Rising Dragons: The Top 10 MMA Gyms Transforming China’s Fight Scene

September 19, 2023
From: Spartacus
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In the vast expanse of China’s millennia-old history, martial arts have always held a revered place, telling tales of legendary warriors and epic battles. Yet, as we journey through the 21st century, a new wave of combat arts is rapidly gaining momentum in this ancient land: Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

While traditional kung fu and wushu have their roots firmly entrenched in Chinese culture, the nation’s burgeoning passion for MMA paints a vivid picture of modern China’s embrace of global combat sports. As this enthusiasm continues to surge, a series of elite MMA gyms have risen, shaping the future of Chinese fighters and placing the country firmly on the global MMA map.

This article delves into the top 10 MMA gyms in China, institutions that are not only creating champions but are also playing pivotal roles in the widespread acceptance and popularity of MMA culture in the nation.

#1 Long Yun

In the heart of Harbin, a gym has risen that exemplifies the perfect blend of traditional Chinese martial arts and modern MMA techniques. Long Yun, fondly known by fans as the sanctuary of China’s MMA prospects, has been an epicenter for nurturing China’s raw martial talent. Under the expert guidance of “The Northern Tiger” Jiang Long Yun, the gym prides itself on fostering a relentless work ethic and the indomitable spirit of a warrior. 

Their training philosophy merges time-tested martial art traditions with cutting-edge training techniques, making it a powerhouse in the Chinese MMA scene. Fighters from Long Yun are not only technically sound but also carry an intrinsic understanding of martial arts as an art form. Xie Chao, the rising sensation in the ONE Championship featherweight division, stands as a testament to Long Yun’s unmatched training regimen. His swift and decisive victories echo the gym’s commitment to excellence, proving that Long Yun is indeed a force to be reckoned with.

#2 Enbo Fight Club

In the bustling city of Chengdu, a beacon of hope shines brightly for many impoverished youth seeking refuge and purpose. Enbo Fight Club, an institution built on the pillars of resilience and empowerment, has become more than just a gym—it’s a lifeline. The visionary behind this remarkable initiative, former police officer En Bo, recognized the transformative power of martial arts and sought to offer a sanctuary for those in need.

Spanning a vast 4000 square metres, the club boasts state-of-the-art equipment, making it one of the premier MMA training facilities in China. But beyond the physical infrastructure, it’s the heart and soul of the gym that truly sets it apart. Enbo’s philosophy is deeply rooted in harnessing the raw potential of its trainees, molding them not just into elite fighters but also into upstanding individuals. The gym’s success is evident, with nearly 100 professional athletes calling Enbo their training home. 

These fighters, who once faced the bleak prospects of poverty and hardship, are now emerging as the new faces of MMA in China. They are living proof of Enbo Fight Club’s transformative journey: from a humble vision to a world-class MMA institution. The club’s ethos resonates deeply within the MMA community, reminding everyone that martial arts is as much about personal growth and community upliftment as it is about winning in the cage.

#3 Absolute MMA Shanghai

In the bustling streets of Shanghai’s Jing’an district, the Absolute MMA gym stands tall, reflecting the discipline and dedication that BJJ demands. A branch of the globally recognized Absolute empire, the gym is graced by the ethos and expertise of its legendary Australian owner, Lachlan Giles. Here, technique is king, and hard work is the currency. 

While Absolute MMA caters to the varied interests of its members by offering MMA classes, its core remains deeply entrenched in BJJ. With classes for every skill level, from the curious novice to the seasoned black belt, Absolute ensures that every practitioner is both challenged and nurtured. Students under the Absolute banner aren’t just trained to compete; they’re sculpted to excel. Each lesson is an experience, not just in grappling but in self-awareness, discipline, and personal growth.

Lachlan Giles’ reputation as a BJJ virtuoso radiates throughout the gym, attracting both local enthusiasts and global MMA nomads. The gym has become a haven for those eager to learn the intricacies of the art and embrace the grind that comes with it. For many, Absolute MMA Shanghai isn’t just a gym; it’s a pilgrimage.

