Renshinkan MMA - Townsville, Australia
Renshinkan MMA is a fight school based at Kickstart Fitness in Aitkenvale, a suburb of Townsville, in Australia. It is run by Colin Crosby, in conjunction with (I think) Paul Cale, who works at the Renshinkan headquarters which is in Sydney or somewhere. They offer grappling and striking twice a week each, and a less structured open-mat style training on Saturdays, with the option of coming in on Sundays for more open mat. Friday night is usually a free conditioning or agility session, though they are occasionally forgone. The emphasis is on training with the view to compete.
Aliveness - Admittedly, I've done more grappling than striking (one striking session), so I can't address the striking as well as I can the grappling. The grappling sparring is at full force with no protective equipment apart from the mat and a mouthguard. The striking, from what I've seen, is at the decision of the two people involved, but shinguards and gloves are used. Those who want to spar hard will do so.
Equipment - Kickstart run Cardio Kickboxing classes outside of the Renshinkan stuff, so there are a whole bunch of tackling dummys, kick-shields, bag gloves, small weights, focus mitts and sparring gloves. Yes, we use them in the MMA sessions.
Gym size - It is all housed in a giant shed, with about a half of it taken up by a gym for the general public and the other half being taken up by a goodly bit of mat space. If they were inclined to hold a competition there, there would be four 'mats' to compete on. There are some videos on YouTube so I'll post them after this for an idea.
Instructor/student ratio - There's just the one instructor and a few 'trustees', and class sizes are not usually onerous. The striking seems to have more participants than the grappling, but the trustees will provide help when asked. The instructor and the trustees will always walk around correcting errors when they see them.
Atmosphere/attitude - Colin's quote on the matter is "Compete as an individual, train as a team." There's no drama there that I've seen and everybody, including the guys already competing regularly, will help out if they see something wrong. It is a little intimidating if you haven't been there before, but I found that sticking it out and showing commitment endears you to most people.
Striking - Based mostly upon boxing/kickboxing/Muay Thai. This weekend just gone, one of the fighters competed successfully in a modified rules (no elbows, or knees to the head) Thai fight. He didn't so much win it as dominate it. No pre-match theatrics, just ass-kicking. If I could find a YouTube video I would post it but none are up as of yet. There is also one guy fighting in national-level MMA, with others who are apparently ready to step up to that same mark.
Grappling - Submission wrestling. Colin Crosby's strength when he fought was as a wrestler. He is the current wrestling coach for the North Queensland Cowboys, who are currently doing poorly in the National Rugby League. (They did pretty well the few years before though! Apparently their wrestling is pretty good!). His style is heavily influenced by Larry Papadopoulos, who has done a seminar at Kickstart in the past. Everything taught is aimed at an MMA or fight perspective.
Weapons instruction - None that I've seen.
Cost - $8 per visit, or $80 (I think) for as many sessions as you can fit in. They train Monday-Thursday from 7pm-9pm, a half-hour conditioning session on Friday, and run four hours on Saturday, with the occasional extra session on Sunday. There is also ten-visit cards, as well as different prices if you only want to do one system (striking or grappling) and use the gym, or do cardio kickboxing etc. etc.
When I moved back to Townsville for uni I was surprised to find such a high-caliber place in the town. Two of the fighters (Ian Bone and Fiona Muxlow) are sponsored MMA fighters. You can see a few videos of Fiona fighting at the link below. She is also fighting at Princesses of Pain in New Zealand this weekend. http://www.youtube.com/user/finomenal13
YouTube - Last day at Renshinkan - Shows the training area. It's an old video - it is all no-gi now.
YouTube - Renshinkan New Years Day Training 11am - A more updated video. This is what you would see now. That little kid sparring with his dad still trains there, and he is going to be a monster when he's older!
hey, i have been in townsville for around a month and a bit, I was training Muay thai for a bit over a year...plus have done a small amout of grappling. I havn't been able to find a place to continue up here, but wouldn;t mind getting into some classes to maybe improve and learn a bit more grappling. Where abouts exactly are you guys based ?? any chance i could grab a number to chat to sum 1 ? cheers