled out paperwork, learned all about the gym, and how things work. I was fortunate that another student, Kelsie, was just starting the program at the same time and we got to learn the ropes together.
Class started with a 5-10 minute warm up; it did a great job of getting all my muscles stretched out and ready to go. We then went into punching where Rob took Kelsie and I aside and taught us all the basics. I loved that whenever Rob taught something, he not only taught what to do, but also how to do it and ultimately why how to apply it in a real life situation. He often referenced to self-defense and how someone may attack. We wrapped up the class with the basics of kneeing, blocking and my favorite, kicking!
At my first class I was very cautious and my movements felt awkward and weak. After my last class I felt more confidant, coordinated, and powerful. Most importantly, I truly felt as though I could defend myself in a potential encounter, which was an incredible feeling!
The second class I took was the weapons and grappling class. It was so eye opening! I learned very basic weapon fighting and knife self defense which are great skills to have. I also learned how to grapple or ground fight. I always had friends participating in wrestling and never really understood their fascination until I was on the ground and learned all sorts of take down moves. Ground fighting is a key part in self-defense and I’m so glad I was able to incorporate some important moves into my new and expanding knowledge on the subject.
Rob is also a certified CrossFit Kettlebell and TRX instructor and offers a kettlebell/TRX fitness class Saturday mornings, open to all students and their friends. This class was one of my favorite fitness classes I have ever taken! I loved working with the kettlebells and was thankful to be taught a lifelong fitness method by someone that had really knew what they were doing.
Not only were Rob, his teaching methods, and his classes great, his students were amazing! Everyone was so welcoming and nonjudgmental to someone that had never really punched anything in their entire life. I am especially grateful for Brittany and Keri who were so patient and encouraging when working one on one with me. I sincerely recommend Unbridled Martial Arts as a great option for anyone looking to improve self-defense skills, get in shape, and to really just have a great time. Memberships are affordable, and the more classes you attend, the lower your monthly rate ends up being. The gym is also located close to campus and classes are offered multiple times a week to accommodate different schedules. I am so thankful for Rob and his incredible group of students for taking me in for a couple weeks and changing my perspective on the sport completely. The best part about this experience, is knowing that one day, this experience could save my life!
Here is the link to Unbridled Martial Art’s website so you can get all the information needed to get started!