#4 Shanxi Xindu Martial Arts

At the heart of Shanxi lies a martial arts institution that reverberates with the harmonious blend of traditional wushu and modern combat sports – Shanxi Xindu Martial Arts. Stepping inside, one is immediately immersed in an atmosphere thick with dedication, ambition, and respect. The roar of fighters honing their skills under the watchful eyes of seasoned trainers is a testament to the gym’s commitment to excellence.

Zhao Zhi Kang, the former CKF champion and a shining star of Chinese martial arts, calls this place home. With his exceptional skill set and success, he stands as a beacon of inspiration for over 150 top martial artists who train within the walls of Shanxi Xindu. The gym’s mission is clear: to uphold and amplify the rich traditions of Chinese wushu. Their in-house tournaments act as a crucible, testing and refining the abilities of their students, preparing them to dazzle audiences on the global stage.

Spread across two major locations, Shanxi Xindu isn’t just a place to train—it’s a martial arts community. It’s where dreams are forged in sweat and determination, and where the next generation of wushu legends is born.

#5 China Top Team

When one thinks of elite martial arts training in China, the China Top Team in Beijing stands out prominently. Established in 1992, it has since evolved into a powerhouse, setting benchmarks for training, discipline, and success. With a legacy that spans decades, it remains true to its name, consistently producing top-tier talent ready to take on the world.

Under the stewardship of the esteemed Li Jing Liang, a martial arts contender of the highest caliber, China Top Team has crafted a training regimen that’s both rigorous and innovative. This perfect fusion ensures that every fighter, whether novice or veteran, experiences growth and refinement in their craft.

Among the luminaries who have honed their skills at China Top Team is the formidable Hexigetu. As he showcases his prowess in global promotions, he exemplifies the gym’s commitment to excellence and the depth of talent it nurtures. Those who step into China Top Team aren’t just walking into a gym; they’re entering a legacy, where every punch, kick, and grapple is a step towards global martial arts dominance.

#6 Tianjin Top Team

Amidst the bustling urban sprawl of Tianjin, there exists a sanctuary for martial arts enthusiasts: Tianjin Top Team. With three strategic locations spread across the city, this gym has become the heart and soul of many martial arts aficionados, offering expert training in disciplines like Muay Thai, boxing, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

A testament to its prowess is its impressive eight-year journey, during which it has not just trained but truly transformed countless individuals. The coaching panel at Tianjin Top Team reads like a who’s who of the martial arts world. Every champion coach brings to the table their unique style, technique, and experience, ensuring a holistic training experience for all members.

What’s more striking about Tianjin Top Team is its legacy of producing renowned fighters. Names like Li Kai WenMa Jia Wen, and Xie Bin aren’t just popular in the Chinese martial arts circuit but have shone brightly under the banner of global promotions like ONE Championship. This lineage of champions speaks volumes about the gym’s commitment to excellence.

At Tianjin Top Team, it’s not just about mastering a martial art; it’s about embodying its spirit, discipline, and passion.

#7 Shanghai BJJ Academy

With a footprint spread across Shanghai, the Shanghai BJJ Academy under the Defgroup banner is more than just a gym; it’s an institution. Known for its uncompromising approach to training, the academy has earned its reputation as a cradle for champions. Whether you train at one of its locations or all, the experience remains consistent: rigorous, intense, and transformative.

What sets Shanghai BJJ Academy apart is its relentless focus on cultivating a competitive spirit. Every roll, every drill is designed to push students out of their comfort zones, forcing them to adapt, evolve, and ultimately, conquer. Training here isn’t just about learning submissions; it’s about embracing challenges, both on and off the mat.

The interconnectedness of the Defgroup franchise ensures that students experience varied training partners and styles, making them well-rounded and adaptable fighters. For those who step onto the mats of Shanghai BJJ Academy, mediocrity is not an option. Every session is an opportunity to learn, to struggle, and to triumph. The academy doesn’t just produce fighters; it crafts warriors.

#8 Black Tiger Fight Club (BTFC)

Nestled amidst the dynamic cityscapes of Beijing is a hub of raw power, grit, and passion – the Black Tiger Fight Club (BTFC). Having carved a niche in the world of martial arts, BTFC isn’t just a name; it’s a symbol of undying spirit and fierce determination. While the capital city may be steeped in history and tradition, this gym represents its pulsating modern heart, where tradition meets contemporary fervor.

