Sorry that this is a little long...
I have been at FusBoxe for almost three years. There is no other gym that offers what Sully offers. I am not saying that other gyms are inferior, only that FusBoxe is truly unique. Many gyms focus on one or two martial arts to the exclusion of others. That is not the case here. I can't imagine many other places where after an hour of combat sambo striking and an hour of Brazilian jiu-jitsu drilling, you can stick around and practice your swordplay with replica long swords (coated in protective rubber, of course). Or after an olympic lifting workout, transition into an mma fight camp. More than a gym, FusBoxe should truly be considered a learning facility.
There is a staggering amount of martial arts knowledge contained within these walls. If you come in with an open mind, you can really learn a great deal very quickly. Because we are not limited in our exposure to different martial arts, each person really develops their own unique style. Everybody's style incorporates the techniques and ideas best suited for themselves from an extensive and diverse martial arts conceptual library at FusBoxe.
The fighting philosophy you will learn at FusBoxe is second to none. This is not a place where you will be made to employ certain techniques if you do not find them personally useful. If you don't like Muay Thai kicks and instead want to use TaeKwonDo kicks... Go ahead, but you will most certainly understand Muay Thai before all is said and done. This really gets to the core of the fighting philosophy at FusBoxe (at least as far as I understand it). To paraphrase:
- Do what is most comfortable, most efficient and most natural for your mind and your body, but understand as much of everything else as you possibly can.
If you come in with an excellent wrestling background, Sully will not restrict you to only BJJ because that's the "best" grappling technique. He will incorporate your wrestling strengths into an overall grappling framework where wrestling is the primary tool you will use. That way, if you run into a high level pure grappler (be they judo, jiu-jitsu, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, or sambo players) you will understand their art enough to grapple on your terms rather than blindly rush into something you do not understand. The same thing could be said about somebody who comes in with an excellent boxing background, or an excellent judo background. Those are the foundations upon which you build your own style. I have heard people say, "Well my boxing is good, so I just want to learn bjj here." That kind of style compartmentalization has always struck me as seriously lacking any kind of thoughtful analysis. If I've learned anything, it's that the martial arts are a nearly infinite continuum where everything relates back to everything, rather than a checklist of styles. If you ever think you've reached the end of martial arts, well, you're simply a fool.
What is so liberating about this approach is that while you have excellent guidance from a great coach, you are free to develop your own style within the martial arts continuum. This is not to say that somebody in their first week of training is competent enough to start developing their style. But over time and through experience (often trial and error), we are each able to make thoughtful and informed decisions regarding our style. How do we accent our inherent strengths and how do we mask our weaknesses as strength? Sully will never tell you that you can't use a particular technique, he will only ask some variation of the following question:
"Will it work for you?"
If the answer to that question is yes, use it. If the answer is no, discard it or work on it until you can answer yes.
Something you will rarely see here is the fight team practicing separately from beginner and intermediate students. In fact, they do quite the opposite during scheduled classes. Fight team members often take on leadership roles during class to ensure that newer martial artists' understand the techniques and concepts being taught. You can literally see the organic information transfer from advanced to beginning students in almost every class.
We think of the gym as our second family. As such, you will make great new friends. Everybody is approachable and certainly willing to talk about whatever is on your mind, be it related to martial arts or otherwise. Personally, I made friends at FusBoxe who have become an essential part of my life. I am excited to see everybody at the gym every time I go to class. It is an awesome feeling.
The only thing I will caution prospective students about is to not come to FusBoxe with a narrow focus. This is not the place nor the coach that will put you in the cage immediately, even if you have prior experience (maybe you've even had a few amateur fights). Sully puts people in the ring who are both physically and mentally ready by his standards. Likewise, you will not receive your belt promotions on a schedule. My first belt promotion came more than two years after I started. But, I love that belt. Every time I put it on I am filled with the pride of accomplishment and pure joy. That belt represents blood, sweat and swollen lips. Black eyes and habitually battered thighs. It represents countless failures and, by comparison, few successes. It reminds me that on my first day, I sparred with a 93 pound girl who made me look like a drunk walking through a spider web (I am a 190 pound man). It is a constant reminder that no matter how good I get, no matter how high I may climb or how far I've come, there will always be a new mountain in front of me. At the end of the day, anybody can buy a black belt. The belt itself is meaningless; just a thin, long, colored piece of cloth. What truly matters, what truly defines the belt, is the journey taken to achieve it.
Sully takes pride in our FusBoxe lineage. I know that he is personally invested in every on of his students. He feels the pain of our failures and rejoices with us in our successes. While I know on an intellectual level that FusBoxe is a business, I have never felt like a number or just another membership fee. If you show loyalty and a willingness to learn no matter what level you are, your loyalty will be repaid in full. The journey won't be easy and it won't happen by a date on your calendar, but it will absolutely be worth it. FusBoxe will change your life if you let it.
I love this gym,