LIMA — Tucked behind a Dollar General store in a strip mall along Cable Road is a little-known mixed martial arts studio, Total Revolution Fitness.
They gym opened several years ago, a lifelong hobby turned business venture for owner Jessy Austin and his wife, Stacy.
“I’ve always loved martial arts,” Austin said. It wasn’t just the movies that appealed to him, either. Austin says he was inspired by the techniques and the difficulty of MMA, so he started competing and eventually found himself training others.
Three years ago, Austin saw an opportunity to open a gym of his own. He says he’s just getting started, with classes now open to children as young as 3.5 years old and a variety of new classes.
But Austin’s focus today is Jui-Jitsu, a Brazilian style of mixed martial arts which relies on grappling and self-defense, which Austin says is accessible to a wider audience than other MMA styles.
The gym recently hosted world-famous Jui-Jitsu trainer Junior Fernandes, who now partners with Total Revolution Fitness through his Fort Lauderdale gym American Top Team. Lima students learn Fernandes’s techniques through local instructors, with several opportunities throughout the year to train with Fernandes himself.
“You won’t see people bleeding,” Fernandes said of Jui-Jitsu, which he described as a “soft art.” The practice relies on grappling techniques like choke holds and pressuring joints, a style of self-defense Fernandes and Austin believe is more accessible regardless of a person’s size.
“You see small people able to stop big guys,” Fernandes explained.
Austin believes he can reach a wider audience with Jui-Jitsu. While competitive, Austin said the gym is open to people who are just looking to lose weight, gain confidence or learn self-defense.
“We show them their own confidence,” he said. “I love it very much. … As long as you have a positive attitude and you want to better yourself, we welcome you.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.