Wednesday October 4th, 2023 7:09AM

Local MMA gym creates safe workout space

By Sydney Hencil Anchor/Reporter
When you think fitness, you usually think of going on a run or to a gym to work out, however, have you ever thought of using mixed martial arts to keep fit?
Team Doan is an MMA gym located at 470 Woodsmill Road in Gainesville.  They offer a variety of MMA classes such as jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, cardio kickboxing and Muay Thai for people of all ages.  
“It is [MMA] overwhelming at first, especially if you've not had any sort of martial arts background,” Christian Mims said, “But as a woman, it's really empowering to be able to go against someone who's twice your size and be able to hold your own.”
Mims said she started MMA with Team Doan almost three years ago after wanting to do something outside of her comfort zone.
Elizabeth Gordon is a volunteer and member at the gym and said she started MMA after she saw how jiu-jitsu helped her son come out of his shell.
“The way jujitsu changed him from being a child that couldn't talk, couldn't have a conversation with other children, couldn't play with other children, to the way he was able to interact with other kids not being bothered by like, loud sounds and stuff like that. It made a huge difference,”  Gordon said.
Owner of Team Doan and mentor, Si Doan, said he promotes a friendly and judge-free atmosphere because he knows what a safe place and exercise can do for a person.
“I feel like it just helps them [people] with their mental health, whether it's just escaping their problems for a couple of hours a day or being with people that they like,” Doan said.
Head kickboxing coach, Michael Harner agrees.  According to Mayo Clinic, when you work out, feel-good endorphins are released.  Other benefits of working out include an increase in self-confidence, more social interaction and coping with negative emotions in a healthy way.  Harner said another plus to starting MMA is learning how to defend yourself.
“It's just good to know, you know, that when it comes to not carrying a weapon and things like that you should absolutely be able to defend yourself with your bare hands and I think kickboxing and jujitsu are definitely two of the best things that you can learn,” Harner said.
Team Doan will be working with the Gainesville Police Department to host a yearly training course and will also host a quarterly free 3-hour self-defense seminar for the students at Brenau University to promote women empowerment and teach self-defense and the importance of fitness.  
The gym is open Monday through Saturday and offers a range of classes for both children and adults.  For more information visit
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  • Associated Tags: gainesville, hall county, Local business, fitness, small business, MMA, Mixed martial arts
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