I was rolling last night at Hidden Valley MMA. It was amazing. After class I was reminiscing with Mike Hermosillo, the owner of Hidden Valley, my Sensei, and one of my best friends in the world.
I have been training at Hidden Valley for five years now. It is just amazing to me how much I have learned in that time, how far I have come, and candidly how far the gym has come as well.
I recall showing up for class five years ago… My one and only decent takedown was a wrestling head and arm. My ground game consisted of 7 frantic attempts to bridge my opponent, followed quickly by a panicked tap (even if they didn’t have anything). It makes me chuckle to remember. But it also makes me appreciate for all I have learned, and continue to learn. Just last night I was rolling with several students, and Mike commented to me “Be more fluid.” It was exactly what I needed to hear. I changed my technique to follow his suggestions and (as always) it really helped.
The changes in the gym have been equally amazing (if not more-so). I recall the days of training in a junior high, when we had to drag the mats out of a stinky back room, through a virtual maze, and down a hall every night. I remember finally getting real Tatami mats in (gasp.) I remember the change when it was okay to embrace MMA (which is not always an easy jump for a gym coming from traditional Judo and Jiu Jitsu).
I look back on those days, then look at where we are now:
- HUGE amounts of mat space
- A cage wall to practice cage work
- Lots of punching / Muay Thai bags
- And lots more.
But that’s not all… That’s just facilities. Anyone with money could have those things. What else really makes me proud is:
- National ranked competitors
- Female MMA fighters that have been fighting undefeated from our gym, an are mowing through the competition (and candidly are tough as hell).
- HUGE classes. At a time when gyms are struggling due to dwindling summer crowds, there had to have been at least 30 students on the mats last night (with plenty of space for them!)
So, I want to give a shout out to Hidden Valley MMA. I’m so proud of how far we’ve come. I am grateful for what I’ve learned (and ya, maybe a bit proud too). I am blessed to be a part of this family. Thank you so much to Mike and Hidden Valley for letting me be a part of it.