Mixed martial arts is a violent sport, which pits two opponents against each other in a ring with almost no rules.
It combines grappling and striking techniques, both on the ground and standing, from a variety of combat sports and martial arts including kickboxing, jujitsu, wrestling, judo and karate.
Fourteen months ago Shaun Steiner walked into Intrepid Mixed Martial Arts not knowing entirely what to expect.
“It’s a violent battle between two people and it’s up to you to win and no one else –- that’s what I like about it,” says 20-year-old Steiner.
He has taken to MMA like a duck to water.
In only 14 months he has already competed and won numerous jujitsu events, and last November he even battled in his first amateur MMA fight, which he also won.
“I Googled ‘MMA in Salmon Arm,’ and Intrepid was the first result, so I went down the next day and I have been going ever since,” recalls Steiner
“My first day I was beat by a small kid who weighed only 150 pounds. That gave me a wake-up call to what I was getting into.”
The last jujitsu tournament Steiner competed in was the West Coast Combat Tournament in November.
Steiner recalls winning each of his five bouts in 10 to 30 seconds each by submission using the guillotine hold, his favourite submission technique.
“I am not the only one at the club who wins, every one wins and that is all thanks to Rick.”
Rick Dubois is the coach and owner of Intrepid MMA and has seen a positive change in Steiner over the last year.
“MMA has really changed his life. I think he has found his passion and he really works hard for all of his success,” says Dubois.
Dubois says before MMA, Shaun was like many teenagers who played video games and weren’t physically active on a daily basis.
That has all changed. Steiner now trains six days a week in the gym.
“He really pushes himself to the brink, and I think the physical pain he endures in a match or training has taught him that life is not so bad.”
More important than the medals and success is what MMA has done to help boost Steiner’s self-confidence.
Steiner’s dad, Ken has had a front row seat to his sons positive change.
“All young kids are looking for direction in life – a way to fit in, and MMA has given him that direction and a true passion,” said Ken.
“I don’t think you can go wrong following your passion.”
Ken describes Shaun’s school years as being difficult after moving from Smithers when Shaun was 10 and not fitting in.
He had an introverted personality and he was bullied throughout his school years, and he lost his self-esteem and confidence.
“Before I started MMA I didn’t really fit in anywhere, and I knew I was different – I didn’t have many friends,” recounts Shaun.
Since joining MMA Shaun has made friends both through the sport and outside as well.
“I can’t thank Rick enough for what he’s done for me,” he said.
Shaun has dreams of pursuing his budding career to the highest level, which could be competing on the world stage in jujitsu or even fighting in UFC’s octagon. He admits the more challenging something is, the harder he will work at it. It’s what drives him and feeds his growing confidence.