Saturday, August 15, 2009
Ho Shin Sool MMA
One of the things I'll miss most about home is training at Ho Shin Sool. Before moving back to Sault Ste. Marie I spent 5 years wrestling for Lakehead University, one of the best wrestling teams in the country. Our team was extremely close and trained at a very high level. At the end of 2005 I wrestled in the gold medal match of the National Championships. The next month I graduated, got a job back home and my wrestling career as an athlete was essentially over. It was tough going from training 20 hours a week at an elite level to not having anything to train for at all.
After seeing an online add for a grappling class in town I dragged along Ray, another ex Lakehead wrestler to check it out and act as back up if need be. I was a bit skeptical because most of the martial arts clubs I had been to in the past were very closed minded about people coming in with backgrounds in other styles. I quickly found out that HSS was not like that. They had dedicated grappling classes twice a week and the instructors had a good understanding of what they were teaching. Jim, the owner, is a high ranking black belt in Dahn Moo Do, but was committed to learning the other aspects of martial arts including wrestling, kickboxing and jiu-jitsu. Jim welcomed a couple of has been (or never were?) wrestlers into his club and we began to learn a lot from each other.
Over the next few years things began to evolve quickly. I dragged a few more wrestlers along, and as word got out people began to show up with different backgrounds: boxing, kickboxing, jiu jitsu, etc. Classes began to get much busier. The basement was converted from a yoga studio to a dedicated training area complete with weights, a training cage and extra mat space. Members of our club began competing successfully in Jiu Jitsu and grappling tournaments as well as amateur and Professional MMA.
To paraphrase Jim "We brought MMA to Sault Ste. Marie" We were the first club that had legitimate striking, wrestling and Jiu-jitsu coaches all under one roof. We were the first club in Sault Ste. Marie to compete in MMA and the first club to do so regularly. King of the Cage came to Sault Ste. Marie because they saw one of our fighters compete at another event.
We take pride in the fact that every one of our fighters who enters the cage is well prepared. Having been to numerous small MMA events we have seen plenty of fighters get in the cage who had no business being there. A lot of our members who have never fought are already much better prepared than many of the fighters we've seen at the various MMA events.
I'll miss the HSS family while I'm away for a year but I couldn't think of a better send off than the display that HSS fighters put on a few weeks ago at King of the Cage. Going 5 for 5 with 3 KO's and 2 Submissions left absolutely no doubt who the best club in the area is. Defeating a few fighters from other clubs in the area also drove the point home. (check out the video of Jeff Elliot defeating Owen Martin at the top of the page).
While we had 5 fighters on the King of the Cage event, the evening was a success for the whole team. All of the members of the team were instrumental in our success that night. Many gave up evenings and weekends to hold pads, be sparring partners and help us on the technical aspects of whatever their specialty was. The night of weigh-ins and the event itself it was great having our team around taking care of everything we needed and providing a great atmosphere to prepare in. I heard a quote a little while ago that sums it up perfectly "You're out there all alone, but if it wasn't for them you wouldn't be there at all." Big thanks to Boss, Big John, BJ, TJ, Mark, Scott, Ray, Larlo, Husky and Sean.
Thanks for everything guys, I'll miss ya while I'm gone.