Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from The Arena

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the staff of The Arena! The gym will be closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day. Have safe holidays and we’ll see you on the mat.


Mike Liera Sr.:
Hi, I’m Mike Liera, Senior, general manager of The Arena. On behalf of our staff, we’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Take care. Stay safe.


Coach Joe Vargas:
What’s up Arena family. This is Coach Joe Vargas to wish everybody a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. And like they say in my country, Feliz Navidad. I hope you guys have a good time and enjoy your family and friends.


Coach Jason Salazar:
Hi guys. Coach Jason here from The Arena. Just wanted to wish you a happy holidays and I’ll be waiting for you guys when you get back from your Christmas break.


Coach Charles Martinez:
Hey, what’s up everybody. It’s Coach Chuck. Just want to take a second to say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza or Solstice, whatever weird thing you celebrate. And just say that around this time of year, it’s easy to remember and be thankful for the little, weird family that we’ve built here.


Ken Dutkiewicz:
Hey, how’s it going guys? Ken here from The Arena, sales supervisor at the front desk. Just want to wish everybody a happy holiday, happy new year and stay safe and healthy, please.

Arena Team Fight Jordan Donais Prepares for Pro Debut

Another Pro Debut for one of our long time MMA team members Jordan Donais. Jordan has been a good teammate, learned a ton as an amateur and been there to push the guys before him. Now it’s his turn, on Fighting Alliance Championship, December 10th on UFC Fight Pass. We go to the Midwest to fight one of their best amateurs making his pro debut. This is what we do!


Coach Charles Martinez:
Jordan Donais is fighting for Fight Alliance Championship in Independence, Missouri, December 10th. This is Jordan’s pro debut. He started with us as a… he had done an industry bartending boxing event. But he’s been a gym member for a long time, for his whole amateur time with us and it’s time to make his pro debut. This event is a Midwest show. A tough opponent with one of the best fighters in the Midwest as an amateur and he’ll be at UFC Fight Paths. So, tune in to support.

Arena MMA Team Fighter Ray Orsborn Prepares for Pro Debut

Arena MMA Team Member Ray Orsborn makes his Pro Debut next week December 3rd for Legacy Fighting Alliance in Phoenix Arizona. Ray has been with the fight team a couple of years now and has been training hard. They called short notice and we answered. If you have trained with Ray you know he’s a dog of war so tune in to UFC Fight Pass to watch his fight!


Ray Osborn:
We have Ray Osborn fighting at LFA 119 in Phoenix, Arizona, on September 3rd. Ray took this fight on short notice, he’s been with our fight team now for a couple years. He was a pretty successful amateur, came here and honed his skills, really became part of the team. And he’s been a good training partner for a lot of the guys that have fought, so he’d been waiting to make his pro debut. They called us on two weeks notice. Ray’s always ready to fight, so took a fight on LFA, it will be on UFC Fight Pass, and he’s ready to showcase his skills.

Happy Veterans Day from The Arena

Happy Veterans Day to all who served! Our members and staff are heavily made up of active duty military and veterans, today we celebrate the oath you took with willingness to sacrifice all to protect this great nation. Thank you!


Coach Basheer Abdullah:
Hello, everyone. My name is Basheer Abdullah, I’m one of the boxing coaches at The Arena. I can proudly say I served 20 years in the United States Army as a boxer and elite coach. I can proudly say that I served the United States Army at four Olympics. I like to take this opportunity to wish all my veterans a very happy Veterans Day. You guys be safe and be blessed.

Ken Dutkiewicz:
Retired Corporal Dutkiewicz right here. You know me as your friendly front desk representative here at The Arena. I served four years in the Marine Corps, from 2010 to 2014. Happy Veterans Day to everybody out there, past, present and future. And happy birthday, Marines.

Coach Charles Martinez:
Hey, what’s up? It’s Coach Chuck. I’m a United States Navy veteran. I was in for almost 10 years, 1997 to ’07. I was an E6, made first class, missile technician, which is submarine rate. And just wanted to say happy Veterans Day to everybody who served honorably.

