MMA (mixed martial arts) is a full-contact sport that has been around for years. It’s a hybrid sport that combines techniques from boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, karate and more. One round is 5 minutes and a match can have 3 or 5 rounds where participants are able to use their techniques to win.

Jacob Calisang is a third-year undergraduate student at Cal State San Bernardino who has been teaching mixed martial arts from his garage to others. As a Filipino Chinese American, Calisang grew up in Koreatown Los Angeles having martial arts as a hobby, but later turned into a passion.

Q: What’s your background in martial arts? How long have you been participating in it?

A: My Background is MMA because I am a jack of all of trades, but a master at none. I like implementing martial arts such as Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, and Brazilian Jiujitsu. I started off briefly with Tae Kwon Do when I was ten years old, but took an interest in Muay Thai in high school cause my uncle and cousins used to train in Muay Thai. I started training with them and decided to take up wrestling to improve all areas of combat sports. I’ve been doing martial arts for 5 or 6 years. I’ve had a lot of good teammates that helped me improve in wrestling too.

Q: What inspired you to get into martial arts?

A: I saw a Demetrious Johnson fight and was amazed at how well he is able to mix up striking to grappling. He was such a dominant Champion and he was someone of my stature. He was good at everything and had a very high fight IQ.

Q: Who are some martial arts artists that you look up to or aspire to be? Why them?

A: I am inspired to be like Demetrious Johnson, because he has such a high fight IQ he breaks people down. I also like Alexander Volkanovski cause he is such a well-rounded fighter and he makes leaps and bounds when it comes to improving his skill set.

Q: What made you want to start teaching martial arts?

A: To get out of my comfort zone. I wanted to improve my linguistics of combat sports. I wanted to improve my availability to explain the logistics of combat sports. I believe combat sports are years behind in creating systems and drills to improve player development.

Q: Have you taught martial arts on campus?

A: I’ve taught a couple of people brief lessons on positioning and footwork bases at CSUSB’s Recreation and Wellness Center, but I mainly teach outside of campus.

Q: What type of martial arts do you teach?

A: I mainly teach MMA, but I’m familiar with Muay Thai.

Q: Where do you teach martial arts? How can people contact you about lessons?

A: I started off teaching friends who wanted to learn, and people started to find out I trained through my Instagram and asked if I could do private sessions. I mainly teach out of my garage, but I also sometimes teach at the gym at CSUSB.

Q: How has martial arts affected your life?

A: Martial Arts has brought me Joy. I love to train it is fun even if I get hurt, I still want to keep going. It’s okay to lose you just have to pick yourself up. Mike Tyson said, “Nobody has Failed more than I did. I deserve all the credit I received,” and it’s one of my favorite quotes because life is a fight.

Q: Do you think it’s important to have this knowledge of martial arts?

A: I think it is important. People who know martial arts are never the ones to start a fight because they know what it’s like to get beat up because of training. Martial Arts gives you a better perspective on empathy because fighting is pain, and you need the heart to go through that pain.

Q: What are some common challenges that new students face?

A: Many of the common challenges that new students face involve their ego. You only get better with the people you surround yourself with. Learn how to be controlled and slow things down.

Q: For people who want to start learning martial arts, what advice would you give them?

A: It’s tiring, It’s painful, it’s hard. But for me, a good training session is if your mind is exhausted cause that means you are learning something.


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