Thursday, 13 February 2014

A Day In The Life: Wimp 2 Warrior.

Yes, yes, yes!!

Two things I thoroughly enjoy! Mixed martial arts (MMA) and photography, coming together for this instalment of "A Day In The Life". As a long time fan of mixed martial arts, and a relatively new fan of photography, it was a no brainer for myself personally, to do this. It just HAD to be done, and who better to do it with than the team at WIMP 2 WARRIOR.

What Is Wimp 2 Warrior??

Wimp 2 Warrior is a reality TV show that takes everyday people, with no experience in mixed martial arts, whatsoever, and turns them into a cage fighting warrior in only 20 weeks. 20 weeks!!

Professional fighters go through the rigors of training camps as professionals, for 10-12 weeks. Some more, some a lot less. This, for lack of a better word, is literally starting from scratch for most, if not all of the new recruits.
I got to spend some time having a look behind the scenes with head coach and founder of the reality show, Richie Cranny, and the Wimp 2 Warrior strength & conditioning coach, Rachel Guy. They were both kind enough to let me sit in on their training sessions, doing what I wanted to do, in order to try and capture them going about their business and doing what they do.

In order to get the photos I wanted, I had to put myself  right in the middle of a training session, to watch, listen and look around at not only the coaches, but the season 2 recruits as well.

I didn't know what to expect in terms of the types of people who were training. No idea at ALL, so on the morning of the first session I went to, Richie was going through various BJJ techniques. The room was silent and everyone was paying close attention to everything that was being said and shown. These people were definitely here to learn.

In all seriousness, listening carefully and paying attention is probably just as important as application, considering the short turn-around from starting out as a wimp and going on and becoming a warrior. There is so much information to learn, retain and eventually apply that you may not have the luxury of missing something, in the hope you'll pick it up later.

But everyone was on the ball. Shortly after seeing the technique, they would drill it, over and over again and to be honest, I was quite impressed by the level of skill on show considering the length of time they had been training at the time of shooting.

This isn't necessarily for the biggest and the baddest physical specimens known to man, by any means either. During the time I got to shoot, I noticed a variety of body shapes and sizes, men and women, with varying levels of athletic ability. Not everyone is an "athlete", so to speak, but that did NOT stop hundreds of people from applying to be apart of this amazing opportunity.

Obviously, hundreds don't go through, but the select few that do, will be apart of something great. It's mind boggling to think that not only does one want to be apart of the whole process and experiencing the trials and tribulations that come with it, but to do it while life goes on outside the gym.

Everyone still has other commitments outside of the Wimp 2 Warrior experience, like their jobs/careers, their families or any other number of things they might have going on in their lives and yet they continue to push on in the hope of going all the way.

That, to me, is an admirable sense of dedication in its own right.

Although  mixed martial arts is one of the fastest growing sports around the globe, it still has its detractors from not only around the world, but here in Australia too. All sports have there share of "haters", and mixed martial arts is no different. "Opinion pieces" are regularly drawing comparisons of MMA to that of a street fight.

In my own personal opinion, based on personal experiences and to cut a long story They're nothing alike.

I understand that cage fighting is not for everyone, but if your opinion is based on only seeing still images from a lopsided column calling for bans to be implemented, or only seeing the bloodiest parts of a fight in a news real, then so be it. Whether you like to admit it or not, there is a science, strategy and a huge amount skill required to be a well rounded mixed martial artist.

I think you'll find that most, if not all of this seasons recruits for Wimp 2 Warrior are finding out through first hand experience, in a well controlled environment and under the very watchful eye of the coaching staff, just how good, and potentially life changing, mixed martial arts can be to the average Joe.

Apart from the obvious things like new levels of health, fitness, well being and a brand new set of skills as mixed martial artists, new friendships and respect for each other as fellow competitors are also created. The list of benefits to everyone involved is endless.

A massive thank you to Richie and Rachel and the Wimp 2 Warrior team for letting me come through and take a few photos and see how you guys are changing lives and taking the sport of mixed martial arts to new levels. I'm greatly appreciative for a chance to do so and wish nothing but the best for everyone involved in the new series.

To all the recruits. Enjoy the ride and best of luck to you all. There is plenty of guts and determination amongst you already for taking up the challenge. You should all give yourselves a pat on the back.

Be sure to check out the Wimp 2 Warrior Facebook page and follow them on Twitter as well, to stay in the loop on all things coming up in the near future.

- JD the JDHQ dude.

All images © JDHQ 2014