Coach Brian:
How’s it going, guys? I’m Brian, Jiu Jitsu fundamentals coach right here at The Arena. I also served eight years in the Marine Corps and I just want to give a quick shout-out to all the military service members and veterans out there, especially a part of our gym. Thank you for your service and the sacrifices you’ve made for our country. We wouldn’t be here without you.

Coach James Ewton:
Hey, what’s going on, guys? It’s Coach James and I teach the 7:00 AM fundamentals Muay Thai class. I did four years in the Marine Corps and I just want to say happy Veterans Day to all of my fellow veterans out there, and enjoy your free IHOP.

Bobby Winther Prepares for 2nd Amateur MMA Fight

Newest Arena MMA team member Bobby Winther looks to advance his amateur record to 2-0 tonight at Epic Fighting. Bobby has been training hard and has really proven himself to be a valuable part of the team since joining The Arena!


Bobby Winther:
I’m Bobby Winther. I am The Ghost. My martial arts background started when I was 14 when my uncle got me into Jiu Jitsu. So I’ve been trading jujutsu for about 11 years now. I recently picked up striking about two years ago, then I started getting into MMA about last year. This is my second fight that I’m getting ready for, and I’m really excited for it.

I’m currently active duty in the US Navy. I joined when I was 17 and had been competing in training martial arts the entire time I’ve been in there. The way I got hooked up with The Arena is I actually did a course through the military that The Arena was hosting and I came to their gym a few times. Once I moved out to San Diego, I knew that this was a spot for me. I knew the coaching was great. The MMA program that they have was the best in Southern California, so this was a no-brainer coming here.

Chuck and Vince have been absolutely wonderful, man. I was not necessarily a good striker when I showed up, so everything that they’ve taught me within the kickboxing classes and how to mesh it into my grappling has been wonderful. I couldn’t ask for better coaches. The goal for me is to get into the UFC. It’s always been that dream for me. My first opportunity to actually see that that was going to be obtainable was my last fight for Epic. It went pretty well for me. I took him to the cage, lifted him, ground and pound him for a little bit until he gave me his back and then gave him a rear naked choke and at the fight in about 40 seconds.

This Friday, I’ll be fighting at Epic 47. After this fight, I’ve got to keep racking up all the amateur fights I can get. We’re looking for the Epic title, after that, obviously moving into the pros and get onto the nice pro card and keep building a record there and then hopefully, we get into the UFC soon. It’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when. I’ve got a great team behind me to help me get me there and it’s definitely going to happen.

Switching, Shifting and Creating Angles for Striking in Kickboxing

Coach Vince teaching angles for striking that is applicable across all forms of combat sports. The level of instruction and deep understanding of combat sports is what sets The Arena apart. There are plenty of pad holders, but being able to teach seamlessly from kickboxing range, to clinch fighting, to takedown, to ground dominance…that’s what real MMA coaches can do.


Coach Vince Salvador:
I’m going to just use my defense now, right. To get to pass them. So when he jabs me, I want to keep this hand up. Don’t do this… Because if he throws a spinning back fist, you go to sleep? Right. But I want to step into this same idea. But when I get around him, look, I want to stay behind him. Look how I switch my feet. I’m here.

I go to here, he backs up. I go to here. So I have the body shot. So if I go to here and he backs up, look… Now he bites down. Same setup, so it looks the same. And all I’m doing is this, my foot comes forward, shift with the punch. So think of it in a triangle here, there, like a… What do you call that? A zig-zag pattern almost. 

Sometimes I don’t even throw this… That first punch. He jabs long, he steps back… I just shift. All I do is step, step. If I want to put a thing in between it, I can go by here too. Over, under, straight. All three can go off that.

So when I go through it, right, I’ll do it for you guys, south paw. I shift and I go, hook, hook… Now I’m on this corner, when I shift, hook, hook, cross.

