December 19, 2006

Mixed Martial Arts: An Evolution in Progress

By Collin Welsh

The gym consisted of two rooms, one room was weights and heavy bags, the other wrestling mats and a half cage set up in the corner. Guys in their late twenties in t-shirts, tight long sleeve under armor, and shorts laid stretching on bright blue mats. There was some light chatter, discussing the topic of the Ortiz/Shamrock 3 fight, and who they liked in the Jason MacDonald/Ed Herman bout that would take place live on Spike TV later that night. It was Tuesday night at Ground Control Academy in Baltimore where John Rallo's Team Ground Control and anyone else who wants to pay the $120 a month to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, take downs, MMA striking, or combat conditioning comes to train.

"I really like teaching, but I'm still 100% still a fighter," Rallo said. At 6 foot 1 inch, 265 pounds, John Rallo is a giant of a man. A Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black belt, Rallo missed out on an opportunity to be on the second season of the Ultimate Fighter reality series on Spike TV because of a knee injury. With his knee in a brace, Rallo throughout the night stops the rolling sessions to show the group different escapes. His students practice the moves with one another as Rallo walks around to help.

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