It’s been almost a year and a half since I first stepped into a boxing gym for my first lesson.
After about six months of that, I tried my hand (and foot, knee, elbow) at Muay Thai for a few months, before taking a break for a trip to Australia.
Upon returning to the Philippines, I trained for a few weeks at Lakay, an MMA gym in the mountains of Baguio City. While there, I was introduced to grappling and–seeing how terrible I was at it–I took up Brazilian jiu-jitsu back here in Manila.
Now I’m packing my bags for the skies again and wrapping up my third month of jiu-jitsu at Fitness Unlimited.
Here are my favorite things about each art I’ve had the pleasure of trying in Manila (and Baguio).
Elorde was my boxing home for some time and I had a number of good trainers but I must say that it was at The Den where I, shall we say perfected, my punches with the help of one of their head trainers.
Here’s what I love about boxing: It’s fun to hit things, and in Manila, there are gyms on every street corner where you can do just that. If you want the real deal, though, I hear you have to train with the national boxing team and they have relocated to Baguio–another reason to head north for your training.
Bonus: nothing gives you tight abs like boxing. Jiu-jitsu comes close, though.
I’ve done a bit of Muay Thai at Elorde, The Den, B.A.M.F., Team Lakay, iGym Yaw-Yan Fervilleon, and Fitness Unlimited.
Why I love Muay Thai: it challenged my balance and improved my footwork, which was a weakness of mine when boxing. It also forces you to master your breathing–I nearly hyperventilated the first time I did 50 kicks–and builds serious leg muscle.
With a 30-day trial at B.A.M.F. and then three months at Fitness Unlimited, I’ve enjoyed a fairly solid introduction to the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
What I love about jiu-jitsu: it’s a struggle from the bottom up, but–comparable to say, rock climbing–nothing is more satisfying than getting past the point where you almost give up and making it to the top, in this case, of your opponent.
Jiu-jitsu is, in my opinion, humbler than boxing or kickboxing, or perhaps it would be better to say that it’s more humbling–and that’s exactly what I love about it.
Also, you can join amateur competitions after only a month of training, whereas competing in boxing or Muay Thai can be a little more daunting.
MMA is a violent sport. To be honest, I’ve never watched UFC and, excepting names like Rousey and MacGregor that buzz around, I don’t know any of its fighters.
As a hobby, a workout routine, and a competitive challenge, however, I find it quite fantastic. It’s an excellent way to build physical, mental, and practical strength, fitness, balance, speed, and coordination and it never gets boring.
Plus, it feels good to know that you could sweep someone twice your size off of you and incapacitate them if necessary.
Hands down, my favorite place to practice MMA is Team Lakay in Baguio. There’s nothing quite like it.