No. I could end this blog article right here, but let me elaborate :)

Most people wrongly assume that the only people training in Mixed Martial Arts are those individuals who want to compete in MMA type events, like the UFC, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The majority of our students, let's say 90% of them, just want to learn how to defend themselves, get in shape, relieve stress and build their confidence.

You can see from the picture below that there are people as young as 14 years-old to adults in their 50's in this particular class. You can also see both men and women training together. There are also students in this class who are just starting out and there are students who have been training for over 8 years. We have students training with us from all walks of life...firemen, police officers, lawyers, high school principals, business owners, engineers, marketing directors, mothers, fathers and even grandparents. Some of these students have a lot in common with each other, but many of them don't have much in common except for the fact that they love training in Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing and MMA.


Everyone training at our academy has a different reason for why they started training and the goals they want to achieve. For some people, they just want to lose some weight, get in shape and get healthier. Other people labor in a very stressful work environment all day and they look forward to coming to the academy three or four days a week to relieve some of that stress. Some people started training because they wanted to become more confident. And for some, they started because they wanted to learn how to defend themselves if they were ever put into a situation where they needed to.

It's true that there are students who sign up because they want to compete in MMA events, and we do our best to prepare them for that, but the large majority of people who train with us do so because they watch the UFC on television and they want to be able to do the same cool techniques their favorite fighters do. They don't have any intention of ever setting foot inside the cage; they just want to learn the same techniques they see being used inside the octagon and have some fun. They're not looking to go to work the next day with a black eye; they're not there to be the next Georges St-Pierre; they're there to learn some cool techniques in a supportive and friendly environment.

A few weeks ago I was sitting at my work desk and I kept asking myself this question, "What is our school about? If I had to describe to someone what our school is about in one sentence what would I tell them?" And here's what I came up with - "Next Level Martial Arts training system is about taking average, ordinary guys and giving them the skill set of a UFC fighter." I personally would rather spend my time training someone who just wants to learn, have some fun and do this as a hobby over someone who wants to be the next Chuck Liddell. The reason for this is because the man or woman who wants to be a "fighter" tends to be more self focused than anyone else inside the academy. They tend to think that everything needs to revolve around them - the workout, the lesson plan, the class structure, the techniques we train, etc. On the other, the student who's there just to learn and have some fun tends to be more of a team player. They're not there just for them; they're there to help others and be supportive of their training partners.

So, do you have to want to be a fighter in order to train MMA? No. You can have a lot of different reasons for wanting to train, and being a fighter doesn't have to be one of them. For me personally, I just love Martial Arts. Ever since I was a kid I loved watching Bruce Lee movies and pretending that I was the man to defeat the villain in that final fight scene. Today, not much has changed. I watch just about every UFC event, but instead of pretending to be fighting for the UFC championship, I break down fights and analyze the techniques and fighting styles of my favorite fighters in order to bring my students the most in depth and detailed instruction possible.

The most important thing is not why you want to train in MMA; the most important thing is that you actually go and do it. Go find a reputable school and sign up for a trial. Most schools offer some type of introductory trial offer like "3 Classes for $19.99." Try a few classes to make sure they have exactly what you're looking for. Make sure they have a solid program with legit black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Kickboxing teaching the classes. And be sure to ask their instructors what certifications they have to make sure they're not some pretender who thought it would be cool to open up his own "fight gym."

If you have any questions feel free to send me an email to I will do my best to answer any questions you have. You can also reach me by dialing 330-550-4324. Hope to see you on the mat!

Grace To You,

James Terlecki