Fighting Fit: Diaz Combat Sports

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Ryan ‘The Lion’ Diaz with a knockout combo

By Adam Tatelman, Staff Writer

When I first met Ryan “The Lion” Diaz beneath the big black awning at Diaz Combat Sports (DCS), I could tell he was a real fighter. Between his tree-trunk legs and cauliflower ears (a condition that occurs with repeated blows to the cartilage around the ears), there was no mistaking his passion. I didn’t need to know that he was King of the Cage World Champion (flyweight) in 2007, or that he’d studied martial arts in Las Vegas, Japan, Abu Dhabi, and Thailand. Diaz’s real credentials are his experience, and he’s not shy to say so.

His website, sparse and spartan, contained no great pretensions to mastery or extravagant claims of lineage. As he puts it on his page, “I fought for the love of fighting.” Absent from any fanfare, his rules of study are made clear: “All egos will be left at the door, we are all equals at DCS is a rule that will be strictly enforced.”It’s a simple philosophy, and one I can certainly get behind

The atmosphere of DCS was quite different from any other martial arts school I’ve visited. There’s a small element of ceremony (bowing in and out), but otherwise, things feel fairly informal. There’s always a pulsing dance-club beat in the background as if I were in a public gym—I found it a little distracting, and the tone of practice is far less stark. Everyone there was enthusiastic and genial, instructor and student alike. Traditionalists may dislike this rhythmic approach, but it will certainly appeal to those who enjoy a more communal workout experience.

DCS is open Monday to Saturday, and the early hours are the peak if you’re looking for personalized training and a chance to spar on the open mat. “DCS Fit” classes are available from 1–1:30 p.m. every day, designed for the busy urbanite looking for a short, intense fitness test. Mixed martial arts classes are available in the mornings, while afternoon classes focus on Muay Thai, orthodox boxing, or Jiu-Jitsu grappling depending on the day. Women’s kickboxing takes place 6–7 p.m. every day following 4:30–5:15 p.m. children’s training on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

There’s a wide variety of training available. But if you’re going, you had better be ready to sweat. Inexperienced and out-of-shape practitioners will struggle from the intensity of the workouts. Be sure to bring your own water bottle as well, unless you want to buy them on-site for a buck each.

I have no option but to give DCS a ringing endorsement. Diaz himself and all his students are fun to work with, and you’ll get a solid week of free access to the gym for a trial period, so there’s no downside to taking the plunge. Even if you’re not a martial artist, you have nothing to lose. DCS can be found at 747 Gore Avenue. If you can pony up $100 a month, you’ll find quality training under that big black awning.