Becoming a member of Terror Squad
I have been visiting some MMA Gyms of late and in true dedicated fashion, been joining in with classes to get a feel for what is involved. This time I visited MMA Terror Squad in Rainham, Essex on a nice warm evening in June. MMA Terror Squad is the brain child of awesome fighter Spencer Hewitt.
Spencer has an MMA record of 8-2-0 but has also competed in European and World championships in BJJ. Having been involved in BJJ for over ten years, most people think Spencer is purely a ground game fighter. If you look at his fight statistics, out of the eight wins, seven have come by Submission. So you wouldn’t be wrong if you did think Spencer was an ace on the ground. Yet at UCMMA 26 ‘The Real Deal’ Spencer took on the young talented Cory Tait. Everyone knew this was going to be a good fight but no one expected the result. Spencer KO’d Cory in just 10 seconds of round 1 proving his stand up is as good as his ground game.
Spencer explained that he kept quiet about his stand up game so as to surprise the crowd at The Troxy. What people may not know is his brother Ross is an ex professional boxer so he was training hard and working on his stand up before the fight against Cory. Now the secret is out, I reckon we will see more of Spencer’s awesome KO power in future fights. I originally got in touch with Spencer after watching one of his team, Makunga Banduku make his pro debut and I was blown away by this new fighter and wanted the interview. But having researched more about Spencer, I was feeling the nerves as I made my way to MMA Terror Squad, I was still excited about watching a class as I didn’t think I would be able to join in due to an injury I had picked up earlier in the week. I arrived at the Origin Gym on Rainham New Road and headed to the MMA Terror Squad gym upstairs.
On arrival, Spencer was teaching a private lesson with a young man. If I hadn’t realised about Spencer’s punching power before, I certainly did now. This young man was taking body shots which had me wincing in sympathy. Already, I was impressed by the gym with a boxing ring, and matted area for BJJ. The mirrors are a great idea but not when you hate looking at your reflection, made worse by the fit able bodied people who were starting to arrive. I kept quiet, watching the private lesson until it ended and then I had a little chat with Spencer before the BJJ class started.
We talked about Makunga and how he seemed to be having a hard time since his debut fight. A lot of people have been calling Makunga out and Spencer was surprised by this as Makunga is only at the beginning of his career. I can honestly say that Makunga came across as quite shy and very polite when I met him so I think the hard time he is getting is unjustified.
Spencer went on to tell me that his brother Ross has adapted standard boxing techniques to make them work better for MMA fighting. In normal boxing there obviously isn’t any clinches or take downs and in MMA you can be punched in any situation so Ross has worked hard at teaching the fighters how to protect themselves and come forward in different scenarios.
The BJJ class started with about twenty guys all ready to roll. I really wanted to join in with the BJJ but I didn’t want to injure my already sore thigh anymore so I decided to watch. I was laughing in relief when it came to the warm up as I quite honestly would have died of embarrassment if I had joined in!! Double forward rolls whilst holding onto the ankles of your partner and then tunnels made by the guys with people crawling underneath. My big butt would not have fit underneath the svelte figures of these guys! But next time I go, I will just go for it anyway, bum and all!I haven’t seen warm ups like this before and Spencer said he has picked up the different techniques from various places he has been. I must say it made it look fun and although everyone was working hard, you could see they enjoyed it.
I watched as Spencer then ended the warm up and started to teach the guys actual moves. Everyone including myself was enthralled and listening and watching as Spencer made it look easy. I found Spencer to be a very clear communicator, who showed the moves so that they were easy to understand which certainly helped the guys who were training when it came to their turn. And how can I not say that Spencer totally reminded me of Gary Kemp! Maybe not the looks but definitely the voice! I was actually disappointed that I couldn’t join in the class but that just means I get to go again!
Whilst I was watching, Spencer decided I should have a go at boxing with Ross. Time for a tummy flip…….an ex professional boxer and me! Coupled with the fact I was not dressed for training, I was giggling at myself already. I love watching boxing and kickboxing but when it comes to joining in, until this day, I have always preferred the BJJ. Here came the first obstacle of trying to get through the ropes. Remember I had a sore thigh so it was more awkward than usual (that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it)! I decided I wouldn’t fit through the ropes and attempted to crawl underneath the bottom one but ever the gentleman, Ross held the ropes open and I eventually got through and it was time for me to tie my hair back and let Ross put my gloves on!
We started off with me doing a jab, punch, left hook, punch on the pads. I am actually not stupid but when I got into it, I was forgetting what order and hand I was meant to be using on a few occasions! But when Ross told me to imagine I was punching my partner who is also my photographer, I got a bit of oomph and found I liked it! Coordination is definitely not my strong point! Just when I got the hands right, I then had to worry about my feet. I honestly think anyone who can manage both straight off must be a natural! The next ten minutes were concentrated on me keeping my feet shoulder width apart and remembering to move with the lead leg but never closing the back leg in. I understood it but executing it was another thing entirely!!! But you know what I gave it a good go and Ross was very patient and I think my instinct to protect myself is there at least, because when Ross told me, he would push me over if I didn’t keep my legs in the right stance, I was ready and determined to get it right! And then when he moved towards me I did use my gloved hands to block what I assumed was going to be a gentle shot. I think Ross found this amusing as he said ‘I wasn’t going to hit you’!
I built up a sweat after about a minute. I am not used to exercising but I love sweating when I am doing something interesting. I really enjoyed the pad work and learned the best way to punch to protect myself and not fall over! I also managed to block out the rest of the room and didn’t feel self-conscious at all which was a big surprise to me as I am always paranoid! I think I may be starting the boxing as well as the BJJ now! Purely for exercise as I do not have it in me to be a fighter, I am just too nice!
Before the end of the evening, Spencer got in the ring with Ross and did some pad work. Obviously I was better but Spencer certainly did well he has huge amounts of power in those hands. I stood open mouthed as he danced around the ring landing hard shots. Wow!
I couldn’t believe just how quick the evening had gone. It was time to wrap up the BJJ lesson and for me to down my gloves until another day. All that was left to do was take some photographs of the up and coming fighters of MMA Terror Squad and believe me there will be many that you will soon be hearing about. And of course to take some photographs of the Hewitt Brothers.
Spencer next fights at CFC on June 30 in Brentwood. He takes on Marty Kayes for the Flyweight Title and we will definitely be there cheering him on. On the same card there will be other MMA Terror Squad guys fighting so we will be sure to bring you the results as they happen via Twitter and in our review. I want to thank Spencer and Ross for allowing me access to their gym and letting me watch the talent that is building at MMA Terror Squad. And also for being patient with me in the ring, anyone who can do that, deserves a medal! And of course, I am looking forward to the stag weekend later this year!!!!
For more information on the classes, teachers and fighters at MMA Terror Squad check out the website http://www.mmaterrorsquad.co.uk