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Striking Training at United Fighter's Association with Coach Boatright
As I found myself doing an interval of jumping jacks, Burpees and mountain climbers at Coach Kieth Boatright’s mixed martial arts class at Ultimate Physical Fitness gym in Glendale, Arizona I regretted ordering the Double-cheeseburger, fries and root beer from IN an Out burger a little over an hour earlier. (Yes I am spelling his first name right). Kieth runs The United Fighter's Association located in Glendale, Arizona and has been doing MMA for over six years. As I was gasping for air, he wore a gas mask so that his oxygen would be restricted. I guess today my oxygen would be restricted by the 800 calories of fat and meat I had consumed.
Sign Your Life away...Let's Train!
Just ten minutes earlier Coach Kieth Boatright had given me a waiver to sign in case I was injured. As I read it I started wondering what I had gotten myself into, I am 37 years old and have already had back, knee and shoulder surgery. In addition, I am not very athletic and a little out of shape.
The warm-up alone was equivalent to the amount of cardio I get in an entire work out. Fifteen minutes felt like fifteen days. After our warm-up Coach Boatright had showed me a fighting stance. I had taken boxing before so I had the basics down. Next, was movement training. Four pads were set down in a mock ring about 12’ by 12’ and we practiced moving forward, laterally and backward to each pad. As we practiced, coach Boatwright yelled “Step and drag!” Coach Boatright pays close attention to proper technique and fundamentals. When your hands drop too low he will let you know about it, either verbally or with a nice slap in the face. Once we learned how to walk, it was time to learn the basic strikes. During this period of the training coach Boatright emphasized the jab, and referred to it as the most important punch to master. As our coach took us through each drill he always had verbiage to motivate us to learn what he was teaching. References were being made to how Anderson Silva knocked out Forrest Griffin with a jab, and other examples were used.
At this point of the training I was having a lot of fun. I like boxing, and coach Boatright takes a fun, no nonsense approach to training. It is obvious that MMA is his passion and it shows in his teaching methods.
Next, it was time to hit mitts. Hitting mitts is when your trainer/coach puts mitts on his hands designed to absorb strikes and calls out punches and combinations while moving around. I had done this before and this is one of my favorite ways to work-out. Kieth recognized I had a basic foundation for striking and moved up the complexity and intensity of the work out. I am in terrible cardiovascular shape so my punches were losing their snap fast. Coach Boatright keeps a round timer on so we are constantly cognizant of the time. My favorite words out of his mouth were “ Only 30 seconds left!” until I realized after the round ended I still had 20 more punches and 10 push-ups between. A couple times when coach Boatright went to check on another fighters progress I would just collapse and lay down. By the way, did I mention that when coach Boatright had me do the last 20 punches they were all above his head, luckily I am not short at about 6’2 but he is not short either and man those burned. Toward the end of the striking class about an hour into it I got to work at my own pace on the heavy bag while coach Boatright trained kicks with another student. I was completely gassed and took it easy on myself. By this time I had blistered under my toes from staying on them so long and the friction wore the skin off. Luckily I had some tape in my bag and I taped them up.
We concluded our training regime with abs. We partnered up and interlocked our feet and contacted our elbows at the top of the sit up. Then we laid on our backs and did leg throws and planked. Finally, we ended with the super man static plank.
Afterwards, Coach Boatright taught me a very basic kick. It was after the class and he could have said no, but he couldn’t wait to give a student more knowledge which is a characteristic all good teachers should have.
Like the UFA mission statement says: The purpose of the United Fighters Association is to provide an organized and safe environment for students to learn mixed martial arts and self- defense. I found this expectation was fulfilled and that Coach Boatright went above and beyond.