LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
As a full-contact combat sport, mixed martial arts appeals to a primarily male dominated audience, but the Warhawk Fitness Center's personal trainer manager Nancy Talbot would gladly disagree.
"This sport is for everyone," Talbot said. "You can't go wrong (in this sport). You're going to lose weight, get stronger, learn self-defense and gain more confidence. This sport is for everybody, boys and girls."
The Warhawk's newest class emphasizes mixed martial arts conditioning and learning different fighting techniques. The class and excludes sparring; however, Talbot insists that the training is still physically demanding.
"I am not kidding when I say this, but you get whiplash," Talbot said. "After you hold a Thai pad for three, three-minute rounds of kicking, your whole body vibrates."
Talbot begins the class with conditioning exercises such as fireman drills, leapfrogs and standing squats all of which use teamwork for motivation.
"We will huddle in a circle and do jump squats. It takes teamwork for it to work," Talbot said. "You don't want to give up because then you are letting your partner down and giving them extra work."
The class allows active-duty and guests to train in a mixed martial arts camp atmosphere, and pick up on different fighting styles from boxing to jujitsu.
"That's why it's called mixed martial arts - because you learn a little wrestling, boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai. You incorporate what is going to be best for the fight."
Talbot teaches the class judo throws, takedowns and how to defend the takedown. While sometimes letting experienced students lead instruction, Talbot admits she still has more to learn.
"I'm still learning; I have to work on my ground game," Talbot said.
Talbot applies knowledge from her experience as an amateur mixed martial arts fighter and trainee with Texas Powerhouse camp leading to her first cage fight.
"This sport really humbles you. In order to be the best in this sport you have to get your butt kicked. No one is born a professional fighter."
Talbot explains extensive training and mental toughness are key factors leading to victory.
"You get angry and you get happy and you cry. It's very emotional. And I never understood that until I started training for my first fight," Talbot said. "It's like a dance when you start going through the drills over and over again, all that comes out in the fight if you use your mind. If you panic and start doubting yourself chances are you are going to lose."
While the MMA novice class offers instruction in discipline and conditioning, Talbot is interested in expanding the curriculum to include friendly sparring, and later, with more participation, sorting the class into different skill levels.
Talbot said, "more than anything I want it to be effective and I want it to work. If conditioning is what is going to help Lackland, then so be it, but if people would like to apply what they learn and spar, then I would love that too."
The class is offered Monday and Friday at the Warhawk Fitness Center, at 5:30 p.m.