Hong Kong. Once known for its crowded, narrow streets smelling of bizarre and tasty delicacies overhung by precariously mounted two-story high neon mahjong parlor signs, Hong Kong has year by year transformed itself into a sparkling mountainous waterfront gem; a maze of marble-lined malls and mirrored superstructures. If Bruce Lee were alive here today, would he still be espousing the path of least resistance, or would he be a multi-media mogul, sitting atop a stacked portfolio of dojos and holding meetings in his own private octagon? If it were the latter, then he would likely be parked in the Aon China Building’s first floor smack in the middle of Central, with a full-length balcony overlooking the city’s greatest icons, Coach and LV.
That is precisely where Co-founder Cole Sirucek sits today. The ultra-entreprenuer is a life-long martial arts enthusiast, a Gordinho purple belt, and married to a medaled judo black belt. He’s overseen hundreds of millions of dollars of investments, and tracked hundreds of millions of feet across the Gobi and Sahara deserts and up Mt Kilimanjaro. Cole’s newest expedition – for the next nine years – is to transform Hong Kong’s fitness-concious finance-savvy fierce and fashionable Centralites into an army of martial arts moguls with the opening of the Epic MMA Club.
The US-born Sirucek has lived all over Asia and accumulated a wide array of experiences with indigenous martial arts and astute observations of expat interaction. His most recent locale of residence has been Singapore, arguably the forerunner of the MMA boom in Asia via Sentosa World’s international Martial Combat series, the subsequently organized One FC promotion and network, and the stellar MMA institution Evolve MMA, of which Cole was a member. The scale and flavor of what he is creating in Hong Kong is obviously in part influenced by his experiences there.
The sheer size of the Epic MMA Club is enough to make anyone even remotely enamored with a boxing glove or sweaty gi drop to one knee and issue a marriage proposal – it is roughly 15,000sf. On the ‘striking’ side of the gym – although it is still in build out – sits an assembled full size MMA cage and a wall-length rack for ten slidable banana bags is installed. They seem to be miles apart from one another. There will be an assortment of striking gear from speedballs to mammoth 500-pound heavy bags, and when your gloves get sweaty, stick them on the jet air rack. On the ground work side, the open area for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu totals over 5,000sf. No, that is not a typo. A gymnast wanting to practice a floor routine would be perfectly comfortable with the space. When you take off your gi, don’t make origami and stuff it back in your briefcase – throw it in the bin and it will be washed and back in your locker for your next session.
As if that weren’t enough, factor in 2,000sf of fitness-related space and gear for TRX, a lounge area, wifi, ten showers in the men’s bath area, video security, and a full-size boxing ring.
Cole has an interesting personal belief behind the concept of Epic MMA Club. “Everyone is always talking about martial arts ‘hardware’ as being the important aspect of a gym,” he states (of which they will definitely have no shortage). “But I believe it is all about the ‘software’.”
What is gym ‘software’? Black belts. Lots of them.
- Carlson Gracie Team black belt and BJJ Revolution Team’s founder Rodrigo Medeiros
- Hong Kong’s beloved Silvio Braga returning to the scene
- Black belt Marcus “Kiko” Cacella with some MMA under his belt
- Medeiros black belt Mike Power
- Hong Kong’s resident Muay Thai champion and MMA fighter Vuyisile Colossa
- Thai coach Viriya Sripaew
- Eminent Air Bangkok’s Somkid Khonthong