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JudOWNED
5/30/2009 9:56am,
So, the other day some kid (anywheres from late teen to early 20's, though I'm thinking aroun 18-20) tells me after practice that he wants to be a pro fighter and fight in the UFC some day. The first thing that went through my head was, "Then why are you training here???"

Don't get me wrong. I love where I train. My Judo coach is a nidan with russian judo/sambo influence. We have an honest to god BJJ black belt that teaches there. We have a boxing coach. We hosted a Mike Swick Seminar. There is MMA training and they have guys that compete and fight and do well for their level. But we are not a pro gym. We do not train pro fighters.

What's more, there is an ATT gym in the area. Not just some affiliate, mind you, but a big gym where named pro fighters train. And that's not the only such gym in the area. There's gyms with Pros that fight in big orgs like (former) EliteXC and Strikeforce. And those are definitely the places that ANYONE with serious pro MMA aspirations should be training. And I suddenly felt as if I should be telling this kid all of that.

But I couldn't pull the trigger.

My school has just been too good to me. When I first started I told them, straight up, that I was used to club prices and couldn't afford to train there at that time. The Coach told me, "Don't worry about it. A fellow judoka is always welcome. Just come on in and train." And damned if I didn't train there for a full month before they ever mentioned money again. And then they floated me a deal HALF of what they normally charge. They gave me a free ticket to the Swick seminar. And they are all just a nice bunch of guys, really dedicated to the martial arts. Good training for the hobbyist or serious amateur.

Thinking about all that, I just couldn't send the business away. I would have felt like a total dick, backstabbing people that have been good to me. So, I kept my mouth shut.

Right or wrong?

jkdeez
5/30/2009 10:07am,
Simple, is he good enough? Does he really have what it takes to train that hard? I doubt it. Let him train at your place until it becomes obvious that hes ready for the next level, most likely he will change his mind after a year.

Neo Sigma
5/30/2009 10:07am,
Tough call. From what you've said, this place obviously deserves as many students as they can get, since people like your coach are a rare find in anything, much less something so frequently money-oriented the way a lot of MA places are.

On the other hand, if the kid is serious, then he probably should be training with the best he can find, and if ATT is down there, then...yeah. How does it compare in terms of monthly costs with your school? At the end of the day, I guess the only thing I can think of that you should have said was to tell him to talk to the coach. Does the kid WANT to leave, or is he figuring he'll get what he needs by training at your place?

It is Fake
5/30/2009 10:12am,
So, the other day some kid (anywheres from late teen to early 20's, though I'm thinking aroun 18-20) tells me after practice that he wants to be a pro fighter and fight in the UFC some day. The first thing that went through my head was, "Then why are you training here???"

Don't get me wrong. I love where I train. My Judo coach is a nidan with russian judo/sambo influence. We have an honest to god BJJ black belt that teaches there. We have a boxing coach. We hosted a Mike Swick Seminar. There is MMA training and they have guys that compete and fight and do well for their level. But we are not a pro gym. We do not train pro fighters.

What's more, there is an ATT gym in the area. Not just some affiliate, mind you, but a big gym where named pro fighters train. And that's not the only such gym in the area. There's gyms with Pros that fight in big orgs like (former) EliteXC and Strikeforce. And those are definitely the places that ANYONE with serious pro MMA aspirations should be training. And I suddenly felt as if I should be telling this kid all of that.

But I couldn't pull the trigger.

My school has just been too good to me. When I first started I told them, straight up, that I was used to club prices and couldn't afford to train there at that time. The Coach told me, "Don't worry about it. A fellow judoka is always welcome. Just come on in and train." And damned if I didn't train there for a full month before they ever mentioned money again. And then they floated me a deal HALF of what they normally charge. They gave me a free ticket to the Swick seminar. And they are all just a nice bunch of guys, really dedicated to the martial arts. Good training for the hobbyist or serious amateur.

Thinking about all that, I just couldn't send the business away. I would have felt like a total dick, backstabbing people that have been good to me. So, I kept my mouth shut.

Right or wrong?
Right. It isn't your responsibility, it is the coaches IMO.

You should have told him, in the nicest manner possible, to go tell this to the coaches. You know as well as I, a good school isn't going to hold you back for money.

If UFC competition is his real goal, the Instructor would most likely say, you aren't going to get that here as that isn't our focus.

I think he was afraid to talk with the coaches.

murderethic
5/30/2009 10:12am,
If he is/was that determined to become a pro, then it really is up to him to seek out that training right? He probably chose to train where he is at for the same reasons: great guys and a great environment.

You did right. It isn't your job to guide his career.

And if for some reason this guy really could be the next big thing, won't your instructor let him know that he needs more than the club is offering?

Don't sweat it.

sochin101
5/30/2009 10:29am,
Thinking about all that, I just couldn't send the business away. I would have felt like a total dick, backstabbing people that have been good to me. So, I kept my mouth shut.

