Ever since Storm MMA’s first fighter competed under the club’s name in 2009, founder Storm Oshyer says the club has taken a non-traditional approach to martial arts.
“As far as the club goes, we’re definitely like a family,” he explains.
“It’s not a traditional martial arts club, it’s very low key and easy going. There are no egos, nobody calls me or any of the other coaches Master, they just call me Storm. I’m really proud of the environment and the culture that we’ve created here,” he says.
The club began when one of Storm’s employees asked him to train him in fighting. At the time, Storm hadn’t competed in martial arts for many years.
“I’ve been practicing martial arts since I was in high school, but before starting Storm MMA I hadn’t competed in about 15 years. One of my employees was looking to get into fighting and so I started training him at the back of the business.
“Word of mouth spread and friends came along and started training and we grew from there. We moved from the back of the business to a dance studio, and since then we’ve moved three times to bigger and better facilities each time.”
Storm MMA now has around 50 members attending regular classes including Brazilian jiu-jitsu, capoeira and kids MMA.
“Every single class is beginner friendly and open to the public. We’ve got a no ego policy, we’re very supportive of each other and we want people to have fun,” Storm says.
In addition to martial arts classes, Storm MMA also offers three competition levels for MMA fighters in the Canberra region: Storm Warning for novices, Storm Front for amateur fighters (this competition also travels to rural towns) and Storm Damage, a professional competition with the same rules as the UFC.
Storm says that since opening Storm MMA six years ago, public perception of mixed martial arts has changed considerably.
“People often perceive MMA as cage fighting with no rules, but over the years there’s been more public awareness of the sport. People are starting to understand that while it’s a contact sport, it’s still a sport. There’s a lot of skill involved, and people have a greater appreciation of that compared to a few years ago,” he says.
Storm counts raising MMA’s profile in the Canberra region and offering a range of competition streams as some of his proudest achievements.
“One of the biggest things for me personally is the increased awareness of MMA in the Canberra community, and being able to provide levels of competition for people of all levels of experience and with different goals,” he says.
The next Storm Damage event will be held on 29 August 2015 at Erindale Vikings Club. Tickets are available from www.stormmma.com.au.
Storm MMA fast facts
- Number of members: Around 50
- Home gym: Storm MMA, 63-65 Sheppard Street Hume
- Director: Storm Oshyer
- Sponsors: Damage Incorporated, Grand Manor Motor Inn, Signlime and Raven Fightwear
- Social media: Storm MMA is on Facebook.
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