Friday, November 03, 2006

BattleGround Training Center

Here is an article by Heather Lightner that was printed in the East Greenwich Pendulum on Thursday, Nov 2, 2006. It's a nice intro article explaining a bit of the systems we teach and our mindset in how we approach instructing students. The training atmosphere really is one of a kind in the sense that everyone is welcome and ego's get checked at the door. Everyone is here to learn and help others reach their goals be it just getting in shape, learning self-defense, or preparing to get into the ring and fight.

Hope to see you out there soon,

Guro William

PS: I also teach the Muay Thai /Thai Boxing.


Battleground Training Center: Main Street's Gem of a Gym

Tucked away behind the fa├žade of East Greenwich's Main Street there is a secret; a secret that is too good not to share. Something is going on, something unique and unexpected for an affluent town such as this, but this is definitely part of the allure of this special place - Battleground Training Center.

The name sort of says it all - it is ground zero for martial arts and self-defense, offering members a la carte choices for fun and exercise. Battleground Training Center is something different than your typical gym; it's basic, edgy - once inside its walls it is easy to imagine you are in New York City or some other similarly metropolitan city. The elevated boxing ring is the centerpiece of the facility and is surrounded by weight training and cardio equipment; in the back stands a padded room for the various classes the gym offers. An abundance of open space and fresh air lends itself to the charm of the Spartan, yet modern training gym. The clean environment and the friendly patrons will give anyone who enters the gym the immediate sense of feeling welcomed and inspired.
Battleground Training Center (behind K&J Kitchens and Baths), the martial arts/boxing/self-defense gym opened at its current location at 461 Main Street two years ago; prior to that the gym was located in Coventry, where it opened in 2002.
"It's a hobby of mine that grew into a full-time business," says owner Chris Jacobs. "I've always dabbled in it (different forms of martial arts)."
Jacobs, who began doing martial arts about thirteen years ago, says he is interested in all forms of fighting from boxing to judo, and found it hard to commit to just one form of martial arts. So he decided to create a place where he wouldn't have to make a choice. That's when he realized he didn't need to go to a bunch of different schools and teachers to participate in each of his loves. "I can make them come to me," explains Jacobs, laughing.
And make them come to him he does. Battleground Training Center is home to five instructors and offers a plethora of classes to choose from: muay thai, a kickboxing style originating in Thailand which allows punching, kicking,
elbows, knees, and clinching (wrapping your hands around the opponents neck and
controlling them and using this as a means to knee your opponent), a ju-jitsu form of combat based on joint manipulation, strangles and chokes,
and striking,
Brazilian jiu-jitsu (grappling), which is more of a wrestling / ground type fighting that
involves no strikes but ends by making the other person submit by "tapout"
boxing (strikes are allowed above the waist only; matches are done by the round three minutes in length
in professional ranks, two minutes in amateurs) and lastly the Filipino style of fighting (taught by East Greenwich resident William Schultz), which involves training with sticks, knives, and empty hand combat.
Battleground Training Center also offers boxing and self-defense classes. Phil "The Killa" Miller, Battleground's boxing instructor, has exclusively revealed that he will be going professional beginning the first of next year. Before turning professional, "The Killa" will compete in one last fight in October, which will be held at the Columbus Theater on Broadway in Providence.
Phil "The Killa" has been teaching at Battleground for a year and a half. He started boxing three years ago at Wildwood Boxing in Wildwood, NJ. At the time Phil weighed two hundred and fifty pounds. "I just felt uncomfortable and walked in (to Wildwood) to lose weight. "I hopped in and never left."
"The Killa" is currently in the Coast Guard, stationed in Boston. He used to come home to Rhode Island on the weekends, and found the Battleground Training Center after someone told him about the gym.
After walking into the gym, he knew it was the right place for him to train. "The first day I just knew I belonged."
When "The Killa" first started teaching at the gym one and a half years ago there were just three or four people boxing; now there are six people who are boxing competitively and thirty to forty members who are boxing for the recreation. "We've really stepped up," says "The Killa", "Everything is really expanding."
One aspect of the gym owner Chris Jacobs would like to develop more is the number of women who frequent Battleground. While it is not surprising that that majority of Battleground's students are male, it is surprising that men make up the majority of the gym's self-defense classes.
"We have lots of men-we have three or four (women) in each (self-defense) class," says Battleground's self-defense instructor Kristin Marcotte. "We'd like to have more."
For Marcotte, who has been with Battleground since 2002, the martial arts are in her blood; both parents held black belts in judo but "hung up their belts" once Kristen was born. Kristen had an interest in martial arts and pursued ju-jitsu rather than judo. "I felt it was a more practical way to protect myself."
Marcotte says women should not be intimidated to try her self-defense class or any of the classes at Battleground. According to Marcotte, the techniques she teaches are simple and easy for men and women of any age to learn, making it possible to jump right into classes. "It's (the self-defense class) not a pretty class," says Marcotte, "it's just want works."
Fortunately, Marcotte has never had to use her training outside of the gym. Awareness, says Marcotte, is the true key tool in protecting oneself.
"Awareness is a huge part of self-defense," explains Marcotte. "You need to always be on the lookout." Women in particular need to be aware of their surroundings in order to stay safe, says Marcotte. "Women are smaller, weaker - a lot of women can be easy targets unfortunately."
Women and men have many choices at Battleground Training Center - they can work out, spar or take a class. Jacobs' hope is that no one is intimidated, and that everyone feels welcomed. "Anybody who comes in can find something here, from beginner to expert, they'll find something they'll enjoy.
Those who walk through the doors of Battleground Training Center are encouraged to take a free class with no pressure to join. People can pay per visit or can join the gym. Those wishing to join are not bound to a contract, however - it's just not Jacobs' style. "We do everything on a handshake," says Jacobs. "It's a flat fee for everything."
Jacobs, who lives in Gloucester and works as a tile setter and carpenter by day, hopes to go out for his black belt in ju-jitsu soon. Currently, Jacobs is a brown belt in combat ju-jitsu, a certified instructor of Krav Maga, the official self defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces, USA Boxing certified coach/trainer, a street combat instructor and is experienced in grappling. His vision for Battleground Training Center was to make someplace special, to set it apart from the numerous martial arts schools dotted across the state.
"Traditional karate schools are all about respect - the teacher gets the respect," explains Jacobs. "Here, we show everyone respect. Everyone is on a first name basis. Anyone who walks through the door is treated with respect. Everyone is treated like an equal here, it's about the best facility around - there is no place like this."
Battleground Training Center is located at 461 Main Street. More information about Battleground Training Center's hours, classes or instructors can be found by visiting, by calling the gym directly at 886-9229, or by just walking in and taking a look at the secret of Main Street which is too good to keep.