BTFC’s philosophy is built upon a foundation of discipline, resilience, and mastery. Training here is not just about physical prowess but also mental strength and strategy. Under the watchful eyes of experienced coaches, fighters are molded from the ground up, their skills honed to perfection. This meticulous training and attention to detail have propelled many BTFC fighters to grace various promotions, bringing accolades and recognition to the gym.

#9 Dragon Warrior Gym

In the heart of Shanghai, a city known for its cosmopolitan allure and rich history, stands a beacon for martial arts enthusiasts: the Dragon Warrior Gym. A melting pot of cultures and traditions, this gym beautifully encapsulates the essence of both MMA and Muay Thai, making it a preferred destination for both novices and professionals.

The philosophy of Dragon Warrior Gym is deeply rooted in the tenets of dedication, honor, and relentless pursuit of excellence. Every program, be it MMA or Muay Thai, is intricately designed to bring out the warrior spirit within each student. The trainers, with their vast experience and unmatched prowess, ensure that every fighter is given the tools and techniques to shine brightly on any stage.

The gym’s reputation is further solidified by its alumni – a brigade of fighters who have not only trained at Dragon Warrior but have also made significant strides in various MMA and Muay Thai promotions globally. Their successes stand testament to the gym’s commitment to nurturing top-tier talent.

#10 Tiger Muay Thai China

When the name ‘Tiger Muay Thai’ is uttered in martial arts circles, it commands respect. Known globally for its roots in Thailand, the brand’s venture into China carries the same promise of excellence and mastery. Tiger Muay Thai China is not just an offshoot; it’s an embodiment of the legacy and traditions of its predecessor, offering unparalleled MMA and Muay Thai training in the region.

The gym’s philosophy is simple: hard work, respect, and continuous growth. Trainers at Tiger Muay Thai China are not just instructors; they’re torchbearers of a time-honored tradition. Every session is infused with authentic Muay Thai techniques, coupled with the adaptability and versatility required for MMA.

It’s no surprise that, under the guidance of such esteemed coaches, the gym has churned out fighters who’ve left an indelible mark in various promotions around the globe. These fighters not only showcase their skills but also the core values and principles imbibed during their training.

Conclusion

China’s MMA journey, marked by its traditional martial roots and modern global influences, is nothing short of remarkable. As these top gyms continue to churn out world-class fighters, the future of Chinese MMA looks promising. 

Amidst this evolution, platforms like Spartacus are playing a significant role in promoting and celebrating combat sports in China and across the world. With its rich content, from live TV and PPVs to ‘kicks’—its unique combat-centric short video feature—Spartacus is revolutionizing how fans and fighters engage with combat sports. Its comprehensive offering of news, tips, and blogs ensures that aficionados, whether they’re stepping into the ring or cheering from the sidelines, remain at the heart of the action. 

As China continues its ascent in the MMA world, institutions like these gyms and platforms like Spartacus are ensuring its legacy is both powerful and enduring.

FAQs

What is the significance of martial arts in Chinese history and culture?

Throughout the vast timeline of China’s millennia-old history, martial arts have always held a central and revered place. These combat arts have woven stories of legendary warriors, representing tales of courage, skill, and epic battles. Traditional martial arts like kung fu and wushu, deeply entrenched in Chinese culture, serve as a testament to the nation’s rich heritage, narrating a tapestry of tales that span epochs and dynasties. They encapsulate the ethos, discipline, and spirit of ancient China, seamlessly intertwining with its folklore, spirituality, and way of life.

How is MMA different from traditional Chinese martial arts like kung fu and wushu?

While traditional martial arts like kung fu and wushu have their roots anchored in ancient Chinese traditions, narratives, and practices, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) represents a modern and global evolution of combat sports. MMA is an amalgamation of various martial art forms from around the world, encompassing techniques from boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and more. In contrast, kung fu and wushu emanate from unique Chinese philosophies and practices, often embodying more than just physical combat but also spiritual and philosophical teachings.

