Every Fighter Should READ THIS: 10 Red Flags That Your Gym is NOT for Fighters

by A. O’Toole

  1. No shoes.  BJJ and wrestling aside, if you don’t have an any-shoe-goes area, the chances are that you are in a dojo, not a fighters’ gym.
  2. No cussing.  This may seem dumb, but it’s an indicator of an all-too-friendly kids’ place.  If it’s an isolated incident that a young kid is in, of course no one should cuss, but if fighters are suppressed in their victimless expression, perhaps the gym is for just one denomination – sheltered children and squares.
  3. No open gym.  This may be the biggest red flag, because open gym is when fighters put in their master work, extra conditioning, meditation-like time, and personal fine-tuning.  It is also an indicator that serious fighters are training less than 8-12 hours a week.  SMH.  You should be shaking yours.
  4. No open coaching during open gym.  If there are open gym hours – if it is strictly and always just that – and the trainers don’t help out, you may as well go to L.A. Fitness.
  5. There are classes only.  So much for the fighter’s experience, the individualization.
  6. All members have errands other than their self-commitment.  You clean, hold mitts, run classes (with no pay), etc.  If it’s not a wholehearted choice and it’s actually common practice, get out now.  Such a place is probably just a white-collar gym where quitters feel they’ve done something.  Training should be your ONLY focus as a fighter or potential fighter.
  7. People don’t go there to hang-out.  This may sound a bit odd, but every good gym I’ve ever been to operates like a club; members come by and watch sparring or just mingle and talk fighting on their off hours.  Also, if it’s a dojo atmosphere, everything is considered a distraction and they avoid distractions at all costs.  Real fighters need to get used to the chaos and they deal with it.  You should too.
  8. The gym doesn’t have all the equipment that fighters normally use.  A missing speedbag does not mean anything in and of itself, but it’s an indicator of a much deeper issue.  The place does not invest in the fighter experience.  It seems so immaterial, but it says everything about the training.
  9. You can’t get fights.  If a trainer’s whole motivation is something other than preparing you and getting you fights, think about it.  I need not say more.
  10. Fighters only avoid the red flags above by spending more money.  Money, money, money.

One response to “Every Fighter Should READ THIS: 10 Red Flags That Your Gym is NOT for Fighters

  1. This is very informative and what I imagine when I think of a good boxing club. Not what a karate place has you wasting time in.

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