Excellent Coaches Fine Tuning Their Combat Athletes

There are levels to Combat Sports. Lots of “coaches” can make you tired, have you blast pads, and tell you you’re doing great. At the Arena our staff of coaches are professional coaches who are students of the game with DECADES of experience at all levels of the sport. They can not only teach fundamentals but they can see what is best for each person individually and actually employ strategy based off the fighters natural abilities, body type, opponents etc. There’s a difference in what we do and it has been proven in hundreds of competitions for over a decade.


Coach Joe Vargas:
A hook needs to be wide because you’re inside. You’re going to create that power right here. That one. I’ll have my hand up. Right? One, two, and then from here, this hand has to come behind my gloves. Boom. So this one has to be wide and turn your hip on it.


So, here, push me off a little bit. Push me off. So, you open me up, right? I’m open right there. Look at those ribs. Boom, reload, boom, and look how far your head is for me. So, once you’re that far from me, I’m coming wide.

Coach Vince Salvador:
And so a little more advanced movement for you guys off the shoulder feint. One, two, right? Same shoulder feint. Now, look. Here. Now he thinks everything’s down the middle because I threw the one-two, right? So block down the middle. Block down the middle. Look. Now I go, one, shoulder feint. I’ll come around. Watch my foot. Watch my foot again. Two, shoulder feint. Get it. Watch your shoulder. And I’m already set up for the kick.

Coach Basheer Abdullah:
You’re giving your opponent the space to throw the long shots. Almost like what Stephan was doing today. He was jabbing down, throwing across, and he popping out against a guy with long hands and he was catching him every time. So I say, “Sit in the pocket. Just throw your hands up and smother the shot.”

Okay? So he started doing this, boom. Like this versus popping out. Okay? Creating the space for the long, cross along jab.

Coach Charles Martinez:
So, he’ll bring his knee up and either drive his toes in or, if you give him more space, he’ll chamber his leg out. So it’s just the angle of his knee that he’s using because he can bring his knee up and then turn it, and he does it all the time. So, it’s just a lot of knee positioning.

Yeah. And then chamber it, yeah. So a lot of that is just decided by how much space you give. So, sometimes you’ll see he’ll slide from this leg and sidekick, and that’s because there was more space.

Using Hand Feints to Set Up Targets for Hard Kicks

Coach Chuck shows some hand feints to break the rhythm of combinations and open up spots to land hard kicks at the ends of your punches, and also minimize the chance of being countered. Apply these concepts to your Kickboxing and MMA arsenals.


Coach Charles Martinez:
So I feint the jab, I show the two, my body’s already angling. I’m trailing the same side head kick behind the two, because a lot of times the reaction you get from the two is this, right? That’s the area I’m trying to kick in. So I show the jab, I show the two, and then I trail the kick right behind my two.

I’m throwing the two directly at their face, but the upper part of my body’s leaning as I throw the two. So I have this opening over my hips to kick over with. I can’t go feint, two, kick. Doesn’t make any sense. It’s stupid. Right? I show the jab. I throw the two, my body’s leaning, and I kick right behind my glove.

So I feint the jab to his eye, so that by time it leaves his eyes, the other punch should be there already. If I just go … Like this is, it’s still a feint, but it’s a misdirection. I want him to look at this so I can land here. Right now I’m just feinting just above his eyes, so I can touch here, so I can touch here. So point it at him so all he sees is glove, and when the glove leaves, the other punch is there already.

A lot of times I know that they’re going to chase me this way, so the kick should be draping in behind me. I don’t want to go hup, hup, hup, and then just be right here for the counter. Hup, hup, hup. What happens is you’re so worried about the angle of the kick that you just start going … and launching it, which is just the head kick, but it’s none of the feint, none of the setup. So show this, you get him to react to this, your hip’s leaning, and then kick over it.

About The Arena

The Arena is the largest gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction.

Our Address

3350 Sports Arena Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92110 USA

Free Trial (A) Footer