Who is “The Northern Tiger” Jiang Long Yun and what is his role in China’s MMA scene?

“The Northern Tiger” Jiang Long Yun stands as a beacon in China’s evolving MMA landscape. He is the mastermind behind Long Yun, a premier MMA gym situated in the heart of Harbin. As an expert guide and mentor, Jiang Long Yun has played a pivotal role in nurturing and refining China’s raw martial talent. His gym, Long Yun, has earned accolades for fostering both the indomitable spirit of a warrior and a relentless work ethic. Through his vision, the fusion of traditional Chinese martial arts and modern MMA techniques has become a reality, setting the stage for the rise of numerous Chinese MMA prospects.

How does Enbo Fight Club provide opportunities for impoverished youth in China?

Enbo Fight Club, shining brightly in Chengdu, is not merely a gym but a beacon of hope for many impoverished youths. Founded by the visionary former police officer En Bo, the club offers sanctuary and purpose to those in need. Recognizing the transformative power of martial arts, En Bo created an institution where youth can channel their energy, escape the shackles of poverty, and carve out purposeful futures. Beyond merely being a training facility, Enbo stands as a symbol of resilience, empowerment, and transformation, turning its trainees into not just elite fighters but also upstanding individuals.

What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and how is Absolute MMA Shanghai associated with it?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art focusing on ground combat, emphasizing leverage, technique, and submissions. Absolute MMA Shanghai, nestled in the bustling streets of Shanghai’s Jing’an district, is deeply rooted in the teachings and practices of BJJ. A branch of the renowned global Absolute empire, it carries the ethos of its legendary Australian owner, Lachlan Giles, a virtuoso in BJJ. While offering diverse MMA classes, the gym’s core remains steadfastly anchored in BJJ, catering to practitioners ranging from curious novices to seasoned black belts.

Who are some of the notable fighters trained at Shanxi Xindu Martial Arts?

Shanxi Xindu Martial Arts, a harmonious blend of traditional wushu and modern combat sports, has been home to many illustrious fighters. Zhao Zhi Kang, a former CKF champion, stands out as a shining star and serves as a beacon of inspiration for the over 150 top martial artists training at this esteemed institution.

Why is the China Top Team considered a legacy in Chinese martial arts training?

Established in 1992, China Top Team in Beijing has cemented its place as an iconic institution in Chinese martial arts training. Spanning decades, it remains consistent in producing top-tier talent, ready to take on the world. Under the stewardship of the esteemed Li Jing Liang, the gym has set benchmarks in training, discipline, and success, truly living up to its name by consistently churning out fighters of the highest caliber.

How does Shanghai BJJ Academy’s training differ from other MMA gyms?

The Shanghai BJJ Academy, under the Defgroup banner, is distinguished by its uncompromising and rigorous approach to training. It lays emphasis on cultivating a fiercely competitive spirit. Every drill, every roll, is meticulously designed to push students beyond their limits, forcing them to adapt, evolve, and conquer. The academy stands apart in its belief that training isn’t merely about mastering techniques; it’s about embracing challenges on and off the mat.

What makes the Dragon Warrior Gym unique in its MMA and Muay Thai offerings?

The Dragon Warrior Gym in Shanghai is a beautiful confluence of cultures and traditions. It seamlessly blends the essence of both MMA and Muay Thai, making it a sought-after destination for both beginners and professionals. The gym’s philosophy emphasizes dedication, honor, and an unwavering pursuit of excellence. The trainers’ vast experience ensures that every fighter is equipped with the tools to excel, both on a local and global stage.

What is the global reputation of Tiger Muay Thai and how is its Chinese branch maintaining that legacy?

Tiger Muay Thai is a name that resonates with reverence and respect in global martial arts circles. With its roots in Thailand, it’s renowned for its rigorous training and tradition. Tiger Muay Thai China carries forward this esteemed legacy, offering unparalleled MMA and Muay Thai training in the region. The gym’s philosophy revolves around hard work, respect, and humility. China’s branch ensures that while the location may be different, the spirit, ethos, and training remain unmistakably Tiger Muay Thai.

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