Former MMA fighter now teaching the craft

Pecos County People

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Not all fighting is bad, and a local new gym is here to prove that point.

Scrap Jitsu is a jiu jitsu gym teaching the Carlos Machado curriculum from a former amateur mixed martial artist.

Mike Belcher ran the program out of Rooney Park for a few months before being able to secure a spot at the recreation department.

He hopes to get a permanent location in the future, but for now he has several rooms to utilize at the department.

Belcher is a fought amateur MMA for seven years and has been practicing Brazilian jiu jitsu for the last 20 years.

Originally from Michigan, Belcher and his wife moved to the are last year to start an inspection company.

He is now going to work full time with his passion, jiu jitsu.

“I am at a point where I can try to do what I want to do,” said Belcher.

Since his classes have started, he has seen a good response from the community, including law enforcement officers.

After messing around in the parking lot, an officer stopped by because he thought they were actually fighting.

Now he sees officers, guards and more in his classes for the law enforcement curriculum.

He also can teach self defense, women's self defense, competition, kids and adults.

He has been training since he was 15-years-old, left for a bit and then got back into the sport.

Belcher remembers being in his early 20s watching a fight when they needed a 170-pound volunteer to fight.

“I got knocked out in a minute 30 seconds,” he said.

Outside of the cage he was smiling even after his defeat.

“I just thought, this is awesome,” he said.

Right now, his students range in age from 3 to 40.

Belcher said his instructor is 62-years-old.

There are different techniques per age group, like the little kids make the moves into a game to make it easier to remember.

For the older folks they slow things down and focus more on not getting hurt.

“Do what feels right and we will help you,” said Belcher.

He is excited to share his passion with others and to be in a position to teach the sport he loves so much.

“I've hated every job I've ever done but I absolutely love this,” he said.

He teaches several classes, all ages and experience levels are encouraged to come.

He has kids classes from 5:30 p.m. To 6:30 p.m. On Wednesdays and Fridays followed by adult classes at 7 p.m.

Saturdays he hosts open mat sessions and one on one instruction.

The cost of the class is $100 a month for a family up to 5 people and $65 for individual.

The first class is always free.

“Anybody who has any interest in feeling better should come,” said Belcher. “It's something that will build confidence for everybody.”