Angry Monkey MMA is getting a makeover to celebrate its first anniversary, expanding its space to a total of 5,000 square feet. In a couple of weeks, the Ville Émard mixed martial arts gym will have a whole new section dedicated to group classes. And there is no need to feel intimidated to try them. Even though you will train with world-class coaches–Nick Tritton has represented Canada twice at the Olympics in the judo competition–the gym prides itself on its welcoming and accessible vibe. Whether you dream of being the next Ronda Rousey or you have no martial arts background, you will be treated with consideration. “We train regular people the same way as we train professional fighters,” says owner Justin Etheridge, who doesn’t tolerate arrogant attitudes and negativity in his gym. The youngest member is three years old and the eldest is 78. “You don’t have to be an Olympian to train at the gym,” says Nick.
The classes are co-ed, open to all-levels and the main ones are split into two categories: grappling and K1 striking. You will learn a mix of techniques borrowed from different fighting styles such as wrestling, judo, jiu-jitsu, boxing, kickboxing and muay thai. Grappling refers to techniques such as holds, takedowns and throws and is often what you see happening on the ground during fights. Striking includes movements such as punching, kicking and knee and elbow strikes.
To be well-rounded, MMA fighters incorporate both of these aspects into their training. But if you are training recreationally, nothing stops you from picking the one that is most appealing to you. The classes feature a conditioning portion to get you into fighting shape (and burn fat if that’s your goal!). Every week you will learn new techniques and develop combos while breaking a serious sweat and working your whole body. The schedule also includes sparring drills for more advanced fighters and judo classes for children.
Private coaching and personal training are a huge part of the business. “We made our name off private training,” says Justin. Some Angry Monkey MMA clients are serious fighters pursuing a professional career while others start-off barely able to bend over and tie their shoe laces. One of Justin’s clients lost 112 pounds in fourteen months and celebrated by getting back into playing soccer, a sport that he hadn’t practised in 25 years. A combination of technical training, strength training and cardio, the workouts are always changing to keep the body guessing and the motivation going. They are also adaptable depending on individual needs. “I do injury rehabilitation. For example, I work with people who have had ACL reconstruction surgery,” says Nick.
The two business partners met through a mutual friend. Justin, an MMA coach who has traveled the world to train with renowned fighters such as Mark DellaGrotte, Martin Kampmann, Shawn Tompkins and Dickie Eklund, was in the process of opening Angry Monkey MMA. Nick, who also holds a national freestyle wrestling title and is the 2014 Commonwealth Sambo Champion, was considering opening a judo training centre. They joined forces. While the gym is mostly recreational, they have plans to form an elite group. “I have no doubt that we will pump out a superstar over the next few years,” says Justin. Nick also wants the gym to become the hub of judo training for children under eighteen, prepping them for the national level.
Memberships cost approximately $800 a year for access to the grappling or striking classes and $1,300 for both. Private training rates start around $60 per hour.
Angry Monkey MMA, 3700 St-Patrick St., Suite 111, 514-543-6107, www.angrymonkeymma.com