SARASOTA -- Crazy Monkey, a mixed martial arts program that hails from South Africa, opened its first location in Florida last week in a strip of offices off Professional Parkway East.
The training blends old-school, traditional martial arts with more modern self defense techniques. The result: A high-intensity workout that strengthens the body, the mind and leadership skills.
"This is a functional martial art that teaches you techniques and the mental game needed to apply those techniques in high stress situations," said owner and trainer Jon Moore. "There's a lot of martial arts that look pretty. Those techniques are used in the movies, but a person's ability to actually use those techniques in a life or death situation is low."
In traditional martial arts schools, many of the techniques and application have been lost or watered down over time, making them not as effective, said Moore, who has been training in martial arts and martial sports since age 10. At Crazy Monkey, customers will learn how to fight and defend themselves -- for real. And they'll grasp how to solve problems under stress and become better leaders in the workplace.
"I can show you the neu
roscience we use to require your brain to perform better under stress -- to overcome problems that we have in our lives from simple everyday problems to extreme conflicts like a martial arts situation," Moore said.
John Frye, a former Green Beret with the U.S. Army, just began training with Moore and is impressed with the quality of the program.
"I wanted a system that was equally mental as much as physical and I like the real world application," said Frye, 35. "We work on combat breathing, awareness training, systematic response. These ethereal experiences that you don't get much training on in life."
Frye said Crazy Monkey has reduced stress, helped with confidence and chaotic real world situations.
"Jon is an incredible teacher," he said. "He is extremely knowledgeable, patient and very approachable."
Crazy Monkey was developed in South Africa by a man named Rodney King. One of King's early clients saw two tribes of monkeys fighting. One tribe defended themselves using one of King's signature moves, a blocking approach called the "cover and roll." Soon after, King named his program after the wise apes.
Moore is not new to Crazy Monkey. He moved his location from Virginia to the Lakewood Ranch area for the beautiful weather, diverse culture and Florida's agreeable tax structure. He and his wife, Christine, live in Bradenton.
When a new client comes into the studio, Moore talks to them about their goals. Then the client decides whether they want one-on-one training or group training along with clients who have similar goals and interests. Moore promises no more than six people to a group.
"What clients will learn on the mat is going to improve performance in everyday life," he said.
Crazy Monkey is located at 7353 International Place #303. Visit suncoastcrazymonkey.com for more info.
Sabrina Rocco, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @sabrinarocco.