Legion Fighting Alliance shares a lot in common with its owner and head trainer, Norm Alexander. It's small, and if you don't know what you're looking for you probably won't see it. But much like Norm, Legion deserves your respect and it can (and will) kick your ass.
Norm is a quiet guy but he understands the fight game and can communicate how to use the techniques that he has acquired over his career in a way that is surprisingly simple for people of any experience level. That experience in the fight game is one that a simple Google search for his name might belie as it turns up records ranging from 5 fights to close to 20 fights. Either of these numbers are well short of the actual number of professional fights that he has on his ledger.
But L.F.A. and Norm's biggest strength is the insistence that the gym and it's fighters operate as a team. The fighters are in the gym to push each other and make each other better. It is the same attitude I have seen in gyms that have produced UFC fighters and it is absolutely the correct attitude to have for a gym to be successful even on a regional level.
The gym itself isn't much to look at. When you walk in the door you are met with a narrow room covered in blue wrestling mats, a wall of gloves and headgear and a row of heavybags. There are no frills at Legion Fighting Alliance, just the musty scent of hard work.
This article marks my return to Legion as well as a new weekly feature for SB Nation. For fifty-two weeks I will train with LFA and attempt to explain the ins-and-outs of what goes on as a part of a fight camp, I will introduce you to fighters of all experience levels as they prepare for fights and share the highs and lows that come with the wins and losses. And all this will come from the regional gyms and fight cards that are the backbone of the MMA world.
I had the pleasure of training at the gym for a few months last year before an injury to my foot and a volatile job situation took away my ability to continue attending. In that time I've gotten more out of shape than I already was and the stress of the job situation led to me increasing how much I smoke. This, of course, is a recipe for week one to include a lot of exhausted vomiting.
However this first week goes, good or bad, I will be back with the next installment of "A Year In The Gym" next Monday.