Gym Review: 10K MMA (Forest Lake)

Sorry, no pic at this time. Only I could make the mistake of not checking my cameras memory card in advance to make sure it wasn’t already full to capacity with d*** pics.
Driving out to 10K MMA in Forest Lake was something of a surreal experience for me. Perhaps it was the drive out into the Northern Metro area that soothed me. Being able to take a moment away from my life to go away from my comfort zone and train in a new place. If only for a day.
Perhaps it was the frozen pizzas and six-pack of Miller High Life I had before getting in the car.
Either way, it was a trip I plan on making again.
Here’s the thing, when you drive out to 10K MMA, you might do a double take. Out in an area that looks largely comprised of repo yards and places you could get a snow mobile fixed is a non-descript building made of sheet metal. 
There is a small lobby with a desk, couch, chair and a few fighter posters. Simple enough, the area had probably been home to a dozen businesses before 10K MMA moved in there.
Then you step into the backroom- their workout floor. I don’t think that Feng Shui is the right term, but they certainly have figured out how to use space effectively.  Think of a Minnesota farm-boy version of the gym in Rocky III.
Heavy bag rack, benches, weights, all packed economically into an area only as big as it has to be to leave enough room for the grappling mats.
If I can misquote someone for a moment, the grappling mats “are where fights are won.”
The grappling instructor at 10K MMA is Brandon Smith. As it is no-gi grappling, I don’t know what Brandon’s pedigree is. I don’t know his lineage, rank or affiliations. And you know what, I don’t care.
The point of these isn’t to say who trains what and for whom, it is to learn about the gym and the way people train. 
You probably saw their "Submission Commission" shirts around the Spring Submission Hunt. Though, they shouldn't be confused with these guys:
Though, there are worse people to be confused with. 
I DO NOT LOOK LIKE LISA LAMPANELLI!!!
And I dig the way they train. Specifically, how Brandon teaches.
There is a specificity to his style. When showing techniques he showed them over and over again, making sure that everyone could see the angles, and if someone got lazy and was out of position, he told them to move.
It sounds like a minor point, but it is attention to detail. Grapplers aren’t exactly the most pro-active people in the world, especially when we think we already know a technique. It is the job of the instructor to keep us in line.
Which leads to my second point: don’t show a technique and walk away! I don’t know how many times I have seen instructors show a technique a few times then just wander off to talk to someone watching or higher ranked belts. Make sure the white know what they are doing!
Brandon hit this one on the head, too. Making sure that each group got attention and he pointed out the little details that would make the movements and submissions tighter. 
A person can have all the medals in the world, but if they don’t pay attention to their students, regardless of rank, what good are there?
I am doing my best to show that there are a lot of options out there. Minnesota is behind in the game when it comes to BJJ. We only have a handful of black and brown belts, whereas when you head out to the coasts, there are gyms that have several black and brown belts at each location. 
Competition can be stiff for students, so don’t think you have it in the bag. 30 minutes in just about any direction and you will find two or three other gym options. 
Success lies in how you teach. Regardless of rank.
I have all the respect in the world for the rank you wear around your waist, but don’t assume that respect transfers onto you. 
Hmmm… too long without an unnecessary comment…
POOP!
I left 10K MMA like I leave my women: wanting more… you know what, that’s a lie. They never want more, unless I didn’t really give them anything, then they expect more just because I’m a sad little man, but that is neither here nor there.
In my first trip to the North East metro, I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be going to someone’s garage and get ground and slammed for 60 minutes. 
The gym felt hardcore with people there that wanted to work.
The instruction was attention oriented.
The owner was excited about the future of his students and fighters.
There was a liquor store about a mile down the road.
What more do you want?
SHAMELESS PLUG: whatever they want me to post, when they want me to post it
Next up: Minnesota Top Team, Eagan.