Gyms Around The World: AKA
Established in 1985, The American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) is one of the pioneering MMA schools in the U.S. With lessons in kickboxing, Muay Thai, MMA, boxing, jiu-jitsu, as well as conditioning classes for both adults and children, you’ll definitely find something you enjoy. Psst! AKA is also home to UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier and former UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold, among others! Besides that, it was also named Gym of the Year in 2015.
Want to find out more about AKA? Today, Evolve Vacation speaks to former World Champion Kickboxer and founder of AKA, Javier Mendez.
How did you get involved in martial arts?
I got involved in martial arts for self-defense.
What’s your favorite thing about martial arts?
My favorite part about martial arts is that you can learn from everyone.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your martial arts career?
My biggest challenge has been keeping my team together for a long time. We have been together since late 90’s and we are still together till now.
What do you consider your biggest martial arts accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment was winning two World Championships in Kickboxing.
What do you believe are the main benefits of training martial arts?
If you truly train properly in martial arts, it will become a way of life for you.
When and why did you start AKA?
In 1985, I started AKA in Jim and Sandy Armetta’s business called Capitol Glass Shop. I started it because there was a growing demand for what I was teaching.
What’s your favorite thing about running a martial arts gym?
My favorite part of running a martial arts gym is the friends you acquire and the happiness you create for your students. At AKA, my team is really like a family, and that makes me really proud.
What’s the hardest part about running a martial arts gym?
The hardest part about running a gym is losing any of my students, for whatever reason they decide to leave.
Who are some martial artists you admire?
Muhammad Ali is the only martial artist that I truly admire and respect.
How does your philosophy for martial arts differ from those of other instructors/coaches?
I don’t know how my philosophy is different. I just spend every day coaching and learning about the fight world, and life.
The Evolve Vacation Training Program offers travelers the extraordinary opportunity of a lifetime to train under the largest collection of World Champions on the planet and to explore the hidden treasures of one of the most incredible cities in Asia. Through this very unique program, we have redefined the meaning of “vacation” by creating a truly inspirational, life-changing experience for all overseas visitors from around the world. In addition to the traditional vacation sightseeing, relaxation, beach activities, and cultural exploration, we offer travelers the rare opportunity to train martial arts alongside the Evolve Fight Team, Asia’s most decorated professional fight team, as well as the legendary, world-renowned Evolve Instructor Team.