Clawson, MI: Chris Malgeri's Martial Arts Unlimited
Martial Arts Unlimited
I had to give this school a try because I grew up about 150 yards from the place.
His mom answered the phone.
I am going to start by saying that this is going to be a difficult review for me to write. There were some things there that seemed to work really well, and other things that seemed a bit questionable and raised flags in areas that might simply not bother many others. I should start off by saying that I cannot NOT recommend Chris Malgeriís Martial Arts Unlimited, but at the same time I cannot recommend the whole program either.
Chris Malgeri seems to me like he was a LARPer. However, he seems like a LARPer who decided to actually learn his stuff incredibly well, get real, and put in as much time and hard work as he could in order to understand as much as possible about different martial arts. The guy knows his stuff. He knows a lot. This is a good thing for him.
ďThereís Savate at 10, BJJ at 11, Kali at 12, Wing Chun at 1, and then Mande Muda at 2,Ē she said over the phone. This was just for Saturday. After seeing how this worked out, it seemed to me that those who tried to get into everything were simply spread too thin. There didnít seem to be anything that helped people put all this together either, or make it work for them. One guy at Muay Thai told me that he started with Wing Chun, but when he started doing both he just couldnít do anything with it. He said that Malgeri was able to blend things from each style together, but that after a while the guy just gave up and focused on the Thai, Savate and Sub-Wrestling.
Martial Arts Unlimited actually seems to run like two different schools. There were the BJJ/Muay Thai/Sub-Wrestling guys, and then there was everybody else. Well, there was actually a third school, the kiddie TKD that a different group of adult black belts taught (I do not think that Malgeri did anything with them). It was kinda cool actually, because the kids were doing their tornado kicks and x-blocks right next to kickboxing and wrestling.
Now, some of the BJJ guys didnít do the Sub-Wrestling, and some of the Muay Thai guys didnít do the Savate kickboxing, but those four together pretty much were one school (minus the kickboxercizers). Most of them worked pretty hard, and they seemed to be pretty decent. Many seemed to be preparing for a match or tournament, too. Those classes were also much busier.
The feel of their grapplers was different than what Iím used to. The purple I rolled with was like a fucking tumor (some of their blues displayed this as well). He was an older guy, and seemed really nice too. Instead of feeling more like the wrestling types I've rolled with before, and pressing his weight down on me, it was more like he was attached to my skin. He stayed really tight, even when I was able to get him off of me. I was trying to do some slips so I could get back to standing with him (I did not tell him this), but had no chance without rolling into his guard first (not like that was easy, at all, either). I could barely ever even move my hips.
But I have two complaints with the BJJ/Sub-Wrestling classes. Number one: THEY ARE TOO FUCKING SHORT. One hour? Just one hour a class? Yes, some people stayed after to continue working out, but it seemed too abrupt. My other complaint is that we only did standard ďanything BJJĒ rolling for the alive training part. What about practicing those mounts we worked on by having one guy start in side mount and go for full mount, and the other attempt to escape or pull guard? ďAliveĒ does not always need to be a full 5-minute match starting on your feet or knees and going for a sub. Maybe they could have gotten to some more of that type of work if the classes were longer. Or, maybe I just didnít get to see it. I donít know. I do know though that when working on a grab escape, the guy I was working out with looked at me funny when I told him to do the grab for real and not let me out of it. I didnít think I was doing the escape correctly (I wasnít) and I needed him to resist me to see what I was doing wrong.
Overall though, good classes (albeit short) and good partners. Malgeri was very knowledgeable in his explanations. I actually thought he spoke too much about getting the techniques down perfectly to a beginner like myself (ďToo much kung fu is badĒ yada yada yada). I probably donít need to know exactly where my hand goes, or how my knee comes in, as Iím learning the beginning basics of a movement. I thought it was too much for me and the other newbies, but it would definitely be good if you were a long-term student. I have a feeling that Malgeri reads a lot of books, and asks a lot of questions, and retains a lot of information.
The other classes thoughÖ well, everyone seemed like a beginner. Iíll focus on the Wing Chun one, but I got the same feeling from the others I got to witness. First off, very few of the guys from the BJJ/Wrestling/Kickboxing went to the Kali, Chun, etc. And few of the guys in these classes went to the BJJ or Muay Thai. And the ones who actually did, were simply not very good at anything.
For the Wing Chun class everyone seemed like they were just starting, but some of them had already been doing the wooden dummy form (the 4th form). When working on chi sao, some of the guys had no clue what a bong sao was (one of the 3 main hand positions). Some people just worked on Sil Nim Tao, and some of the class worked on Chum Kiu. Then we did pre-set chi sao drills. I was saddened that some of the students could simply not get things to work. The ďadvancedĒ guy told me I needed to give him center to make what we were doing work. He also wanted me to drop my arm so he could get his punch in.
