FOUNDER AND COACH, BRIAN BIRD, SAYS:
The octagon is the UFC cage, and the boxing ring is there for Muay Thai and Kickboxing. 99% of the people we train do it for fun, fitness, and self-defense. They’re never going to compete, and that’s not what they’re interested in, nor should they be. It takes a certain person to want to do that at the next level.
The reason why we have both at Champion’s Creed is that if you want to go to the next level, the more you can simulate the environment you’re going to be in, the more comfortable you’ll be and the more likely you’re going to be successful.
The reason we have an octagon is because that’s what you’ll have to use in MMA. In MMA, the octagon becomes almost a weapon in itself, believe it or not. When you have a cage, you can use it to your advantage. When you just have an open area, you can do all the same things, punching, kicking, takedowns, and everything else, but you have no boundaries. You’re able to move around, and no one can stop you. Even if you have ropes, it’s different than a cage.
A cage is something I can push you up against, and you’re not going anywhere. It’s not going to bend. You’re not going to fall through. You’re not going to bounce off. It becomes a weapon where I can hold you against it, and I can use that to control you. And vice versa, for people on the ground, we call it a second floor.
There’s the mat on the ground and then a wall they can use to get up. They roll themselves back up to the wall so they can use it to climb up and get back on their feet. It’s almost a whole style in itself that you have to learn. It’s something that takes a lot of knowledge. If you only learn what happens in the middle, you’re missing a giant part of being successful in MMA.
DO MOST GYMS HAVE AN OCTAGON?
No, very few do. An octagon is a very expensive piece of equipment, but it pays off. It’s phenomenal for giving fighters the ability to learn important skills.
It’s also an intimidating thing. Have you ever been inside a cage? Can you think about what it would feel like to step inside a cage? The door locks, somebody is standing across from you, and you have nowhere to go. It is a scary thought, right? The first time many fighters experience that is in a fight in front of a crowd and people are cheering.
We get the ability to do that every single day in our gym, again, again, and again. It becomes home. It becomes comfortable, and you get used to it, so it’s not a big deal. Psychologically, it’s very nice to have the ability for fighters to train inside an octagon. It’s the same with the boxing ring.
THE BOXING RING IS THERE FOR MUAY THAI AND KICKBOXING.
Some of our guys box as well, and that’s the same thing. Getting inside the ring is different from a cage. The shape is different. You can get stuck in a corner in a boxing ring. The guy can back you into the corner, and you have to learn how to get out of there. It’s different than an octagon cage.
There are ropes in the ring, but those ropes also have give. You have to learn how that feels. When you’re pushed against, or you’ve put a guy against the ropes, it’s the same concept. You have to get comfortable, and you have to understand the limitations, like your range or where you have to go. You have to understand how to get out of the corners or use the corners to your advantage. It’s a whole other style again.
When you think about a boxing fight or a Kickboxing fight, one of the things you often hear in boxing is ring control. What does that mean? That’s an understanding of where to keep your opponent in the ring, so you have the best advantage. If I’m striking you and you’re in the corner, you can’t go left and right. Ok, where are you going to go? It changes the game dramatically.
Having a boxing ring for Muay Thai fighters, kickboxers, and boxers is very advantageous. They get comfortable in it. They learn how to use it. Having a cage for MMA fighters is the same. They get comfortable, and they learn how to use it. That’s why we have both.