GB Gym Helsinki
265.000 or 5,1% of the Finish population people speak Swedish as their mother tounge. That is far from everyone, which is why I promised the boys at GB Gym to write in English.
This week we were playing in Finland as you may very well understand from the overhead. We went to Helsinki and Åbo which are to really cool citys (esspecially Helsinki) where they have kareoke taxi, Koskenkorva, Aki Karousmäki and beutifull women who can out drink you, out smoke you and out curse you and who will try to get you to break in to the local zoo and steal a bear. But that´s another story.
Once again I have reason to thank Jesper Gunnarson from MMA Gladius Göteborg, who is the one who set up the connection with Olli Hartikainen from GB Gym.
After a crazy metro ride, where everything seemed to go wrong I finaly got to GB Gym just in time to change in to my traing clothes and get my mouth pice in place. The reception is downstairs and you train one floor up. The training facilities are really good. Patted floor all over, heavy bags and a big ring is all placed in an big open area. Combined with lots of windows this gives you a nice scense of space, and not being crowded.
The warm up was diffrent from Swedish clubs. Usually in Sweden there is running and push ups involved, but at GB Gym we did handstands, somersault across the floor and stuff like that. Antother difference was the demeanor of Finish poeple. The are much more soft spoken than Swedes. Usually at a Swedish club there is a lot of joking around (praktikal jokes aswell), laughing out loud and generally a lot more talk during practice. Not that they where unfriendly or something like that, everyone at the club was very friendly, open and nice to me. I just noticed that at a Swedish clubs there is genarally a lot more talking. The best example is probably when the trainer Mr Reima Halmetoja (hope I spelled that correctly) told me not to use my thumbs when gripping my hands togheter, because it´s almost never efficient. I then tryed to joke by making a reference to eye gouching. He and my partner just looked at me. I then tried to explain my joke and it just when horribly wrong and I felt a bit like the guy from the extras when he just keeps digging himself deeper and deeper in a hole trying to explain himself.
Obout the MMA training it was wery techical. We basicly did two moves during the whole trainig session. A few different variations, but a lot of drilling to get it just right. For example we did hip-escape from mount. And every time Reima instructed us, he said something like: remember to brech all the way up, on your toes even. It all made perfect sense as it´s the details that often matter. Another move was overhand right and then shoot. Reima told me: Remember to have a 45 degree angel with you legs in the shoot, that the secret to this move. I liked it a lot. Learning something thouroly gives you satisfaction and gives you the feeling that you have actually learned something. So we did overhand right with shoot with a few variatons and hip escape from mount with a few variatons. Sparring was only hip escape. This I also liked a lot. You get to really drill the moves you learned in a ”real” situation.
After traing was over I talked with Reima a bit and asked him my usuall questions on how he say MMA in Finland and so and so. He told me that they had about 10-12 people at the beguinners class a few years ago, but then a tv program called ”The Ultimate Fighter” started airing on Finish tv and the next day there where 35 people standing at the door. You could tell that he didn´t like the show and that´s when I really got going. You who read this blogg often know my loathing for all reallity shows. But I asked him if it could not be a possitive thing in the end, after all I firts saw Bruce Lee and said I want to learn that. But Reima said that the people who watch TUF and come to train often dont understand the training you have to commit yourself to or how technical MMA really is, and the quit. Thay just see a couple of guys fighting and drinking and think thats MMA.
His favorite fighter is BJ Penn because he is so good all round, but when I asked him if he thinks BJ will beat GSP he gave me a crooked grin and said no. What do you readers think ?We talked a bit about Swedish and Finish MMA, that when the national organisations where formed everything started running a lot smoother and that this is important for the sports evolvment. We both recoild in horror over the news reports that show little kids in MMA fights with 5 ounce gloves, and talked a lot about how to build up to you firts MMA fight. If you are a bit younger it´s good to start fighting with pads and headgear and not allow KO:s. If you are a bit older you can fight in club tournaments that dont allow knees to the head and elbows is a good way to start and then gradually work your way up.
The last thing that happend was that he walked me to the door and said, we have a sparring session tomorrow, you are welcome. I really really wanted to come but I couldn´t. But next time I´m in Helsinki I most definitely will.
Thanks to Olli, Reima and everyone else at GB Gym.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks for putting up with my shitty English everyone, next time its back to good old Svenska.