Posts Tagged ‘Mixed Martial Arts’

FIT Class participants freestyle with different gym equipment.

This week I had the great pleasure of going to Legacy Martial Arts Studio to try out a few classes.  You might remember just a couple of weeks ago that I was at the studio with the local Army Drill Sergeants for a day of mixed martial arts training.  The owner of the studio, Robert Bentley, invited me back to experience some of his regular programs and learn more about the facility.

The studio is located in the strip behind Blockbuster Video at 36thand Broadway in Quincy, and it brings together some of the area’s best fitness classes for kids and adults.  This week, I was able to try two classes: FIT Class and Jiu Jitsu.  Jiu Jitsu is going to get a whole separate blog because I have a lot to say on the subject (such as: it’s awesome!), but today I wanted to talk about FIT.

FIT class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:15 pm.

Legacy’s FIT Class is a little hard to describe, because it’s designed to be different every time you go.  It’s a fun, 45-minute class that will get you moving and make you sweat.  The first thing I noticed when I walked in the door was the diversity of the group that was there.  There were teenagers through adults, and people who ranged from super-fit athletes to people who were just getting started on fitness programs.  Many of the people were there for weight loss, and others, like me, were there to add a cross-training component to their normal training schedule.

The class started with a warm-up jog around the outside of the mat.  Then Mr. Bentley announced that we were changing the jog to a high skip.  I can’t think of the last time I skipped, but I defy you to skip anywhere without smiling.  Skipping is a joyful movement, plain and simple.  It also does a good job of getting your heart-rate up and getting you ready to workout  with a good attitude.

After warm-ups, we moved on to partner exercises.   I paired up with Brenda Turnbaugh, who has been doing the class for several months.  I asked her what she liked the most about FIT class and here’s what she had to say:

“I was never much of a fitness “class” person. I workout hard and I like to do different things to keep it fun and keep my body guessing, and so many classes and trainers seem to be cut from the same mold. Same exercises, same reps, same EVERYTHING! In October, I gave in to a friend and decided to try FIT class at Legacy for a 90-day challenge. From the first class, I was hooked! Mr. Bentley said it would never be the same workout twice, and I can say that now after 3 months+, he was telling the truth. Each class is challenging in its own way, and it is now my favorite form of cross-training.”

Brenda Turnbaugh cross-trains at Legacy.

Brenda and I made our way through a variety of pairs exercises- short sprints, jumping jacks, tossing a medicine ball, a wheel-barrow race, and even a fireman’s carry challenge.  We were both having fun the entire time and it’s easy to forget how much you’re working.

One of the best moments in the class for me was the “Countdown Drill.”  The Countdown Drill is where everyone does sets of 10 jumping jacks, 10 sit-ups and 10 push-ups, then 9 of each, then 8 of each, etc. all the way to 1 of each.  I was one of the slower people in the class to do this drill, but when other people were done with their countdown, they would come over and join into my countdown until I was done too.  Then we went to someone slower than me and did their last few sets with them until everyone was done.  This spirit of camaraderie during this drill and other exercises made the class feel extremely welcoming and uplifting.

“Mr. and Mrs. Bentley and the Legacy Family make you feel welcome and wanted.  It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner just starting to exercise or a seasoned pro. Anyone showing commitment to their health is accepted with open arms,” explained Brenda.  I couldn’t agree with her more.

I’d highly recommend FIT class or any of Legacy’s classes for anyone who wants to start or enhance their training program.  It’s fun, it’s different every time, and it’s a great workout.  I can’t wait until next week to see how the workout changes!

FIT Classes meet at 7:15 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  See below for a FREE week offer.  Call 217-221-0700 for details.  There are no session “starts,” you may begin FIT class at any time.

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D co - Eco 2/334/3/95th IET

(Top L) DS Busen, DS Cowick, Cadet Simmons, Mr. Bentley, SPC Wheller, LT Korte (Lower L) DS Baze, SGT Dutton, SFC Williams

It was the hat I noticed first when I reconnected with my old high school friend.  He had come over for a visit to discuss running in an ultra-marathon, but the hat he wore showed me exactly where he had developed the kind of discipline that it took to run races that were hundreds of miles long.  My friend Jared’s hat

DS Busen in the 2011 Veteran's Day Parade. Photo by Liz Weisheit Hoffman.

was the hat of a United States Army Drill Sergeant.

Drill Sergeants have one of the most demanding jobs in the US military. Their primary mission is to train civilian recruits and transform them to combat ready soldiers.  Their responsibility goes far beyond the order-barking movie archetype (although I’m sure they’ve all said, “drop and give me 20” at least a time or two).  Drill Sergeants must act as mentors, coaches, and counselors.  They are tasked with making sure recruits are ready for the road ahead, so they are first and foremost leading by example.   The hat sets them apart, but so does the pride and strength they each seem to carry in their eyes.

