Knockout Factory: Sometimes a punch to the face is the best medicine
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Bottle of water: one dollar, hand wraps: five dollars, membership and hands on training in the arts of boxing, Mau tie, Jujitsu and kickboxing: priceless. This is the principle idea at the Knockout Factory in Salamanca. While the gym charges no membership fees and no personnel training expenses, the work there is simply unforgettable.
“They are offering skills for no cost; I’ve never heard of it,” Ex-fighter Dave Lyons said. “You won’t find that anywhere else.” Lyons trained at the Knockout Factory for three years, visiting the gym sometimes six days a week. “If they are teaching us for free, then I should take in as much as possible.”
Mike “Snake” Tome opened the Knockout Factory back in 2001 as a warehouse for equipment. “I remembered training a pair of girls for a toughest woman competition,” Snake said. “Then forty people showed up.” It was a boxing-only gym at first but integrated MMA as the years passed, all while running and operating on donations. Its popularity has certainly grown, with an event every six weeks alternating between boxing and MMA. Events are held at the local community center and the gym also known as the “Knockout Arena”. Even UFC President Dana White paid a visit this past March.
The Knockout Factory is a well-known name in the fighting world. “We’re traveling through Ohio on Friday,” Snake said. “But we have been traveling all over the country over the past 9 years for fights.” On their website, Knockoutfactory.com, they have a variety of photos with UFC champions wearing their signature Knockout Factory t-shirts.
The gym has a dozen fighters, but several more members, and four trainers. It serves as a public service for the community to come and work out. While the trainers are working for “kind words” instead of money, they don’t let that come between them and the sport they love. However, this gym is not just for fighters. “We have an open door policy,” Snake said, stressing the importance of what the gym is about. “We are not just a fighting gym. People want to lose weight, gain confidence, learn self defense; we don’t say no to anyone.”
What makes the gym unique is the atmosphere. “From the first day to the last day, never once did I feel unwelcome,” Lyons said. Now the ex-fighter owns a 24-hour gym in El Paso, Texas, and credits the Knockout Factory as a chief influence. “I wanted my gym to have good heart,” he said, “with hard work, conditioning and technique, but not to be taken too seriously.” Lyons said training as a fighter was more fun than work because everyone worked together.
As Snake put it, “Everyone in the gym is there to help each other get better. But sometimes we have to help each other by hitting each other in the face.”
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