From WINK News in Naples, Florida:
Every January, all sorts of people vow to get in shape for the new year. But these days, instead of running to the gym, some women and even children, are now jumping in the ring!
You may know it as UFC or Ultimate Fighting. The sport, officially called mixed martial arts, is taking the world by storm.
“It was kinda grassroots before, and now its totally main stream,” Crafton “Blaze” Wallace says.
He is a professional mixed martial artist, or M.M.A. fighter, but his job at Inferno Mixed Martial Arts is to train others.
“They’re tired of the everyday kinda workout, so they end up here and they stay,” Wallace says.
“I’ve been involved in sports my whole life. I ran track in college. This is one of the most intense workouts that I could find,” Jennifer Green says.
She is one of dozens of women who are members at Inferno Mixed Martial Arts in Naples.
“I have a three year old and I look awesome, so it does do a lot for you,” Savannah Cavin says.
She got involved in M.M.A. several years ago, when few females were involved. Recently, she says that’s changing.
“You have younger children, you have women who are all getting involved,” Cavin says.
In the first week of January alone, the owners say membership is up 10 percent. Out of the gym’s 100 members half are women and children.
“I get stronger, more accurate, more flexibility, like agility,” Katell Bravo says.
Besides the physical aspects, Katell Bravo’s father says it helps her focus in the classroom and protect herself if the need arises.
“You’re learning how to kick and punch and be accurate with it, and you build a lot of strength as you work out, so its great for self defense,” Grimaldo Bravo says.
One thing that’s unique about the sport of mixed martial arts is that you can train right along with the pros.