Jiu-jitsu trainer Leo Richards says mixed martial arts gives people a chance to test themselves.
Jiu-jitsu trainer Leo Richards says mixed martial arts gives people a chance to test themselves. Cade Mooney

MMA good for body, mind, soul

WITH the ripped bodies of mixed martial arts champions dominating TV screens, it's no surprise that many people are heading to the gym to emulate their fighting heroes.

But while not everyone is so keen on stepping into the cage, plenty of people out there are still looking for the fitness and skills that make a fighter.

Worldwide MMA promotions such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship are drawing huge numbers of fans, including those who want to try it out for themselves.

The Coast's MMA gyms have been reporting big increases in numbers in recent months as the sport's popularity grows.

The new Sunshine Coast Martial Arts Centre in Warana is one of many local clubs catering to fighting fans - and offering one gruelling workout in the process.

Junanshin jiu-jitsu sensei Leo Richards said martial arts was demanding on the body.

"I think the health-fitness side is more challenging than most traditional sports," he said.

"It's more taxing on the body.

"It's aerobic and anaerobic more than anything else I can think of."

MMA was one of the more popular classes at the gym, he said.

"A lot of people are doing it just for fitness. We get people from all walks of life," he said.

"It's so challenging. There are a wide variety of actions including striking and grappling. It involves a lot of cardio, strength and conditioning.

"It gives people a chance to test themselves against others in a safe environment."

Mr Richards said injuries were few and far between.

"I've not seen a serious injury yet compared to football or any other sport going around where there are injuries every weekend," he said.

"It looks worse than what it is, but it's very controlled."

Self-defence was another area children as young as three were getting into.

"Your first line of defence is yourself, no one else. It's important to know these skills. You can't rely on others," Mr Richards said.

Coast fighter Matt Camp, 36, who trains at Brothers MMA in Warana, has cut nearly 15kg in his two years of training and fighting.

"You've got to get in there and give it a go," he said.

"You don't have to fight. Fitness- wise, it's awesome because you're learning three disciplines: wrestling, jiu-jitsu and stand-up.

"It's good for the body, mind and soul. It keeps you fit, motivated and you make plenty of mates."



1. Increased strength: Martial arts exercise programs target all major muscles instead of a regular exercise routine what will only focus on one aspect of the body.

2. Endurance: Your heart, lungs and other bodily systems will perform at much better levels.

3. Balance: As core muscles before more powerful you'll be able to maintain your centre better.

4. Stress relief: Letting out the day's frustrations in the gym can be quite therapeutic.

5. Self-respect: There is no better feeling than working towards and accomplishing your goals.