Gyms Around The World: MMA Lab

Evolve Vacation introduces a new series called, “Gyms Around The World!” With this new series, we will introduce you to the world’s top martial arts schools in every country.

With over 100 years of combined training experience in multiple disciplines, the MMA Lab’s world renowned team of instructors will make sure you get the most out of every training session. Whether it’s Muay Thai, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, MMA, or Sports Conditioning, you can be assured that their classes cater to all skill levels and ages so all you have to do is train hard and crush your fitness goals!

Today, Evolve Vacation talks to John Crouch, Elite Team Head Coach and head Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor of the MMA Lab. Read on to find out how he started his martial arts journey, what he has to say to those who are beginning theirs, and more.


How did you get involved in martial arts?

My mom got me a Taekwondo membership for Christmas one year. I did that for a while, then my Taekwondo instructor started training with the Gracie family. He brought back some BJJ training and I was hooked. I went to the Gracie Academy for the summer, got accepted to the instructor program, and as they say, the rest is history.

What’s your favorite thing about martial arts?

I love the team aspect, the family part of it. What really moves me is striving for excellence with people you love.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your martial arts career?

There have been a bunch of little things, but no real “challenges”. There are going to be bumps in any endeavor, so, for me, no real challenges.

What do you consider your biggest martial arts accomplishment?

The fact that I have been able to be a part of so many great stories, with so many great individuals. It really has been an honor.

What do you believe are the main benefits of training martial arts?

A healthy lifestyle is number 1. Being around motivated, hardworking people is also a great part of it.

When and why did you start The MMA Lab?

My friend, Jason Beck, started the LAB 10 years ago. He wanted to build a gym that had all the elements in one building: ground fighting, standup fighting, and strength and conditioning. He needed someone to head his MMA program, so he asked me to do it.

What’s your favorite thing about running a martial arts gym?

I would say it is the people that I get to work with on a daily basis. The relationships are the best thing.

What’s the hardest part about running a martial arts gym?

The money is not there. I would love to have the support that other professional sports have. So, sometimes it is a challenge to make it work within the budget that we have.

What are you most proud of about The MMA Lab?

The team atmosphere, and the sense of family that we have there.

What advice would you give to someone beginning their martial arts journey?

Go to college and get a real job! (laughs) I would tell them to enjoy the journey, not get caught up with belts or any of that kind of stuff. Commit yourself to a lifetime of learning and you will really have something valuable.

Who are some martial artists you admire?

Pretty much all of them! From the people trying their first class, to the ones that are at the top of the game… They all have my admiration.

How does your philosophy for martial arts differ from those of other instructors/coaches? 

That is hard to say because I have not been behind the scenes anywhere else. There are a lot of great coaches that I look up to and try to emulate. I would really love to see how they do things, then I can answer this question better.

More in Evolve Vacation

Also On Evolve

Targeting The Body In MMA

Targeting The Body In MMA

Long a point of derision for MMA coaches and analysts out there, mixed martial artists just do not pay enough attention to bodywork. In an age where the spectacular is sought after by headhunters and…