Story & Photos By: King Eddie
The BJ Penn UFC Gym will be opening it's doors tomorrow for the new member expo at 11am. I had a chance to pop in to the gym today for a sneak peek at what the place looks like, and what the team is offering up. I was met with a smile at the front and welcomed with open arms. True aloha from the start.
As I walked around the former Pipeline Cafe, I noticed that the place had a familiar feeling to it, but the reconstruction has done it's job. The UFC Gym is completely beyond expectations. There are bikes and stairclimbers, weights and medicine balls, and much much more. Then smack dab in the middle of the place sits a brand new MMA cage. Decked out with Throwdown and UFC Gym logos, the cage serves as the centerpiece for the two different areas of the gym. In the back, there is a 40 yard slice of football field markings along with bags to kick and punch to your hearts desire.
The kids even have a place to train at this gym, and there is still more to be seen. But everyone is just going to have to check it out for themselves.- During my visit, I got some one on one time with the head of MMA at the gym, Scott Junk. He spoke of how the energy of the gym just bounces off the walls. It's a long gym with plenty of space for all different types of workouts, and his words seem as if they ring true when you think about it. It's almost like the hot gates of fitness. Scott went on to explain that the purpose of the gym was not to poach fighters, but to bring them together from time to time in one location in order to share technique and knowledge.
The Senior Vice President of UFC Gym, Adam Sedlack, offered up his idea of how this all worked so well. .
"It's almost like Hawaii was made for this," Said Sedlack. " There's a different feeling here. When you walk through this place, there is an energy that you don't get at any of our other clubs."
Mr. Sedlack discussed how he wanted to keep things as local as possible. He stressed the importance of letting the local lifeforce behind the gym take charge and move it in the direction it needs to go.-
" This club is almost entirely driven by locals. They are so dedicated to the club and to the brand and they are doing a great job. And there are countless local businesses that are jumping onboard and wanting to partner with us. The local support has been amazing and it has really done a lot to get us to this point."
"If you want to be great at fighting, then we have the gym for you. If you just want to get in shape, then we have the gym for you. If you believe strongly in your community then we have the gym for you."
"In all of the other club locations in California, we had to build a community. But here in Hawaii it's already here. It was here when we got here. And having BJ Penn who cares so much for this community, as a partner; it adds so much more to what this club is going to be."
BJ Penn has also been an integral part of the process of getting the UFC Gym to Hawaii. Sedlack assures that Penn's partnership is much more than a name on the sign. He spoke of how after flying BJ out to other UFC Gyms in California, he noticed BJ's complete dedication to the fans. He recounted how Penn would sit and sign for every member of the clubs he would visit. How he would talk story with them, and have a unique experience with each one. Coupling BJ's dedication to his fans and his passion for Hawaii, we can only imagine the pride he takes in this monumental undertaking.
Sedlack spoke of how Hawaii had always been on the radar for teh UFC Gym project, and how he has been scouting this out since late 2008. This was not something that was hastily thrown together. The gym has been in the works for quite some time now. And it isn't just for the fighters. This gym is a place for anybody who wants to focus on fitness. Utilizing the amazing and proven fitness strategies and techniques that MMA fighters use, the average joe who trains there will get maximum results.
I hope you enjoy the pictures I was able to snap while taking my sneak peak tour of the club, and be sure to get out to the new member expo Saturday, May 19th at 11am. And be sure to check back in with MMAhawaii.com for more updates on the gym.