Three times a week, Kru James Hines, owner of Toronto’s Old School Muay Thai, conducts classes for at-risk-youth. On Thursday, the group that assembled at the gym were given a treat when UFC fighters Brendan Schaub and Rory MacDonald gave James a hand in running the kids through a workout.
To get things started the floor was given to Tom Wright, Director of Operations for UFC Canada. Wright took the time to explain the UFC Community Works program to Hines’ class.
The program, which began at UFC 129, was designed for the UFC to give something back, to allow, as Wright told the group, “guys and girls like yourselves to learn a sport, to learn the important things about martial arts, things about trust, things about discipline, respect, honor, all those type of things.”
And with that introduction, Wright ceded the floor to Hines who then ran the group through a warm-up. Hines then handed the floor to MacDonald who worked the kids through some cardio and core conditioning moves. After MacDonald had his time with the group, Schaub rolled in, adding some more intense moves to the workout.
If you think the two UFC fighters took things easy on the youngsters, you’d be wrong. Schaub especially gave the kids the run through, starting them off with burpees and finishing with multiple sets of Russian Lunges, all the while strongly encouraging them through the workout.
After MacDonald and Schaub were finished, Hines took the group through their striking moves while the UFC fighters mingled among them, holding pads and giving pointers.
When the hour-long workout was finished the group gathered for a photo op with the fighters and were then surprised to find out that they each would receive two tickets to Saturday’s UFC 152 event along with a UFC hat, which most promptly got autographed by MacDonald and Schaub.
When the event wrapped up, Schaub took some time to speak to the assembled media, saying, “This is what it’s all about, this is why I do what I do because I had heroes, I had aspirations, to do something like this goes a long way, believe me. I was a kid in this class, I had NFL guys come into the YMCA and it made a huge impact on my life, so I know how far it goes.”
MacDonald seconded Schaub’s feelings on the event and the program, “This is something I really like to do. After my career’s over this is something I want to focus on more when I have more time on my hands, to help the youth, especially those that don’t come from wealthy backgrounds. Doing stuff like this for the UFC is very cool.”
Schaub personalized the event even more when he was asked if he thought training like this could produce future UFC fighters. “You never know. I was the guy at the UFC Expo waiting in line for two hours for (Mirko) Cro Cop and Wanderlei Silva’s autograph and three years later I’m fighting them. I’m a believer that if you believe in yourself and dream big good things happen.”
Trent Reinsmith is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.