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Learn to put up a good fight at First Contact MMA, the citya��s newest mixed martial arts centre

Years of radio jockeying does not instill an interest in martial arts, but a childhood of being on the wrong side of bullying does. a�?I was a small kid and a smart arse to boot, so I used to get picked on a lot,a�? says Cary Edwards, remembering how he was introduced to karate and judo as a young boy of seven. Now, at 35, the RJ and entertainer has decided to give his lifelong passion a face and an address: First Contact MMA, a centre that teaches mixed martial arts.

a�?The idea first sparked a few years ago when a friend asked me to help out with his studio. I liked teaching, so I started my own studio two-and-a-half years ago in my garage,a�? he laughs. Relocation became a necessity when the students outgrew the space.

Edwards demonstrates a move

Edwards demonstrates a move

Kicking off
Reminiscing about how he got his black belt in karate at the age of 16 (he later cleaned up his technique and re-certified at the Tokugawa University in Japan), Edwards says he left it and judo behind when he got introduced to Brazilian jiu jitsu while attending college in the US. a�?It is based on Japanese jiu jitsu, but is much more accessible to regular people because it doesna��t come with the prerequisite of a lean, athletic body,a�? he says, adding that what he learned at the Gracie Academy in California a�?uses natural body movements and stresses on leverage instead of strength.a�?

Edwards isna��t too impressed with martial arts centres in India. a�?Many of them are kooky. I remember one centre that advertised how theya��d teach you to protect yourself using chilli powder. Moreover, you can buy a black belt for `10,000,a�? he reveals. One of the reasons why, when he wanted to add muay thai to his repertoire of skills, he caught a flight to Thailand. a�?I spent six months there, living at the school run by master Kru Kom, practising 10 hours a day,a�? he says.

Belts and badges
At First Contact MMA, Edwards plans to teach mixed martial arts not as a sport, but rather as street defence. a�?I dona��t believe in competition. Ita��s ego driven. If you are trying to centre your mind and your life, then you must release that ego,a�? he says. Helped by two of his students, he has created classes for people above 16 years. a�?I am not certified to train children,a�? he clarifies.
Located in Gopalapuram, the centre, which had its soft launch yesterday, will start its classesa��focussing on jiu jitsu and muay thaia��today. a�?We will have a full-fledged launch after the elections, maybe on the 28th,a�? concludes Edwards.

At Rs. 4,000 a month, classes (6 am, 8 am, 5 pm and 7 pm) are available five days a week. Details: 9840412610

a��Surya Praphulla Kumar


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