To help in a description of our facilities beyond the above pictures, I would like to provide a brief history of our facilities and growth as a mixed martial arts school to provide some depth to the description of our style and our evolution. As of this writing in March ’15, I have been teaching mixed martial arts full time for almost 26 years as a school owner. I did teach periodically before going full time in various capacities because I have a deep passion and interest in mixed martial arts.
The first facility that my school operated out of was at 396 Kamloops St. in East Vancouver, which was situated in a banquet hall above a dance studio. I was 26 years old when I started teaching full time in the fall of 1989. It was a great place to start teaching full time with ample floor space and good basic equipment. I would like to thank Kelly Giannone for giving me an opportunity and confidence to teach full time. During this period, especially since the school was just starting, a lot of time and energy went into the program’s development. The school grew and had very good success. However, in 1992 the landlord wanted to make some changes that did not include my growing martial arts school so we had to find a new facility.
The next location, which started in 1992, was at 2784 E. Hastings St. in East Vancouver; just a few blocks away from our previous location. We stayed at this location till 1996. We had a good student base so it was important to keep the school, as it is now, in East Vancouver. The location had more expenses but was on the main street, was larger and provided room in many ways to continue to grow and develop. By this time we had many skilful students who became black belts and champions in Mixed martial arts, Shootboxing, Sanshou, Kickboxing, and Sabaki, a combination of bare knuckle Karate and Judo. We were at the forefront of the mixed martial arts evolution. It was an exciting time.
However, the roof started to leak, which precipitated some changes due the landlords not being overly available. A great opportunity presented itself with the help of a couple of students. Cesare presented an opportunity to build a custom made dojo, or school, only a few blocks away. In 1996 construction began on our current facility, which was made for the purpose of housing our mixed martial arts school. Again, it was only a few blocks away from the previous location in East Vancouver. This was a great blessing in many ways and I am thankful for the school and the people who have contributed to it. As of this date, we are approaching our 19th year at this location. We have 2 custom built floors with two main training areas; the first floor is designed to be more traditional with white paint and little distractions to enable greater inner focus, awareness and skill development. The second floor has more memorabilia, equipment, weights, strength and conditioning gear, showers, changing rooms, Kickboxing ring, mirrors, posters and more. We also have a roof deck for small personal training and private use. Over the years, I can say with confidence that we have provided many benefits to students in skill development on many levels. Our mission, through the instructor team, is to continue to provide mental, physical and spiritual benefits to students and ourselves in the long term through the mixed martial arts.
In the future we will continue to make upgrades on equipment and mats. Our recent upgrades include: new lighting with thanks to Darren Cheng, a new cage fence with thanks to Jay Morris, new 2nd floor mat system with thanks to Costa Rojas for installation and George Kassimatis for sponsoring the project, a new roof, new ground and pound grappling bags from Costa Rojas, and new paint with thanks to Mark Smith. With effort and attention our facilities will continue to house an excellent program, instructor team and benefit student development on a variety of levels in mixed martial arts, fitness and personal development.