Right or wrong?
I voted 'right' in the non-existent poll.
You laid out many reasons why you might feel you owe the owners a measure of loyalty. I would certainly feel that way.

You could also have offended the owners if they'd discovered you were recommending a rival business, and I doubt ATT would give you a free month, subsidised training and free seminars.

Young Buck might not even be serious about wanting to be a fighter. I advise you to give him the Dana White "do you wanna be a f**kin' fighter" speech.
The guy is probably better coming to his own conclusions about the appropriateness of the training he's currently receiving with regard to his purported intent to fight pro.

Seriously, you did the logical and right thing for you and your school.

Ka-Bar
5/30/2009 11:46am,
Simple, is he good enough? Does he really have what it takes to train that hard? I doubt it. Let him train at your place until it becomes obvious that hes ready for the next level, most likely he will change his mind after a year.

This. If and when he starts dominating guys at your gym and has won a couple amateur fights, then it's time for him to move on.

JohnnyCache
5/30/2009 11:51am,
If he gets serious, he'll make the transition on his own. In the intervening time, you're what he needs. No conflict really.

TheRuss
5/30/2009 11:57am,
So, the other day some kid (anywheres from late teen to early 20's, though I'm thinking aroun 18-20) tells me after practice that he wants to be a pro fighter and fight in the UFC some day. The first thing that went through my head was, "Then why are you training here???"

The first thing that went through my head was, "And I want a pony."

If he's currently at a good school and receiving quality instruction, he's at least on the right track. If he ever shifts gears from "I want to be" to "I'm taking steps to become", have him talk to the school owners and hopefully they'll point him to ATT.

Sang
5/30/2009 12:14pm,
Strangely enough often the best pro gyms are not the best place for someone to get a start in training and amateur competition (speaking from experience). Without amateur competition (or mma's equivalent) he'll never reach his goal of being in the UFC. So who is to say your current gym is not the best place for him to be?

theotherserge
5/30/2009 12:16pm,
If he gets serious, he'll make the transition on his own. In the intervening time, you're what he needs. No conflict really.

QFT. Also, starry-eyes over being a UFC pro is like the new "I wanna be a rapper." let's see if he's actually dedicated and your coaches will probably send him along.

btw, where do you train? That sounds like an awesome gym (U asshole!)

JudOWNED
5/30/2009 12:24pm,
Thanks, guys. Good responses.

Truthfully, I was a bit taken aback by the kids comment. I've talked to a couple other of our guys that fight, and they all seemed to be pretty grounded. Just enjoy it as a hobby and like to compete, but aren't looking to make a living at it.


Simple, is he good enough?

Well, I sparred the kid, MMA style. We went light on the striking, but full speed grappling. I know he's a noob to the Judo class, but otherwise don't know how long he's been training overall. Also, I'd guess I outweighed him by 15-20. Anyway, I pretty much dominated him. I landed a lead leg sidekick at will. COntrolled the clinch. Hip tossed him (no gi, of course) 3 times easy, landing in side control. Passed on a couple subs I could have got, so we could keep going. Held him in Kesa long enough to get the ippon in Judo, and could have laid down some heavy GnP right to his dome. Eventually I got bored, started trying crazy stuff, letting him get position on purpose, and he tapped me to a RNC.

So, he's either a real beginner, or has quite a ways to go. Because, FYI, that was my first time doing full on MMA sparring.

So, I'm thinking in retrospect, this (and other like sentiments) is correct:


If he gets serious, he'll make the transition on his own. In the intervening time, you're what he needs.

cyril
5/30/2009 12:49pm,
Strangely enough often the best pro gyms are not the best place for someone to get a start in training and amateur competition (speaking from experience). Without amateur competition (or mma's equivalent) he'll never reach his goal of being in the UFC. So who is to say your current gym is not the best place for him to be?


I think this post speaks truth. It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and... Fight MMA. He may be 100% green behind the ears, but the coaches will be honest when it's time for him to move on.

poker
5/31/2009 12:36pm,
Actually I think you were half right. You should have told him that the place you are at is a good gym, where he can train in a good atmosphere and if he trains hard, get some amateur MMA experience. Then tell him that if the amateur fights go well he should probably start up at a professional level gym such as ATT, and why not ask the coaches anyway.

Seems fair to me, if your place doesn't pretend to train pros they shouldnt be upset when someone goes elsewhere to turn pro.

billy sol hurok
5/31/2009 12:50pm,
Another vote for Ya Done Good.

1. You're not his mentor, his daddy or his manager.

2. Your gym has treated you very well indeed.

3. He may simply have been fishing for encouragement, not career advice.

Nefron
5/31/2009 2:08pm,
He is still quite young.One day I tell to myself I'm gonna train my ass off, and wander off picturing myself kicking opponents in the head.Then I skip a class, eat chips and drink beer.

Bottom line is, if he really wants it, he is going to train like a maniac and get really good.He is still a noob, so your gym should be enough to give him some basic skills.