Zugec Ultimate Martial Arts (ZUMA) - Victoria BC
ZUMA Martial Arts truly is one of the best all-round martial arts schools in British Columbia Canada. Headed up by Adam Zugec, ZUMA is a fun, challenging gym for top-level MMA, Muay Thai, Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.
According to the ZUMA website, Adam Zugec is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt (Carlson Gracie), Combat Submission Wrestling Instructor (Erik Paulson), Thai Boxing Instructor (Ajarn Chai) and Mixed Martial Arts Coach.
What the website doesn't say is that Adam is an excellent teacher and a great coach. I've found that he pays a great deal of personal attention to each student and is constantly engaged in teaching people to develop their own strengths and diminish their weaknesses, without trying to force what works for him.
The other instructors (such as undefeated MMA fighter Sarah Kaufmann) are knowledgeable, friendly and damn talented. There are also many guest instructors and seminars that allow you to learn from the likes of Denis Kang (UFC and Pride fighter), Marcus Soares (7th deg. BJJ black belt under Carlson Gracie Sr.), Erik Paulson (Combat Submission Wrestling Founder, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black belt), Leonardo Santos (BJJ world champion and MMA fighter), Wagnney Fabiano (BJJ world champion and MMA fighter) and tons more.
They offer co-ed Muay Thai (Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced), Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (Beginner, Advanced), and no-gi submission grappling (All levels). They also offer womenís-only Muay Thai kickboxing, womenís-only Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Kids MMA. Judo classes are run at ZUMA by members of the near-by Victoria Judo Club.
Kickboxing classes usually start with 2 rounds skipping and 2 round shadow-boxing as a warm-up; 6-12 rounds on the pads is then used for technical instruction and conditioning; sparring then takes place daily (intermediate to advanced).
Notes on Striking Sparring:
- Sparing is watched closely by instructors.
- Sparring is generally light to medium
- Technique and control are emphasised
- Wear a mouth-guard (mandatory),
- Good-quality boxing or Thai gloves (16 oz)
- Cup (guys)
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Submission grappling classes start with a medium to intense warm-up, after which point 2-4 techniques will be drilled. Sparing (rolling) follows, and is generally relaxed - remember you're there to get better and to help your partner get better, don't be a spazz or a jerk or you won't be invited back.
One note about the kids classes - I've seen the kids classes before when I was waiting to start my kickboxing class and I was amazed at how good with kids Adam and Sarah are. The classes looked fun and safe, and I was actually a little jealous of the little ones; they were having such a good time.
The gym itself is huge! With a boxing ring, two large rooms with wall-to-wall matting, plus a smaller mat area the gym can fit a lot of people. It needs to, because it gets really busy in the afternoon/evening classes. In fact, my only complaint really is that too many people come to train, particularly in the beginner classes! However they've instituted the intermediate classes so we'll see if this is alleviated.
Four large heavy-bags of various weight are located in the back training room.
There are menís and womenís change rooms, and two bathrooms as well. There is a large, comfy lounge area with couches for students and their parents.
There is a small pro-shop with great deals on boxing gloves, shin-guards and other training equipment and clothing.
To summarize, I feel that if you live anywhere near Victoria, B.C. and are interested in martial arts, you would be more than happy training at ZUMA. There's another MMA gym and another Kickboxing gym in town (and they're pretty great) but for the total package as well as the opportunity to work with great people, from dedicated beginners to professional fighters ZUMA should be on your radar.