A few years ago, only a handful of people in the Quad Cities knew of Mardy Perez, head trainer at Mardy’s Martial Arts in Rock Island, IL. Since then, his team has slowly built a name for themselves in the area and are no longer known as the fighters from the garage.
That garage also got a makeover this past summer as Mardy completely gutted it and put in new mats so when you walk in you definitely get the authentic gym feeling. “I think it revitalized everybody,” said Perez. “Not that it wasn’t before, but my guys finally felt like they were in a real gym now.”
It didn’t take long for the word to get out about MMA’s new facelift and that brought in new, young and hungry talent to the already skilled team.
Guerilla Kickboxing Academy fighters Brandon “Shift” Jones and DeMarco Teague joined Mardy’s team as they prepare for their upcoming fights at Caged Aggression IX: Return of the Champions on Friday March 8th and Saturday March 9that the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island, IL.
Longtime member of Mardy’s Martial Arts, Kevin “Nite-Nite” Anderson has witnessed a lot of change in the gym in his time with the team and sees nothing but positive things in the future for all the new faces and especially for his coach. “I think the new guys get the feeling of brotherhood right away,” said Anderson. “It’s not just in the gym either. We make it a constant thing to hang out with each other outside of the gym too.”
Mike “Diesel” Duckett has also been with the team since the beginning and welcomes the change. “I like having a lot of new guys come here.” said Duckett. “We tell these new guys to always have each other’s back. We don’t expect you to win every time but as long as you can say you gave it your best, that is what we expect.” In this sport, all the new equipment in the world won’t make you a better fighter. It comes down to how much you are willing to put in.
Although that is ultimately on the shoulders of the fighter, it also falls on the coach to do all he can do for his students. Mardy Perez lives and breathes martial arts and wants to take his team all the way to the top in the Quad Cities.
With many different gyms in the area, he knows that is a challenge but Perez is not one to back down from a fight…literally. “I want everyone to know that we train hard, we have skillful fighters, will put on a good fight and show good sportsmanship at the end like it should be done,” said Perez. “2013 is my year.”