What do you get when you combine kung fu and mixed martial arts training? You get Chris Heintzman, a black belt in several fighting styles and a hop gar kung fu sifu (instructor) that brings the worlds of kung fu and MMA together.
“We take the traditional kung fu and make it applicable for the cage,” said Heintzman. “We train here to use the art in any situation. The goal is to take it (hop gar) and be able to apply the teachings in the street, downrange or wherever it is necessary for the need to defend yourself. It’s just in the cage there are rule sets that we must follow and here we practice those.”
Tuesday and Thursday, from 6 to 8 p.m., Heintzman teaches his class the traditional skills necessary for his participants to be successful in kung fu and in the MMA cage.
The four basic precepts of hop gar are cruelty, evade, intercept and penetrate, Heintzman explained.
Cruelty means to rip the tree up by the, roots a metaphor for not allowing your enemy a chance to come back and do you harm.
During the class, participants change angles from which they defend and attack. The use of this technique weakens your opponent’s attack and makes it harder because of the awkward angles.
The sport of MMA attracts fighters of varying degrees of experience.
“What I love the most is the fact that I’m training in something different,” said William Brown of the 112th Signal Battalion. “I can’t get this in just weight lifting. I love the mood and the focus practicing the art brings to me.”
Brown currently holds an MMA record of 7-2 and won his last competition Oct. 12 by a second round knockout.
Donald Watts, of the 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82nd Sustainment Brigade is a newcomer to the sport, but said he looks forward to his upcoming opportunity to take his skills inside the octagon.
“I haven’t been in an MMA match yet, but I can’t wait for the feeling of being inside the cage and competing for the first time,” said Watts.