Drill Sergeant Busen recently invited me to come and observe and participate in drills for the US Army Reserve Drill Sergeant group based in Quincy. The Unit- D co – Eco 2/334/3/95th IET- were practicing MACP drills (Modern Army Combatives Program), which is a Mixed Martial Arts based hand-to-hand fighting system.   Robert Bentley, owner and lead instructor of Legacy Martial Arts Studio in Quincy hosted the group of soldiers for their training this day.

If it weren’t for the ACUs (Army Combat Uniforms), the scene at the beginning of this day of drill would have looked like any fitness class.  The soldiers circled up around DS Busen and he led the group in some stretches.  Most of the men in this group were Drill Sergeants or in training to become them, so this type of group leadership rotates among them for drill days.

To become a proficient fighter, soldiers must have a base of knowledge not just how to throw punches but also how to recover if they are knocked off of their feet, so the first set of drills were practice rolls.  The rolls were an unusual mode of locomotion to get across the gym floor.  It was as if each man were being tossed to the floor by an invisible adversary, only to pop back up to his feet, ready to go again.  The soldiers by and large made these moves look easy; while my own strained attempts looked more like a kid in a gymnastics class trying to do a backwards summersault for the first time.

One of the most interesting floor exercises was a simulated wrestling escape called “shrimping.” Basically, the soldier would lie on their back with one knee bent and then using their foot and abdominal muscles, they would shoot backwards and on to their side in an explosive motion.  The body ends up in sort of an L shape that brings to mind the way a shrimp propels itself in the water.  The motion was tougher than it looked, and by the end, my core muscles were getting pretty worn out.

From there, the group went on to boxing drills.  Soldiers paired off and preformed jabs, crosses and hooks with gloves and mitts.  After this warm up, the fighters practiced combos of these three basic moves.  DS Busen and Mr. Bentley walked the floor and helped soldiers with technique.  The atmosphere of the class was energetic and, even though the soldiers were concentrating on what they were doing, they were all clearly having fun throwing punches with each other.

LT Korte practices some jabs.

After boxing drills, Mr. Bentley took the floor to demonstrate Mixed Martial Arts kicks.  Bentley’s primary training is in Taekwondo and instruction, and he is proficient at several other disciplines as well. He outfitted a soldier with a practice pad and the force of each of his demonstrated kicks echoed around the whole room.

I paired off with DS Busen to try out some of the kicks, and I couldn’t help but laugh to myself that this trained combat instructor was going to just stand there and let me kick him for a while.  Don’t worry though; he got the chance to throw some kicks while I held the pad too.  I know he held back some of the power, but the energy in his kicks still rang through the pad and up my leg.  It actually was one of my favorite parts of the drill.  It made me feel tough!

The whole morning went on similarly- demonstrated martial arts moves then practice in pairs- and throughout it all the soldiers would horse around a little or give each other a hard time, but there was also an ever-present serious undertone to the fun.  At one point, Mr. Bentley was demoing a knee strike from a stand-up clinch position, and he said, “Now, of course, in MMA you aren’t allowed to knee ‘em in the groin, but if it’s an enemy combatant, nail ‘em!”  This elicited laughs from the guys, but it actually made me look up around the room and realize what these men could potentially face.  Instead of facing kicks from a 5’5” local blogger girl, these guys could someday be engaged in hand-to-hand combat with someone trying to kill them.  Adding to the intense feeling of purpose, the men standing in front of me might not just have to defend themselves, but also held the responsibility for training other soldiers to defend themselves under the gravest of circumstances.  Words become paltry when you’re trying to describe the respect this gives you for these soldiers.

I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed spending some time with the guys in the Drill Sergeant Unit.  To a man, these are some of the most strong, disciplined, fit leaders I’ve ever met.  They’re also pretty funny guys, and I’d gladly go out for a beer with them any day.  To co-opt the Army slogan, There’s Army Strong, then there’s Army Drill Sergeant Strong.

*A special thanks to Legacy Martial Arts and Mr. Robert Bentley.  His facility was simply top notch, and his training philosophy and style are unmatched in the

Mr. Bentley and DS Cowick "roll" - or practice ground wrestling moves.

area.  I’ll be blogging more about Legacy soon, but if you have interest in learning more about Taekwondo, mixed martial arts or FIT classes, I highly recommend stopping in at Mr. Bentley’s facility at 307 N. 36th Street (behind Blockbuster Video) or visiting his website at www.atalegacy.com . They’re also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ataLegacy

Please check out my Flicker Slideshow of the workout at Legacy Martial Arts by clicking the photo below! To learn more about becoming a US Army Reserve Drill Sergeant from the Quincy Lincoln Douglas Reserve Center, contact CPT Mellon at 217-653-9982 or call an Army Career Counselor at 309-647-6712.

Click on these ADVENTURE FEET to see a slideshow the Army Reserve Drill Sergeants at Legacy Martial Arts!

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