There was also no contact, sadly. Malgeri came over to show the guy how he needed to make what he was doing work himself, whether was responding the way he wanted or not, but it was odd to me that the student couldnít just ďgo with itĒ (I was just leaving an arm out there; itís not like I was trying to mess him up). The student also said that my fuk sao couldnít be on center, which is why I could feel an easy opening anytime I had a tan out on him (my schoolís philosophy is that if you have an opening, you fucking punch).
I did not get to do any ďactualĒ chi sao there (actual meaning no pre-sets). The guys seemed averse to getting hit (which is probably why they didnít do BJJ/Kickboxing). Malgeri said that Wing Chun was his favorite, and most worked on art. I couldnít see any of that in the students, however.
Here is the class schedule:
6:00 Kickboxing/Muay Thai beginners
7:30 Sub-Wrestling beginners
7:30 Kali-Silat beginners
6:30-7:30 STX Kickboxing/Savate beginners
7:00-8:00 Kidís TKD
7:30 BJJ advanced
6:30 JKD Kickboxing beginners
7:30 Wing Chun beginners
6:30-7:30 STX Kickboxing/Muay Thai beginners
7:00-8:00 Kidís TKD
7:30 Sub-Wrestling advanced
5:30 Wing Chun advanced
6:30 Kali-Silat advanced
7:30 Pekiti Tirsia Kali
10:00-11:00 STX Kickboxing Savate advanced
10:30-11:30 Kidís TKD
11:00 BJJ beginners
12:00 Kali beginners
1:00 Wing Chun beginners
2:00 Mande Muda
Thatís just a whole lot of classes but not a whole lot of time in many of them. BJJ only has 2 hours a week, and Sub-Wrestling has 4 hours (two of those at 10 a.m.). Mande Muda? One hour a week. Wing Chun has 3 hours. AND some of those classes are for the advanced students. One of the students told me that Malgeri has not been happy with the scheduling either, and that itíll probably change again soon.
Hereís my general run-down of the school.
#1: Very clean and new space.
#2: Malgeri is very knowledgeable about just about everything.
#3: BJJ/Sub-Wrestling seemed competent and worthwhile (I do not feel I know enough to judge the Muay Thai, but see #4).
#4: The BJJ/Thai/Sub-Wresting guys compete in their arts and in MMA.
#5: Malgeriís mother apparently runs a dance school in thereÖ which means there simply must be hot women around there at some point! I didnít actually see any, but they just have to be there.
#1: Classes are too short. Most are one hour each. For BJJ/Sub-Wrestling, sometimes people will stay after to roll after class has moved on to something else, but without instruction.
#2: Too many classes are offered. There does not seem to be too much depth with those trying to do everything.
#3: Many people seemed like ďmove collectorsĒ to me, and not people looking to actually gain mastery in their skills, especially in the ďnon-MMAĒ focused classes.
My recommendation: Take the BJJ/Muay Thai/Sub-Wrestling, and then complain that you need more mat time and instruction.
P.S. I got the feeling that Martial Arts Unlimited would be a good host for a Bullshido Throwndown!
I hope this message finds you well. Usually I avoid forums as then tend to bring out the least desirable qualities in martial artists, but I was directed here from a student of mine and thought I might say "Hi".
I should also apologize in advance as I do not remember you stopping by my gym, although by the date of you post I assume it was sometime this summer. As it happens in the martial arts business, there are many who stop in for one day and are never seen from again.
While it is unfortuante that you did not find what you are looking for at MAU I truly hope you have a found a place that suits your needs and ambitions as a martial artist. We take our training seriously and know that our way is not for everyone. Often it takes time for people to grow into a school and find the "method to the madness" as it were.
If you were simply seeking to come once, and review my gym for this website, then perhaps you were able to see enough of what you wanted. Either way I appreciate your comments, both the positive and negative. I am constatnly learning, and refining my methods to provide my group with the best possible instruction and service. I do not believe that anyone has the monopoly on truth and that everyone can learn to grow in all aspects of training, teaching and promoting the arts.
My only comment would be that if you truly wanted to see what we are all about you would have to invest time and energy for at least a month. We do a great deal of repetitions, isolation sparring and other varied training methods. Regardless of where you choose to go, and who you choose to investigate I do recommend that a certain amount of research should be attempted if you are going to be able to give an honest review. You may find that your initial thoughts will change.
