After losing his old gym due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Darren Sherlock used the ‘tenacity’ he learned from martial arts, to find a new location for Salford Mixed Martial Arts Academy.
The gym has re-opened at 15 Hope Street, and at 8,000 square feet, it’s the biggest mixed martial arts facility in the North-West.
Sherlock had spent all summer looking for the new a venue and is overjoyed that he’s finally found one.
He said: “It was very difficult. I spent the entire summer looking at different buildings, but we’ve hit really lucky with this place, it’s absolutely huge, I’m really happy with it.”
Other hurdles have been presented by the pandemic as the Salfordian has had to adapt his training regimens due to government guidelines, with his students now having to train either isolated or in bubbles.
Sherlock added: “It’s very difficult training people under strict conditions and isolated training. Martial arts is a sport that’s difficult to do alone.”
The British Medical Journal is reporting that the pandemic is having an enormous effect on mental health with studies predicting suicide rates may rise by up to 145%. Sherlock believes that gyms like his can have a huge positive influence on the mental wellbeing of his students.
“One thing about the lockdown keeping people away from exercise and fitness, is that it’s caused a whole lot of other problems. People with mental health issues have really suffered because they’ve lost such a great outlet for releasing aggression and stress, this is their only way of dealing with it, so it’s a real shame for them.”
Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Wrestling are among the classes offered by Sherlock on a weekly basis. Josh Griffiths trains at the gym and thoroughly enjoys participating in the sessions and reaping the rewards that they bring.
He said: “You can go on jogs or lift kettlebells but nothing gets you better prepared for peak fitness than someone sitting on top of you jabbing your face in.”
Although times were tough and Sherlock was in a difficult situation, he believes the mentality that has been embedded into him through years of martial arts training, is what got him through it.
Sherlock said: “There were times during the lockdown when I was facing eviction and I would have walked away had I not had the tenacity and endurance that I’ve learnt from martial arts.”
Salford Mixed Martial Arts Academy is now back open and Sherlock as well as all of his students can return to a degree of normality as they train in the sport they love.