Tucson, Arizona - The Sixth Street Gym
I've been training at the Sixth Street Gym for three months, two on the boxing side and one on the MMA, so I'm going to review my experience thusforth, though this review is based primarily on the MMA instead of the boxing. Of course, due to my schedule my experience is primarily on the morning class and the occasional monday evening class, so there may be variances. As always, I will review the actual class experience sequentially, according to the ratings.
Introduction: The Warm Up Process;
The warm up is typically short but fairly intense, focusing on dynamic stretch type exercises that increase flexibility, strength, and slight cardio all at once, such as lunges, shrimping, handwalks, shoots, and so forth. Occasionally the Ladder of Despair is laid out for coordination and cardio drills. Then, to finish off the warm up, there is typically five to ten minutes of rolling.
I rate this an eight, as, with very few exceptions, there are about twenty minutes of aggressive rolling the first hour, and ten to fifteen minutes of medium to hard contact full range sparring during the second hour, plus whatever more the class does after I have to leave. Protective gear tends to be mma gloves, shin guards, and mouth guards. Moreover, I have seen students don headgear and enter the boxing ring for hard contact sparring, with the intent to knock each other out, at least once.
I rate this a seven, as there are a lot of bags, and most of them are in respectable condition. The Thai bags are the newest, and most of the heavy bags are in good condition, but most of it has seen good usage. The focus mitts have seen the worst of it, but still function, but the Thai pads are fairly new. Probably the worst of the lot is the loner sparring gear, but that's a good incentive to buy your own gear instead of suffering the horrid things the loner gear would give you, like cancer. The MMA side uses wrestling mats to grapple on, which are in good condition, and, even better, mopped before each class, which is reassuring for the cleanliness minded. Also, there's a decently equipped weight room for the lifting minded.
Thirdly, Gym Size;
I rate this as a six, as the building used for the gym was not originally intended for such a purpose, and is instead comprised of several rooms. The largest of which is used for boxing, and probably has about a thousand square feet, and the other two rooms are about three to five hundred square feet. Could be better, but at least it isn't a basement!
Fourthly, Instructor/Student Ratio;
I rate this as an eight, as Drew Fickett oversees all the classes personally, demonstrating techniques and helping new people figure crap out, and there aren't a huge amount of students, so we tend to get lots of personal attention and critique.
I rate this an eight, as, while most of the people are pretty offbeat, they're supportive and willing to help out a struggling student figure out how the hell a triangle is supposed to work.
Sixthly, Striking Instruction;
I rate this as a six, as while Drew Fickett is a UFC veteran, has been in a shitload of fights(and won most of them up until just recently), and does spend a good amount of time working with mitts, drilling, and bag work, it primarily seems to be to defend against attack, distract one's opponent, then set up a good takedown in order to murder them on the ground, as compared to training striking in order to be awesome at striking. Were I rating the boxing side of the gym, this would be more around eight, but I'm not. Anyways, stylistically, the training seems to be based on a mixture of western boxing, which makes sense considering the boxing gym a few feet away, and simple Muay Thai. Sufficient, but not really up to what one would get on the boxing side, at a Muay Thai gym, or a Kyokushin dojo.
Seventhly, Grappling Instruction;
I rate this an eight, as the first hour is nothing but drilling and rolling after the warm up, with detailed instruction and corrections from Fickett, who is no slouch in the realm of submission wrestling, what with almost all of his wins coming from submissions. Moreover, in the second hour, after some preliminary striking, there tends to be fifteen more minutes of rolling as well. One of the students, Freddie Lux, has also fought and won twice, in Rage in the Cage and Battle for the Desert, and has obviously learned well. Moreover, the owner of the gym himself, Ed Torrejon, is an excellent wrestler(1977 NCAA Div II champion for Eastern Illinois U) and occasionally demonstrates techniques and explains concepts as well. I've learned a shitload more about takedowns and grappling in one month than I did in five of Matsuno-ryu Jujitsu.
Eightly, Weapons Instruction:
Who needs a weapon when they can kill someone with their balls?
In conclusion, the Sixth Street Gym is a good place to train, particularly for the price to potential training ration(75$ a month for about four hours a day five days a week of training), with an excellent instructor who's friendly but also drives students to push themselves. Classes typically run from 10:30 to noonish in the morning, then 5:30 to eightish in the evening. The morning classes on Tuesday and Thursday are a particular value, considering that they typically have a very small student to teacher ratio(Generally 1:1; Drew Fickett and myself.), so I'd encourage anyone interested who has the time then to try to make those as well(plus it would result in more drilling and sparring for me and less my being worked on the jumprope and bags until I want hurl).