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  • Writer's picturePretty Top Team

Pretty Spotlight: Introducing Striking & Grappling Coach Mikey

Today, we're thrilled to sit down with Coach Mikey, the dynamic striking and grappling coach for Pretty Top Team.


One of the biggest things that separates us from other gyms is that we have a systematic approach to teaching combat. A lot of gyms have this mystical approach to fighting. We rely on data and metrics for development.

Coach Mikey - striking and grappling coach At Pretty Top Team

 

Starting his journey as an amateur with a passion for the sport, Mikey dedicated himself to mastering the intricacies of fighting techniques and strategies. Through relentless hard work and an unyielding commitment to his craft, he has risen to become a pivotal figure in the training and success of elite fighters. Join us as we explore his inspiring story, coaching philosophy, and the dedication it takes to excel at the highest levels of competition.


  • Your story is pretty inspiring! Can you describe your journey from an amateur to a professional coach at Pretty Top Team?


I have always loved the systems in sport and how the great athlete and teams all seems to have a “recipe” / system to success . When I arrived at pretty they had this pretty process - I learnt this system and was able to assist in coaching amateurs. Transitioning to professionals - is very similar the systems just become more precise and focused . Coaching professionals is a joy as you have people with great fundamentals and who are extremely focused.


  • You’ve studied BJJ for years. What first attracted you to the discipline?


I got jumped New Year’s Eve when I was a teenager walking home. So my brother took me to where he was training to learn to defend myself better. But as soon as I started I loved it. My home town didn’t have a gym for the majority of time I was there so we ended up doing up our garage and training just me and him for a few years. He’s now a purple belt and we are both still involved in the sport.


  • Now you also coach boxing and wrestling -  how did your focus evolve to include multiple disciplines?


I think I expanded to start coaching both striking and grappling sports because I have always thought that combat is combat. There are intersecting aspects between them all and if you focus on that you give yourself a base to start from. Having talked to Paul he is very much the same mindset that it all connects and with the right systems you can develop anyone to succeed no matter the discipline.


  • What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when transitioning from an amateur athlete to a professional coach?


I think the biggest challenge to go from athlete to coach and switching in between. As I’m still fighting it is being able to take your development aside and see what needs to be worked on for that fighter. You see this when coaches are only able to clone fighters to fight exactly like them. Which is one of the reasons Paul’s such a great coach for the gym as he is able to identify what’s best for you not just what he would do himself.


  • What are some of the best things working and training at Pretty Top Team?


The best few things about working with pretty are:

  • The team - we are all likeminded people who are passionate about combat sport and trying to get better at our crafts

  • The community - the people are like nothing else, whether you are a beginner who has never touched mats before or hold a belt everyone is welcoming friendly and fun.

  • The systems - one of the biggest things that separates us from other gyms is that we have a systematic approach to teaching combat. A lot of gyms have this mystical approach to fighting. We rely on data and metrics for development.


  • You teach some of the beginners classes. What advice would you give to someone wanting to sign up to Pretty Top Team?


The number one thing for someone considering a beginners class is - to firstly make it through the front door , once you see the community and have a class you will never want to leave 😂. And to trust the pretty process - don’t rush yourself! Just trust the process and you will see your self develop!


  • Can you discuss a particular success story or breakthrough moment with one of your students that stands out in your coaching career?


I would have to say the best story is one of grappling lads. He had never competed but was loving the sport, he learned the systems , put the hard work in and has managed to be undefeated so far in his first 4 matches. Taking home a gold medal and winning a sub only match. Finishing every match via submission . It’s great to see the progress of everyone in the gym working towards there goals.


  • What advice would you give to someone starting out in Brazilian jujitsu, boxing, or wrestling who dreams of one day coaching these sports?


The best advice for someone wanting to coach , in any combat sport is - to learn the systems and fundamentals well and to be curious on why some things work and some things don’t. This will keep you running these ideas through your key principles. Also find a coach and ask questions why they teach a certain way or what they are looking at in situations to help train your eyes for your sport .


  • Since joining Pretty Top Team, you’ve had your own remarkable fitness journey. What would you say to someone who has a poorer level of fitness who is maybe worried they won’t be able to keep up?


I came into the gym at 146kgs and coming off a knee injury. I couldn’t finish a class and barely a warm up . But I would say coming in and working at whatever level you can will only benefit your health and you will build it slowly but surely, while being supported by some great people through out the gym . If you can take the first step the next is a twice as easy.


  • Lastly, you’ve had such a fantastic journey with Pretty Top Team, what are your goals for the future?


Personally in the short term - I’m back fighting this year once my knee gets cleared by the surgeon in August, looking at fighting in September and October in Muay Thai . I will also compete in bjj as well. In the long term I would love to fight for some Muay Thai titles and am open to fighting in any sport (boxing , BJJ, Muay Thai, MMA) if there is opportunity.


In coaching I will continue to work under Paul and grow as a coach, helping the team get ready for their upcoming amateur and pro fights. We will be putting some time into getting our grapplers ready for there first year of competition is really exciting as well.


 


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