Road To Blackpool - Week 2: Training With The Best

Road To Blackpool - Week 2: Training With The Best

The countdown to Blackpool has begun. We follow Martin Stapleton (15-4) in the lead up to BAMMA 19 as he prepares for his lightweight headline bout against Jeremy Petley (10-5-1) on March 28.


Chapter 2 – Training with the Best

Ranked as one of the top lightweights in the UK, Stapleton credits his refined ability and constantly improving skills to his training regime. Learning from some of the best in the UK at Straight Blast Gym Mainline in Manchester, he abides by a strict timetable and tough training conditions to push him to the next level.

“I go to SBG Manchester every single morning, I’m there 10 o’clock till 11:30. No body misses [it], nobody is late, everyone is there, on the mat every day, we hold each other accountable for being there and training with each other. If I’ve got a fight coming up I expect my training partners to be there to push me, and I will be there to push them when they get trained. It’s a team atmosphere, it’s not just turn up as and when you feel like it, we’re there every single day.”

“50. Cal” also trains at his own gym Full Contact Performance Centre (FCPC) in Rochdale, where alongside a flourishing young fight team, he spends time refining his talents with some of the UK’s top boxing and jiu-jitsu coaches.

“Back at my gym is where I do specific work, individual arts. Carl Prince comes over to Full Contact Performance with me, a couple times a week and helps me with my boxing pads,” said Stapleton. “Brazilian jiu-jitsu as well with Andy Aspinall, I work the gi twice a week. I don’t care what anyone says, gi is good for MMA, it teaches you how to posture correctly, teaches you to escape correctly from submissions when there is all that friction there, and you can’t just use your attributes, you’ve got to slow it down and use your technique."

One of the main reasons SBG Manchester has become such a revered gym is through head coach Karl Tanswell, who Stapleton likens to a ‘mad scientist’ for his virtuous techniques which help get the best out of everyone in the camp.

“For me Karl, he’s a genius. I think everyone at SBG will agree with me, he’s like a mad scientist. The thing with Karl is he’s so passionate about what he does, and that transfers into the guys on the mat, we get that fire in our bellies, you know it’s a good way of coaching. For me I feed off the people around me, I need to be around people who are positive, who are proactive, who are passionate about what they do. I feed off that positive energy, that’s what I like and the relationship I’ve got with Karl, and all the other guys at SBG works like that because we’re all on the same wavelength.”

As well as Tanswell the BAMMA 19 headliner also mentioned the abundance of top level 155lb fighters in the gym as another strong point, and he expresses the team’s togetherness and thrive for success as their greatest asset.

He said: “The teamwork that we put in there is such a good environment, because for instance there is a like a hand full of lightweights at the moment, there’s myself, Saul Rogers, Jack McGann’s on there, Paul Douglas, David Johnson, these are all pro lightweight guys who are top tier guys and we will push each other as far as we can go, we will push each other to breaking point. Some of the spars we do on a Friday, I promise you, are much more difficult than a fight. I know people always say that, and it’s cliché and all that but I’ve trained a lot of places, and I’ve experienced a lot in my time in MMA, but nowhere with the sort of intensity that we put on each other.

“But we’re not putting it on each other to beat each other, or to one up each other or whatever, Saul might put it on me and slam me around for five minutes because he wants me to get better, he wants me to improve, and I’ll do the same to him next week or David or whoever I’m sparring with I’ll push them to their limit , to their breaking point, it’s because I want them to be better than they were last week, that’s the environment we have at SBG.”

The 31 year-old readies for the toughest test of his career against Petley, but attributes the strong foundations of both FCPC and SBG and their ‘family environment’ as huge benefits, knowing he doesn’t have to face the biggest chapter of his career alone.

“Six of my fighters from FCPC fought this weekend, Saturday night and I cornered all six of them obviously. Let me tell you Sunday I was exhausted, emotionally exhausted, you know I was in there with them, every shot they took, I was taking it with them, that’s the environment we’ve got here as well. It’s the same mentality at SBG and over here, it’s that team work, you’ve got to have that in my opinion. It may be an individual sport, where ultimately you have to do the performance but the environment makes the team so strong."

“It’s a family environment, as in when I go to fight, I know all my team is stood behind me. End of the day it’s me who’s got to put the performance in but I know every single one of them are feeling every single punch as much as I do.”

Join us next week on ‘BAMMA 19 The Road to Blackpool’ for Martin Stapleton: Chapter 3 – Life of a Coach.

BAMMA 19 is to be held on 28th March 2015 at the Blackpool Winter Gardens and tickets are on sale now: http://bit.ly/BAMMA19