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9 Reasons to Dump Your Corporate Gym for a Family Gym

If you told me six weeks ago that I would be strapping on boxing gloves every day and punching muay thai bags until my knuckles were red I would have snorted and said, “Are you high?” Also read: Government ‘Probably’ Shouldn’t Force People to Exercise: Bloomberg

by
Megan Fox

Bio

March 2, 2013 - 12:00 pm
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The joy of children also comes with the horrors of what motherhood does to the body. Trying to recapture some semblance of my former self, I joined a few fancy corporate gyms with salons and spas and pretty associates selling banana-choco-gluten-free $12 shakes, but I never achieved the results I wanted. It turns out that quitting was the answer. I finally discovered how to get fit and have a great time doing it. I joined a family-owned, martial arts gym. The following truths will convince you to ditch your corporate gym membership in favor of a much better option that actually produces results while improving every area of your life.

9. “Do you believe in love at first sight or do I have to walk by you again?”

A simple Google search on “picking up girls” will lead to hundreds of smarmy articles advising men on how to hook up at the gym. This particular sentiment — from someone claiming to be a gentleman — sums it up about perfectly:

Utilized properly, the gym is one of the finest hunting grounds for the well prepared cocksman.

Wow. Where to begin? If you’re 20 and this is the kind of thing you’re into, I’d say that guy is right. Big corporate gyms with lots of young, dumb girls would be a good place for a sexual predator to stalk his kill. However, when you’re a married mom or dad, this is not the kind of environment that will encourage your marriage. Further, it’s uncomfortable to feel as if you are being sized up by people who refer to themselves as “cocksmen.” It’s also disconcerting trying to avoid that one guy who stalks you with his eyes when you’re trying to use that embarrassing machine where you pretend to strangle someone with your thighs. Awkward.

A small, family-owned gym that caters to both children and adults has a totally different vibe for more mature members with the goal of family fitness. Many people don’t know that most martial arts programs have cardio classes and training for adults. My family belongs to Randori Jiu-Jitsu, where we can take a variety of classes like jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, boxing, judo, karate, mixed martial arts, and conditioning and strength training all without a nightclub atmosphere or threat of venereal disease.

Is this a workout or a slow dance?

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Top Rated Comments   
What a fun article! What's not to like forgoshsakes? It introduced me to an entire different type of exercise I had never considered, and as usual, M.Fox is witty and, now hear this idiots: sarcastic and satirical. Geesh, get a sense of humor dry guys!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ok, I can't take it anymore. The sheer number of people who have never heard of hyperbole is astounding to me. Look it up. And to answer your question...yes. Absolutely life and experience make you less dumb. I was an idiot at 20 as are most people. I am now older and wiser (hence the expression...with age usually comes wisdom.) Another criticism is that this article is a glorified advertisement. I make no bones about it, I would advertise for Randori all day long because they are awesome people and have an awesome business but how else would I write about this subject without including the people I know? I also mentioned another gym in this article which you may have missed, FMA. As this is a national publication it wouldn't do much good to advertise a local business in Chicago. The point was to impart the experience I've had in my community. There are tons of these businesses all over the country and I encourage you all to go find one near you and try it out. Now I'm going to go sit in an ice bath because Bobby almost killed me yesterday.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Do "young, dumb girls" automatically become more intelligent when they're married moms?

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (24)
All Comments   (24)
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Great article, BUT...

Whoever told you that all fights go to the ground needs to rethink.
If you're ever in a combat situation with more than one opponent and you go to the ground, you're going to be curb-stomped and die. The proper attitude is that every fight CAN go to the ground.

Ground fighting is important to study, but the only place where it's desirable is in the ring, where you have only one opponent and there's no broken glass or used syringes laying around.

A good martial arts instructor should NOT teach women to fight a male opponent. He should teach her to "engage to disengage." In other words, if a man slams you against a wall, a woman is strong and fast enough to gouge out an eye, tear off an ear, crush his windpipe, break his collarbones, or a few other dirty tricks that will incapacitate him long enough for her to get free and either get a gun or get away.

Men are typically so much stronger than women that even most martial arts-trained women are not a match for a pissed-off male opponent. Women should fight a man only as a last resort, and then she should be brutal and cripple or kill him as quickly as possible. If your instructor swears on the Bible and his mother's life that "every fight goes to the ground," he's teaching you to fight in a clean-swept ring with limits on attacks and only one opponent. He's not teaching you how to defend yourself in a street brawl.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
First of all, a woman defending herself has little control of the domain the fight will occur; first, she's reacting to an attack, and second, she is at a significant disadvantage against a larger, stronger male in the standup phase. Second, the larger male likely intends to take the woman down. Hence she has a strong chance she will be defending on the ground. And third, the place where the difference in size and strength means the least is in ground fighting.

