Shadow boxing

As wrestling grows in the Shelby County area, so does mixed martial arts (MMA).

Shadow MMA of Calera recently moved into a new facility in the Alabaster Youth Wrestling complex.

While numbers are small in its second year, Shadow has expanded its MMA/fitness program to seven days a week at sometimes, teaching beginning and advanced MMA classes, kickboxing and Jiu-Jitsu.

“In all honesty it started out as some friends who wanted to compete again,” said Scott Gassner, one of the founding members of the Shadow MMA competition team. “(But now we’re) moving towards not just martial arts for the purpose of competing and training, but the whole fitness concept and a healthy lifestyle.”

Since moving into its new facility in March, Shadow has expanded from MMA to kickboxing for ladies and Jiu-Jitsu for kids during the same time schedule.

“Lives are busy enough. It really simplifies it a little bit,” said Krys Wilkins, who trains in kickboxing while her sons Patrick and Taylor learn Jiu-Jitsu.

Shadow has competed in five MMA events this year and will have representatives in three more this fall. But Shadow president Jeremy Phillips emphasizes it’s more than just competition.

“It’s not for MMA purposes only,” Phillips said. “I’ve had a lot of people say, ‘I’d love to come train but I’m out of shape.’ Well, that’s the whole reason to come up here is to get in shape.”

Both Gassner and Phillips help teach, along with Wilkins’ husband Jason.

Guests come in from time to time also, including a seminar coming up July 26 by top Jiu-Jitsu fighter Eddie Bravo of California, who will bring his seminar to the south for the first time.

For more information on Shadow or the Eddie Bravo seminar visit www.shadowmmafitness.com.