Recently I caught up with Tanisha Degenhardt and Curtis Marsh from Back Alley MMA based in Devon, Alberta, Canada. Check out what Tanisha and Curtis had to say:
So tell us about Back Alley MMA?
Back Alley MMA is a group of people who got together with the mutual interest for health and fitness. We spar in a buddy’s garage where we’ve been donated equipment and mats. We teach each other and anyone who wants to learn. The other part of Back Alley is the clothing line, which is set to launch early Feb if all goes according to plan. Our goal with that is to provide quality clothing at affordable prices. To us it isn’t about the money or the fame, it’s about helping the community. Both local and worldwide.
What made you want to start Back Alley MMA?
Martial Arts has always been a passion of mine. As I got older I made some wrong decisions and when I finally figured out the path that I wanted to be on, most would have assumed I was too old and it was too late. Being told I would never amount to anything in the MMA world gave me reason to try harder, to never give up, to keep fighting, and never underestimate the underdog. We want to look back in years to come and see that we left something behind that could benefit people. Whether its in Martial Arts or just normal Health and Fitness. Everyone should be able to afford and proudly wear MMA clothing and equipment, and that is our main goal. Our target will be all ages, shapes, and body sizes. We’ve noticed that it is especially hard to find MMA clothing in kids and baby sizes. So that has been a big focus in our planning stages.
What message is Back Alley MMA trying to send to the MMA community?
We hope to inspire the young generation, and give new hope to the older generation. Old dogs can learn new tricks. We have plans to get involved with the youth in our communities, and also all over the world through social media. Give them something new to be involved in and to work towards, and an outlet. We also hope to be able to outfit MMA fighters in top quality gear that’s affordable.
Talk to us about the sort of people you currently have training at Back Alley MMA?
Most of the guys have some MMA training and spar together every night. We started off with just two guys, and have been growing and growing. We have guys of all ages and at different levels of training. We currently have people experienced in wrestling, ju jitsu, muay thai, and tae kwon do. One of our guys have trained in the local Hayabusa Training Centre. Together we teach each other and learn off of each other.
What sort of trainers are you looking for to join your MMA team?
We are currently looking for some actual trainers in a range of Martial Arts to teach us properly and expand our knowledge of all Martial Arts. Some of our guys have hopes to join the MMA Community in cage fighting and some of them just want to learn for themselves.
We understand one on your co-owners Curtis Marsh is planning on getting in the cage next year; what can you tell us about Curtis?
Curtis Marsh is 29 years old with tae kwon do experience. He is currently 6’1, weighing 190, with a 77″ reach. He is originally from Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, Canada. He currently resides in Devon, Alberta, Canada. In our community he is a big role model for all ages and has been the reason most of our guys have joined in training. Two years ago Curtis was slightly overweight and was not doing anything to improve his physical fitness. He has a big passion for MMA, and used that to put his life back together. He is now in great physical shape and has extensive knowledge of a range of Martial Arts, though no professional training. He hopes to find a trainer or two to come in and train with so he can pursue a future in cage fighting. In Back Alley he is known for powerful striking. He has incredible kicks and can use both his left and right hand equally for finishing. Any of the boys would gladly tell you stories. He has the upmost respect for anyone currently in the MMA community, and spends countless hours reviewing techniques and strategies.
What does 2014 hold for Back Alley MMA?
2014 holds the launch of our website, the start of our clothing line, and the beginning of our search for trainers. 2013 was our planning stages and we are excited to use 2014 to put some reality into all that we aim to do.
What are the long-term goals for Back Alley MMA?
Back Alley hopes to be a company that encourages both young and old to improve their physical fitness and maybe consider a future in the MMA Community. We aim to provide every person the equal chance to buy and proudly wear MMA clothing that is top quality. People in our community have to wait until Christmas or Birthdays to be able to own a high quality MMA Shirt or Fight short. Our goal is to give people the opportunity to wear our clothing and have it not break the bank. We hope to inspire people to get into shape and be healthy. Obesity is a problem across our nation, and anything we can do to help the younger generation not fall into that category is important. We believe it is everyone’s responsibility to teach them how to live healthier.