Now, as far as dirty fighting: realistically techniques like breaking collarbones isn't going to work. These are techniques from traditional martial arts that are mostly theory based. I don't recall anyone breaking a collarbone in early UFC (when such moves would be legal), and no one trains full contact using eye gouges.

The core self defense skill set should be based upon training in full force sparing martial arts like Brazilian jui-jitsu (BJJ), wrestling, boxing, kickboxing, judo, etc. The most basic skillset is the grappling arts, and BJJ is probably the best core skill a woman can have. This is not to say this is the end all be all to self defense. This is really the core skills to build upon, and there is a place for eye gouges and other topics, particularly self defense mindset, situational awarness, weapons, and much more.

One must realize also that not every self defense situation involves a threat to one's life, and techniques like eye gouges are not the first thing a girl will use against an overly assertive date.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If a woman is going to be attacked by a man for the purpose of rape or worse, most likely he is going to tackle her and knock her to the ground. Of course they are taught to disengage if possible while on their feet. However, what happens if you get knocked on the ground? You better know how to get up and run...and preferably injure him first so he can't come after you. Good self-defense training focuses on all scenarios including worst-case.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm re-reading my post above, in which I agreed with you. I was just pointing out that there's a problem with the "every fight goes to the ground" mantra espoused by some Americanized martial arts. Personally, I'm putting my daughters through MMA, and I'm teaching them tactical firearms myself, the same courses I went through in the police academy, the same courses I went through in the Army, the same courses I went through when I went on a combat tour to Afghanistan, the same courses I taught when I was sending my own Soldiers to Iraq.

Learning to defend yourself is absolutely the right thing to do, and sometimes you get caught off-guard; for that, ground fighting is critical. That being said, watch out if your instructor is teaching you to take it to the ground the instant you go hands-on. Your attacker may just have friends around that will curb-stomp you the instant you're on the ground.

It's best to teach situational awareness and to engage your target at maximum range. Avoiding the situation altogether is best; engaging with a gun is next best; maiming your threat and disengaging is third best; ground fighting is least preferable, but can happen, so train to be absolutely brutal and you have a shot at survival.

In my experience, the hardest thing to teach people is situational awareness. Good luck with your training. I hope it's top-notch, and I hope you never have to use it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Amen brother! Here's hoping I'll never need it. My girls will take MAA also when they get a little bigger. Also thanks for your service. I'm glad you made it home. I lost someone in Afghanistan and I don't think there is a greater family pain. I could be wrong but it sure seems that way. Thank you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There are some excellent youtube videos of girls beating larger men using BJJ. The one area where the size and strength make the least difference is groundfighting.

However, in terms of take down defense, women are at a disadvantage. They may have a lower center of gravity, but the difference in strength and weight strongly favor the man. He pretty much has the choice of taking the fight to the ground if he wants.

That's not to say women shouldn't bother training take down defense, they should. But it is to say that they are are a considerable disadvantage at that phase of the fight.

And the whole "eyegouge him" thing is a bad plan if it doesn't include a much larger skillset. Realistically jamming your fingers is highly probable if you attempt an eyegouge, and most people are reluctant to maim others.

Besides that, grappling is one of the best workouts I am aware of, it really works your core. Combine that with kickboxing cardio and it is the best workout around.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
wow, judging by the comments everyone like to be a smart*&^. I liked and agree with the article. While I go to the Y. I've been to big gyms and they can be ok but a small gym is nice.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Nice post. thanks. I go to a mostly gay gym. The guys look great, there is zero sexual harassment, safe, clean, super helpful members. I'd recommend it to everyone who isn't homophobic.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good on ya for finding an environment that's conducive to your continued improvement of your physical attributes.

Though the gym environment in every aspect for me is intolerable.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
While I commend those who work out, myself included. I know next to nothing of martial arts and/ or 'family gyms'.

Though personally I can't stand the gym experience nor accompanied 'gym rats'. The initial picture in this op-ed was the epitome of the majority of patrons I'd see the few times when in the corporate gyms.

Dreadfully popular, Top40 music blaring, debutantes and the meatheads eyeballing them in between flexing and doing their best 'mirror mirror' in between sets.. creeeeepy.

