I joined SBG Ireland HQ over 2 years ago wanting to get fitter, understand the basics of combat sports and train in a learning environment. To say SBG HQ provides all 3, and then some more, would be a huge understatement. The various levels of high-quality coaching, across the multiple combat disciplines, is something that must be experienced to be believed. Each coach is highly skilled, but more importantly, extremely patient with each gym member who enters ‘their mat’ regardless if it’s a class or one to one training session. I am a testament to that, as under the watchful eyes of the SBG coaches, I have gone from zero fights to 3 and losing over 12kg in weight during the process. What is also very unique about SBG HQ, considering it can be viewed as a combat environment, is the fantastic atmosphere and camaraderie amongst the fellow members. I have made more than a handful of friends for life out of SBG HQ. As you enter SBG HQ there is a sign saying ‘This is SBG……..you will be OK’ and in my experience that couldn’t be any truer.
I first came to SBG Ireland HQ through the breakthrough program, a program set up by “the Beacon of Light” charity, this was a joint venture from the charity and SBG, managed by the head striking coach Karl Cannon, the charity is there to help people suffering from mental health difficulties, anxiety or depression. I had a background in addiction and the program allowed me access to the gym to help with my recovery. I quickly realized that SBG was more than just a gym, it was a community, a family, I went from the organised classes from the program into the day to day timetable in the gym, taking part in all striking based classes, quickly building my skills which would ultimately allow me to compete in K1 fights on behalf of SBG. SBG and its coaches in particular Karl Cannon have been great to me, it is a home away from home, where I come to train but also to meet my friends. If anyone said to me they were thinking of joining or trying something new, I would tell them straight away, Straight Blast Gym Ireland is the place for you.
I joined SBG Ireland HQ as I had put on a lot of weight after being in college part time, before I started college I was in a regular commercial gym where I was happy to go up do a workout or the odd class that was on all of which kept me relatively fit and kept the weight off. Doing a 2-year part time college course put a stop to me going to the gym as all my spare time was spent studying or completing assignments. When college ended, I was extremely unfit and overweight. A friend recommended trying out SBG as I had an interest in martial arts and that it would be something different and fun for me to help getting back to being fit and healthy. I was a bit skeptical as it wasn’t the type of gym I was used to and as a novice I wasn’t really whether it would suit or what other people would think of me. I had no need to be whatsoever, my first session was a tour to show me around and explain the rules of the gym and one of the first things I noticed was a sign before you enter that said “no shoes & no egos” which is exactly what it is like. As soon as you step on to the mats everyone is willing to help you out, as I novice I got tips from everyone from the professionals to others who had started with or before me. It was so welcoming I couldn’t believe it, the coaches ran the class and were happy to spend some time with me (and others) directly to make sure we were getting it right and everyone in the class was happy to help or give tips (no ego’s whatsoever). Over time I have got to know a lot of other members and the place is like one big family now, I train regularly with different people and we all try to help each other out, every class brings something new and is so enjoyable. I am not saying it is easy as you are put through your paces but the coaches know how to push you in the right way and I am happy to say that I have lost all the weight I had put on and am back fit and healthy. I have enjoyed it so much that I have signed my 7-year old son up to the growing gorillas programme and he now loves it, the kid’s coaches are amazing with them. The classes are split in a way that they have time for learning the skills but also time for games to keep them entertained and engaged in the classes. He has made new friends and loves going to his classes, that family feeling starts from the kids up. I could not recommend the gym high enough and it has something for everyone, I can do my workouts in the strength and conditioning area although I spend most of my time at some class or another as I now find this more enjoyable and still get a good workout in. If you are looking to get fit, try something new and even make some friends in the process there is no better place than SBG.
My journey into SBG Ireland HQ began when I decided to sign up for the wimp to warrior season 3 program. I see this as an opportunity to go in and train with people that would be starting where I was starting and that was zero experience in martial arts.
The 6-month journey served me well as I learned a lot of the basic fundamentals of MMA. I was there to soak up as much knowledge as I could and in an MMA gym you get out of it what you put into it and I put everything in and I went on to win my first fight after 6 months of training. The result was obviously nice but I had decided I was committing to this new lifestyle whether I won, lost or drew and I did. I didn’t want to lose my momentum so I trained often and competed just as often and had good success for being so new to the sport. This was obviously down to my effort and to the training and guidance I received from the coaches in the gym.
Every coach I’ve had in SBG has been very approachable and will give you all of their energy regardless of what level you are at. I personally view the coaches in SBG as role models and people I want to learn from in life and on the mats. If you are thinking of taking up martial arts but are up in your head about your fitness levels or your fighting skills but that thinking to the side and just go and try it out. You don’t have to compete, you can just train. The staff and coaches will all have your best interests at heart. You will find a new passion, meet lifelong friends and get in good shape.
Martial arts has been a blessing in my life and something I hope I will always maintain. I’ve had some time off due to personal issues and my SBG family has been with me all the way. I’m looking forward to returning to the mats and getting back to living my best life.