As a novice to the forum scene I am unfamiliar with the term LARPer, and assume it to be derogatory. I have spent nearly 20 years training with some of the very best instructors in the world, tested myself in Kickboxing, BJJ and MMA with a credible record and produced both fighters and instructors in some of the most respected organiztions in the world. I do not rest on my laurels, continue to strive for excellence and credit my teachers daily.
You seemed to respect us well enough, so I do not want to assume anything less. Ours is an open door approach. If you think you can get better training elsewhere, then go there. If you only want to train part of our program, that is great too. If you think your schools program is better, than perhaps you should promote that and focus on the positive. Just a thought.
Be well and I wish you continued success in your martial arts endeavors.
I've actually been recommending the school to about 10 of my friends who've started a "fight club" to practice MMA, but none of whom actually have any training. I kept telling them that they needed to take some actual lessons, and since they are all young guys they kept saying "But I don't want to spend the money." And then I remembered something that really should have gone in the review:
SATURDAY CLASSES ARE FREE!
Which means anyone curious can come down a few times and roll with the students there. I think I have 3 of my "fight club" friends coming down on Saturday to try out the BJJ class. They really don't care about anything else. I imagine some of them might realize it'll be good for them to actually train and stick around with you.
LARP stands for "Live Action Role Playing". It's kinda what is used to describe people who play pretend in martial arts, or people who go "If you did that, I could just do this and then.... then this... and then..., etc., etc." I figured you maybe started this way, and then decided to put in 20 years of hard training and pressure testing to make sure it was all true and that you weren't playing pretend at all. This is a good thing, don't worry. If you read my other reviews you'll see that they are peppered with a few humorous points. :P Whether you were a LARPer or not (don't worry, many of us fell into this boat), you then put in 20 years (and continue to do so) to make sure it was all true and what you were saying wasn't imaginary. :thumbsup:
Speaking of which, you should really get an instructor tag and an amateur fighter tag.
And not that I have had enough experience to give you any recommendations, but I figure I will none-the-less. :P In my opinion, your students would benefit from starting with and sticking with only a few different arts at first. I didn't see anyone who seemed to be the leaders in the non-MMA-style classes (and as I noticed, many of those MMA guys stuck around after class to continue working out with each other). Of course, to do this more time needs to be given to each class.
Imagine it like this: Kali class starts at 12. For the first hour it is run by the advanced students and they go over the forms/basic drills/warm-ups for the first hour. At the second hour you could continue the class with them and go over the things you want the class to work on. At this point Wing Chun class would be starting as well, and advanced students in that discipline would lead forms/basic drills/warm-ups for the first hour while you were with the Kali group. Then you would move over to the Wing Chun group and work on more advanced things while the Mande Muda class began. That way, classes are "layered" but you still spend the same amount of time with each.
That's just an idea, and would probably take a bit more finagling to work into something worthwhile, but it would accomplish two things-- #1: More time would be given to each discipline. #2: It would limit the arts students would take at the onset so that they could focus and gain depth in a smaller set of skills.
I only offer that idea though because one of your students had told me that you weren't happy with the scheduling either when I mentioned that one hour at a time seemed short.
Best of luck to your school though and hopefully some of the guys I bring down will stick around and quit the MMA LARPing that they've started.
I would love to give my 2 cents into this old thread. I happened upon this thread by chance and I am glad I did. My experience with Mr. Malergi....... Jerk! I lasted 2 classes at his gym. This goes back awhile...maybe 6-7 years. I think the gym was called the Kali Academy at that time. My second day of class, Mr. Malergi had me sparring in Muay Thai! While sparring with him, he kicked me in the butt (literally) and a few seconds later I dropped to the floor. It turns out he struck my sciatic nerve. My leg went a bit tingly and when I went to take a step, my leg simply gave out and I fell on my face. His response was pathetic. "are you ok"? He put a sparring pad under my head for support and continued on teaching the class. I limped off the floor a few minutes later and he didn't say a word to me. He never called me or followed up with any concern. Heck, he probably didn't even know my name. I hope you read this Chris. I am still having sciatic pain to this day...7 years later!
I have to take prescription strength antiinflamatory drugs daily. If I don't take my meds for a few days, the pain is so bad that I have a hard time walking. Thank your lucky stars I didn't sue you. Because of the negligent way in which you trained me (sparring on the 2nd class & not having control over your technique which resulted in my injury) I was going to sue you. It's only because of other personal circumstances at the time that I didn't file a lawsuit. I believe you did it on purpose. I think you used me as a practice dummy for a sciatic strike. Thanks so much for the past 7 years of pain and inability to train as hard as I was capable of. I hope you have cleaned up your training methods.