Running/ hashing, municycling, salmon ladder pull-up bar, free standing punching bag, numerous weights-free exercises and MY kind of music, usually NWOBHM is my preference.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What a fun article! What's not to like forgoshsakes? It introduced me to an entire different type of exercise I had never considered, and as usual, M.Fox is witty and, now hear this idiots: sarcastic and satirical. Geesh, get a sense of humor dry guys!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ok, I can't take it anymore. The sheer number of people who have never heard of hyperbole is astounding to me. Look it up. And to answer your question...yes. Absolutely life and experience make you less dumb. I was an idiot at 20 as are most people. I am now older and wiser (hence the expression...with age usually comes wisdom.) Another criticism is that this article is a glorified advertisement. I make no bones about it, I would advertise for Randori all day long because they are awesome people and have an awesome business but how else would I write about this subject without including the people I know? I also mentioned another gym in this article which you may have missed, FMA. As this is a national publication it wouldn't do much good to advertise a local business in Chicago. The point was to impart the experience I've had in my community. There are tons of these businesses all over the country and I encourage you all to go find one near you and try it out. Now I'm going to go sit in an ice bath because Bobby almost killed me yesterday.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I started out in the Boxing Club in San Diego, but only training BJJ since I didn't have time for anything else. Three classes of BJJ were all I could handle when I started anyway.

Later I followed my instructor to Gracie Competition Team San Diego. This gym, or dojo, doesn't offer boxing or kickboxing, but offers Judo, competition BJJ, no-gi submission grappling, and Gracie Self Defense. The quality of BJJ instruction is superb.

I have a background in karate, and so I do some heavy bag work at home.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As mentioned, it's great you and your family have found a place, program that's conducive to your physical regimen's needs.

Though I can see why some are turned off to your mentioning the specific business.

An aside I agree with, 'Combat Missionary's above comment.

Unless it's a slow reacting, non-intimidating wino attempting to assault you, your jiu-jitsu playing/ training will be of little/ no use.

Vis-a-vis 'fighting' takes place under controlled conditions. An assailant doesn't incorporate such chivalry.

An elbow, fingers, knee or foot to the eyes, crotch and/ or neck will do wonders far more quickly.

My sister, having 3 brothers we'd instilled in her to ALWAYS have her personal keys pointed outward, day/ night whether with or without company.

Her leaving a Georgetown restaurant with some girlfriends some time ago, they were accosted by some punk. When he tried to get physical, BEFORE being pushed to the ground she pierced his right carotid.. unfortunately he lived.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The thing is, combative training is only going to take place under some sort of "controls". No one is throwing full contact eye gouges in training with a living opponent.

In UFC 1 the only limit to techniques was no eye gouges, no biting, and no groin strikes. All else was on the table. Despite that Royce Gracie was bit, and still won the match.

From UFC 2 -4 (or perhaps 5) the rules allowed groin strikes.

The interesting thing is that Brazilian jui-jitsu, a combative sport with more restrictive rules then UFC had, dominated. Early UFC was dominated by grapplers, either BJJ or wrestlers, with few exceptions.

Now, street violence is a different matter. No matter how skilled of fighter you are, you can die on the street, cops with AR15s, Glocks and body armor die on the street. But you will be better prepared by having better core fight skills, not by relying on dirty tricks that are easy to learn and tend to be over rated.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If people on this site misunderstand your hyperbole, then you're not doing it right. I wasn't dumb at 20, I was inexperienced. There's a difference, look it up.

Grow a thicker skin or learn to write better.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I do a two-day split (4 days per week) of weight training and swim 40 minutes 2-3 times per week. Only large gyms such as 24HourFitness have the equipment and facilities to meet my needs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Do "young, dumb girls" automatically become more intelligent when they're married moms?

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, because they told us so.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All excellent points.

However Zumba is OK too. Dancing is a great social skill, particlar for boys.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As Segesta77 points out, labeling a guy who keeps looking at you in the gym a "sexual predator" is beyond asinine.

Besides that, this insubstantial article seems to be little more than an advertisement for Randori Jiu-Jitsu. It's better than the dross advertisements-disguised-as-articles that are on Yahoo News all the time, but still a bit disappointing to see on a quality site like PJ Media.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I also note that in Point 7, the author talks about men she also calls "predators" leaving women strangled in hallways. She has daughters, so I understand the point of view, but if she's talking to everyone like this, she really needs to crank it down a notch.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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