BUILDING CHAMPIONS: NXG Combat Sports offers training in multiple MMA disciplines
Published 4:03 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Editor’s note: This article originally published in the February 2023 edition of “Chilton County Wellness.” Copies are available at The Clanton Advertiser, 1109 Seventh Street N in Clanton.
STORY & PHOTOS BY CAREY REEDER
NXG Combat Sports in Clanton has changed the game locally on how to try a new way to get in better shape. The NXG team is committed to multiple disciplines and willing to share their years of skills and knowledge to those looking to get involved in one of the fastest growing sports in the world — mixed martial arts.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai are the biggest disciplines that NXG offers throughout its programs. The programs at NXG range from age 5 up to adult only programs. There is also a competition team for those who want to get competitive with their discipline.
However, being a fighter is not the expectation for anyone who walks through the NXG doors.
“Here, we cater to everyone — family, lawyers, janitors, cops,” Josh Hubbard, NXG coach and professional MMA fighter, said. “If you want to be a competitor, then we got you. However, this is not a place where that is a requirement. Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu is for everybody, and NXG is even broader.”
Hubbard has been a professional fighter since his early 20s and is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Hubbard said BJJ is not only a discipline to help people stay in shape, but one that can help people in multiple ways.
“Jiu-Jitsu is a vehicle for your life, and it makes you aware of the possibilities that could happen,” Hubbard said.
“It makes you understand your body more as far as things you did not know your body could do.”
Hubbard highlighted being able to take the everyday stresses of life and put them out in the open before a training session. The next hour those people get to forget about everything and just focus on the drilling and technique for that day.
“You get to build relationships with other people (here),” Hubbard said. “Before you know it, you have a family here with an outlook on things that you would never have been able to gather before.”
Hubbard got involved with coaching at NXG because he enjoyed being able to instill his skills into those looking to get involved with MMA.
“If competition stopped tomorrow, I would still be in here,” Hubbard said. “It is a great escape, and you will leave one percent better at something every time you come.”
If someone wants to get involved with MMA at NXG, they will need to complete the first step. That is most of the time the hardest, according to Hubbard.
“The first step is just showing up,” Hubbard said. “It sounds like the easiest thing, but the hardest part is just showing up. Getting here, getting on the mats and getting that part over with … That is as easy as it is to get involved in Jiu-Jitsu or kickboxing.”
Lucas Kuykendall, a resident of Chilton County, began training at NXG in 2020. In only three years, Kuykendall has competed in, and won, multiple national grappling competitions.
Kuykendall found NXG by bringing his son to his first trial class.
“I brought him in to do a trial class, and I made it about halfway through the class before I signed both of us up,” Kuykendall said. “From there on, we just kept going with it.”
Kuykendall coached his son throughout his first few years getting into organized sports. When the two started training at NXG, it pushed him to get back into coaching his son.
He said he enjoys the adult classes, but his passion and desire is pushing the kids programs at NXG forward and “helping these kids blossom.”
“That was a big drive force for me to get into coaching the kids and adults we have here,” Kuykendall said. “I just want to see the kids learn and grow within themselves. I want to see them break out of their shells and have some kind of personal growth through the situation.”
Kuykendall said he sees a lot of parents bring their kids to NXG if they are experiencing social anxiety or having issues in school. NXG helps those kids find themselves and better ways to cope with those stresses.
“What I find is that when they first start, they are shy … A lot of times people come in thinking it is a scary environment,” Kuykendall said. “Everyone is very welcoming, and no one wants to hurt the new person. I see kids start to open up, even adults start to open up the more they train.”
NXG is a good option for any level of experience from the first-timers to BJJ black belts. Those new to NXG get to have a trial class to see how much they enjoy it, and from there, they can decide whether they want to continue with the programs.
Safety is the utmost priority at NXG. Those who train at NXG can do a class, and then get up the next day and be fully healthy and not be beat up. All prospective mixed martial artists need their first training session is a T-shirt and a pair of athletic shorts.
While becoming a fighter is not the expectation in the gym, it is a possibility. The competition team is the track to competition in the disciplines offered at NXG. The coaches, like Hubbard, have competed in big grappling competitions such as FloGrappling.
“There is no limit to how high we can go here,” Hubbard said.
NXG Mixed Martial Arts moved to its new location 1111 seventh Avenue South in Clanton in February.