My friend and fellow fighty gal at TCB, Natasha used to be a Strongman Competitor. She is approximately 175 of all phenomenal muscle and physique, can squat 1075 pounds, and also has the personality to show up to her gym in jeans just because, and then accidentally participate in a full body truck pull event. Yep, you read that right. Showed up, thought, meh I could haul that giant a$$ truck across a parking lot, hold my pre workout gel, then proceeded to achieve.
It is not a goal of mine to be a powerlifter, like at all, hell I am not a lifter of anything much more than a fifteen-pound kettle bell; #bodytypeofaslightheroinaddict. So when someone that can basically haul a semi across asphalt calls and politely asks you to attend an MMA Seminar, you say yes. I had a hunch that I was going to be rag dolled the entire time, I was not wrong.
J Street Fights is a Professional and Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Promotion that recently started getting its roll on here in Northwest Arkansas. Joe Phebus moved from California six months ago to work with J Street Gym Owner Bobby on getting this whole shebang up and running. Funny story about Bobby Bittle, I had met his sweet wife, Stacie through Natasha at fight night prior to this seminar. He was attempting to get a picture by temporarily sitting in my second row seat and I had just come back from getting a drink. I like to occasionally see how awkward I can make situations and occasionally the tables are turned on me. I faked a bit of indignation; he was not impressed because #hisgym and just gave me my coat pointing to three other seats. I hopefully brushed my bad joke off and introduced myself, he likely could probably care less at the blonde double fisting two vodka and diets (one was for a friend) and I won Best Loser First Impression of the Night. I wish I could say that was the only time something like that happened that evening….
So Joe used to run several fight promotions in California and from there several others fighters and those from punchy culture have matriculated to the Ozarks to join the fight, pun definitely intended. Along with promoting Fisticuff Extravaganzas, he also helps promote MMA Seminars with professional fighters.
What does one wear to an MMA Clinic? I should point out that Natasha called asking me to attend knowing I veer towards constantly putting myself in uncharted territory; she thought this was right up my alley and something I would want to write about. It totally was and I absolutely came prepared with my pink notebook and wearing a matching rash guard and leggings that was later described on IG as the posterchild for a Lisa Frank Slumber Party. I disagree, it had a t-rex painting her toenails on it.
The Seminar was taught by Jesse Taylor and Joe Stevenson. Give me two seconds while I look up their pro punch-face names…. Tuf Season 25 Winner, JT Money and Tuf Season 2 Winner, Joe Daddy Stevenson. Both had the typical Seasoned MMA badge of honor cauliflower ear, were very professional, and for a two-hour seminar, the fifteen dollars was a hell of a bargain. I would have paid 50 easy for the class.
We started off shadowboxing. Or I should say they started off shadowboxing, I mulled around flopping my arms and bouncing a bit, there is tragically a live video of this somewhere on the internet…. You know, it has been a year or so in boxing and this drill still makes me feel like an idiot. We were then split into two groups with half going with Joe and the other with Jesse.
I was in Joe’s first group and with Natasha as my partner, I spent the first five seconds getting my arm snapped off and the rest of the class trying to breathe. Seriously this girl later would hold me against the cage with her little toe; like if I was on a rollercoaster, I would trust her steel arm around me more than the safety bar. There were all stages and ages attending and it was a very good class for both seasoned and unseasoned. Joe went over getting to a kimura from side control. It was something that I have seen and always wanted to work through but never took the time to learn how they were getting there (probably because I am always the one on my back and never IN side control). The instruction was clear and the information just enough for the 50-minute section and it consequently flowed seamlessly into the next part with Jesse.
Jesse was spazzy in a funny way and a super likable guy. He taught head positions and takedowns so that maybe, just maybe I could actually get to side control someday… He made us do these off a combo so it would feel natural and then went into control while being pinned or pinning someone up against the cage wall; nail shoulder through stomach and grabbing legs using head pressure. This was great being able to work these on a person bigger than me. I love to always look at this from a self-defense standpoint as the one not as strong. I found this portion super informative as I am constantly seeking out ways that work for a person of smaller stature against larger opponents.
Both Joe and Jesse were excellent instructors capable of going over and breaking down and improving what would look like simple things, but things that are common and imperative in MMA. I had a blast and will definitely attend the next one J Street Fights hosts. Also may considering entering a smart car pulling contest…. Coming at you J Street Gym….
Follow J Street Fights on Instagram and Facebook to see when the next cage brawls and seminars are, you won’t regret it.
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Author- Christun Erwin
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