Dec 14, 2010 – The R1 Training Center, Los Angeles Original MMA Gym, is proud to host the Animo Locke Tech High School Mixed Martial Arts Club (ALTMMA) along with their coaches Ben Clancy and Ray Ramirez for a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) seminar featuring, MMA legend, Rico Chiapparelli.
ALTMMA founded by Ben Clancy, a former MMA fighter & martial artist from the U of Iowa who moved to Southern California a decade ago to pursue a career in education. Ben, an Art major at UI, formed the club three years ago at his Watts, CA high school to help kids “take advantage of education, prepare them for college, and transform their futures.”
It started with 5 kids, a promise and one rule… The Promise: “If you stick with it, you won’t have to prove anything to anyone ever again.” The Rule: “If you train here, you can not fight. If you do fight, you will not be welcomed here.” With the parameters set, ALTMMA commenced operations with everyone doing drills outside twice weekly on the basketball court or soccer field. Coach Ben shared his deep passion for Muay Thai Boxing showing students basic striking skills consisting of punches, elbows, knees and kicks. As they progressed club members earned rewards based on skills tests and sparring behavior.
In its second year, ALTMMA moved indoors to the PE room while doubling its membership to 10 as word about the program spread around Locke. Year two also brought another mentor for the kids… Special education teacher, Ray Ramirez, joined the team and brought along his knowledge of the grappling arts. Ray, being proficient at Judo, Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, perfectly complimented Ben’s love for the striking arts. The team started doing one day of stand up training and one day of ground training. By mixing the arts from standing to ground the kids began developing into complete mixed martial artists.
The training intensity grew at ALTMMA with the addition of varied skill sets as did chatter throughout the high school and even over to other campuses. Curious students stopped by to watch and / or participate as the MMA maturation process had begun to develop into the existing team members. Coach Ray commented, “I had never seen brown and black kids behave so respectful towards each other.”
Now in year three ALTMMA sees enrollment up to over 20 kids with training taking palace in the much larger Lunch Room to accommodate everyone. More experienced students now lead portions of the training with students from other Locke schools also participating. Coach Ben noticed that his best kid are literally laughing off tensions and walking away from encounters without a sense of losing face. In fact, they are actually developing real discipline and becoming school leaders.
“The kids started to learn focus, discipline & selflessness, saying things like ‘nice one’ when tagged hard sparring or tapped while grappling. We started to think that we had something special developing and began the idea of doing this seminar” proclaims the founder of ALTMMA.
Ben & Ray began looking for places to take the kids that would “inspire them to live their life in the way of a modern day, cross training, intelligent, mixed martial artist.” After initial disappointments, the coaches were not deterred, eventually sending out an email that landed in the mailbox of R1 founder, Rico Chiapparelli, who quickly green-lighted the group to come out to his world re-known training center for an MMA session with his students.
“We are excited for the ALTMMA crew to come out here to R1 and see a part of wrestling and MMA history. Their story reminds me of a young kid from Baltimore who’s life was forever changed by the sport of wrestling then doubly blessed to participate in the advent of MMA.” said the former World Cup champion wrestler who founded R1 ten years ago. Initially opened as a training facility and cabal whereby amateur wrestlers could learn and hone skill-sets necessary to compete in the then burgeoning sport of MMA; the facility has since extended its reach of influence to local teens, military, law enforcement, women’s safety concerns and community involvement.
R1 will proudly host ALTMMA this Saturday, December 18 at 10:30AM along with our strength and conditioning coach, Doug Gizzi from Zone Ready and Sports Performance specialist, Dr. Mike Gervais of Pinnacle Performer. ALTMMA will participate along with our teen and adult members in an MMA technique and training session headed by Rico in the very same place that the reclusive MMA pioneer has trained such legendary fighters as Randy Couture, Lyoto Machida and countless other champions.
“R1 is more than happy to be another destination in these young adults’ martial journey as we share our ‘all forms are fluent’ philosophy with the next generation of combat athlete-artists”, added gym founder, Chiapparelli.