Started six months ago by Mahopac-native brothers Matt and Sam Stern, Bad Mikey’s Family MMA (named after their cancer-surviving younger brother) has had an incredible response from the community.
“I believe we’re probably the number one or number two fastest growing businesses in Mahopac right now,” Matt said. “Every month we’re growing by leaps and bounds.”
The “MMA” stands for mixed martial arts, a sport that has exploded in the public consciousness over the last ten years. Bad Mikey’s offers training in wrestling, boxing, kickboxing, jiu jitsu, and the Israeli-developed Krav Maga.
“Krav Maga is basically what the Israeli military created by taking the most effective techniques… from styles across the world that would be used for a street-style encounter,” Sam said. “And they discarded the rest of the techniques that didn’t fit into that box.”
The benefits of MMA training are both physical and psychological.
“Parents are looking for a place where their children can gain self-confidence, where they can walk into a school or any setting, and be comfortable in their own skin,” Matt said. “[The goal is to] take a kid who’s maybe a little bit nervous, or scared, or insecure, and through constant positive reinforcement, build him up into whoever he wants to be…. That he could do anything he wants to accomplish. We’re just a positive-reinforcement factory.
“These kids get fear out of their system.”
According to Matt, one also gets a highly efficient workout that you don’t get at the gym.
“A lot of people are getting bored doing the same-old, same-old at the gym,” Matt said. “They’re just sick of it. Looking in a mirror doing hammer curls or standing on a treadmill and running in place for ten minutes…. You can come into our facility and in one half hour, it’s the same workout as going into the gym for two hours, absolutely every time.”
It can also be invaluable in real-life.
“There’s just weird people out there,” Sam said. “We live in a weird world…. There’s just some strange individuals that turn very quickly to violence. Martial arts has completely paid off… in the 50 to 100 physical altercations that never occurred because I was able to verbally articulate and diffuse the situation between people.”
“Once you train for a number of years and you know what you’re capable of doing to someone, it’s best off that you don’t fight somebody,” Matt added. “Unless it’s needed to defend yourself it’s the last thing you ever want to do because you’re going to hurt somebody. So you don’t need to do it anymore. You’re able to avoid fights when you have the confidence.”
The tone of Bad Mikey’s is very different from many martial arts training facilities.
“Most martial arts settings, if you walk in late you are done,” Matt said. “You are getting chastised. The master is going to make an example of you if he doesn’t lock you out of the door. Everyone’s not talking, everyone’s in form, they [create] a disciplined type of setting.
“Ours is different. We have music playing. There is a huge circuit of people doing different things. You can walk in late, you can leave early. There’s no master yelling at you. We have great coaches and instructors who are friends of yours. They’ll gain your respect quickly not by yelling at you but by their technique.
“It’s for the working man. It’s for a guy who’s 41 years old, getting off late from work who wants to get a half hour workout in. He can jump into a class at any time, put his gloves on, and leave early if he has to get his kids.”
Bad Mikey’s Family MMA is located at 571 Route 6 in Mahopac, phone number (845) 628-6453, and online at badmikeys.com.
By Larry Miles