Local MMA gym adjusts to training outdoors

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SAN DIEGO — Gyms are moving their workouts outdoors after Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced an executive order allowing them to operate in their parking lots.

MMA Academy in Sorrento Valley is taking advantage of that allowance. Members of the academy were training outdoors Tuesday with heavy bags, yoga mats, weights and tents set up in the parking lot.

Temperature checks, hand sanitizer and masks are the new normal at the gym.

“We’re doing what we need to do to survive,” said owner Mike Mihalkanin. “People still want to train. People feel uneasy especially in these times. This is a good release for people.”

But members now have to train outdoors, after the governor banned indoor operations at gyms, churches and other gathering places for counties with concerning public health data.

“You do what you have to do. The whole thing about this is adapting, adjusting and not stopping,” gym member Michael Spencer told FOX 5.

MMA Academy had to downsize and move to a smaller warehouse after the first shutdown. Mihalkanin said it lost 80 percent of its memberships.

But the owner considers himself lucky. He says his peers at other Krav Maga gyms have already shut down entirely. 

“It’s the only way we can stay alive. You know, I have peers that I’ve trained with for years and years and years, in New Orleans and San Francisco, and they’re shutting down,” Mihalkanin said. “They can’t operate under these strict conditions. So we have to adapt.”

MMA Academy is offering classes on their lot, on Zoom and in private lessons. All members have to book a reservation online beforehand.

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