Last edited by retired; 1/10/2008 10:12pm at .
It's been a while, but this thread deserves an update. First off, Malgeri has gotten his black. Some of his students have been promoted to brown (congratulations Hashen, you freaking tumor!). More so than that, he's now a sigung in the MMA world because I found out that the guy teaching MMA at my church's gym is a Malgeri student. And no, by that I don't mean he has some chump out there teaching.
I'd just like to post some of what "Bad News" Ben Lagmen has said about Malgeri in this interview:
He took me to a gym called Martial Arts Unlimited, and I met Chris Malgari, who pretty much changed my life.
Q: Being at the age you are, with all those distractions, what was it that triggered you to develop that kind of dedication?
He corners me in all my fights and I train with him a couple of times a week.
You can see Ben in an upcoming Bully Beatdown episode. Ben teaches a little like Chris: TONS OF INFORMATION. Ben's speed is a little more to my liking, but damn the guy knows a million things from each position. I told him about some of my criticisms, and he said he didn't really get involved in any of the non-MMA classes either.
I would say Chris Malgari has had a lot to do with all that. He just showed me a better way to live. The priorities of my friends are not my priorities. I have two sets of friends Ė I have my friends from, I guess I could call it, my previous life, right? Of high school, and growing up. And then I have my friends through MMA. And the priorities of my friends in my other life, theyíre just not conducive with being a professional athlete.
It takes somebody to show you that. He really made me believe that I have an opportunity to be really great in my life. And I didnít really have anything going for me in the sense of being that I could be great.
So, Chris has pro fighters under him now, training other actual fighters. That probably means he needs an increase in his striking/grappling scores on here. Here are a couple videos of Ben:
YouTube - "Bad News" Ben Lagman vs. Brett Evans: XCC title win- 9 sec.
YouTube - ben lagman
Also, here is a link to Martial Arts Unlimited's MySpace, which includes a video of Chris Malgeri totally pwning someone with some insanely slick moves (check out the sweep at 1:02). I can't embed it, so go here: http://www.myspace.com/maunlimited
Oh, there's one other totally cool thing about Chris Malgeri that I know DerAuslander108 will be interested in. Malgeri knows Master Jay Penfil, and has been out to some of those famous and truly amazing wine tastings with Sensie Carbone. Mmmmmm.....
MAU from my exp. is a great school... Chris is a one of the one of best martial artists I have ever meet.
I think that a schools students speak to how good the instruction is and Chris has some top guys.
I would also like to add a little about this school. It is not very well known in the detroit area, but they have a very good program. I have trained everywhere in the area including warrior way, focus and east west. I also spent a few years at a popovitch school in louisville. Anyway, I'm very impressed with Chris' level of instruction. I honestly had no idea how in depth some simple techniques could be. I almost feel like he's the best kept secret in detroit when in comes to bjj, csw, and MT. Anyway, the website is old and they are working on another one:
I've visited this school and taken one of the trial lessons. I have to say that the instruction from Chris was top notch. He explained everything very well and he helps make a student feel comfortable. He divides his time up well and seems to be available between classes.
One point that has been raised about MAU here that I agree with is that the classes/programs are spread a bit too thinly. The way the schedule was/is set up it's hard to focus on what you want to. For example, if you're only doing Savate 2 or 3 times per week-for an hour or less each time-then that's not optimal. Even at a lower tuition this is something that would need to be addressed. This is a school that I really want to attend but, due to schedule I've been forced to look at other alternatives. If the rates were a lot lower I'd be able to work with 1 to 3 days per week at one hour a pop but, that's not the case. I really like how Chris Malgeri explained concepts in his school though...even someone with no history in pugilistic activities would probably pick up martial concepts from Chirs very readily.
One thing to consider is that the school is apparently set up for a PROGRAM...at least that's the way it comes off to me. It seems that their philosophy is to learn striking, grappling, in-fighting and more in order to become a complete martial artist. That's great for MMA guys, cops and security people but, some people don't need all of that stuff and don't seek it-at least not in the beginning. Some people may only want to get in shape, learn basic self defense or simply add one thing to solid skills they already have. In general I'd recommend MAU but, it does seem to be geared a bit more towards the MMA mentality and/or other professional and/or full time people (security, instructors, trainers, etc.) from a schedule stand point. Anyone can learn great stuff at MAU but, the schedule seems to be set up for MMA type of people...sort of an MMA program approach.
Check out the school and if the schedule is not an issue then I'd say try it out...if the schedule *is* an issue (for what you want to focus on/learn), then you might have to so some more shopping.
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