If you are looking for the real deal, if you are serious about becoming a proficient fighter, Underdog is the only place for you! There is no other mixed martial arts gym in the Hartford area that has what Underdog offers. Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling and MMA training. Pad work, technique, sparring drills, full contact sessions, Underdog has got it all. Beginners and those of all skill levels get to mix it up with and learn from elite professional fighters. The head coach and owner, Russell Leak, is a true teacher. Russell is dedicated, passionate and has the rare ability to truly train and improve his students. Having dabbled in martial arts and kickboxing as a teenager, I thought I knew a thing or two. Flash forward a decade a two. I found myself searching high and low in the Hartford area for a serious gym where you lace up gloves and don’t just do line drills. I finally found Hartford’s best kept secret, Underdog. I am humbled. With a premier coach and pro fighters as sparring partners, I have learned how much I don’t know. Coach is working with me from scratch and helping me learn one skill at a time. Sparring sessions aren’t about getting knocked out, rather in this community atmosphere, more experienced members help you understand your weaknesses and how to improve. I am glad to be part of this amazing and unique gym!
In 2009, I had to relocate to Hartford Connecticut to continue my career at Nabisco. Moving into a new city is never easy and I found myself bored and with a lot of downtime. Being a true and passionate fan of mixed martial arts, I decided that I would try and find a gym to start training. After calling a few local gyms in the area, I was able to call Underdog. Sifu Russell Leak picked up. That moment was of one of my most life-changing experiences to date. Underdog BJJ provided me top-notch training in both martial arts and strength & conditioning. Furthermore, they accepted me as family and took me in as one of their own. The coaches and instructors at the academy provided me with mentorship and guidance that carried on beyond the mats. They believed in me and gave me the discipline and ability to challenge myself in all aspects of life. They made my goals their own goals and did everything in their power to provide me with the tools necessary to achieve success. Five years later, I firmly believe I would not have the confidence, the maturity, or the work ethic I have without the foundation Underdog provided for me. My athletic and martial arts skills set has grown exponentially since being a student from the academy, but the lessons taught off the mat have been just as important in my life.
I joined Underdog two years ago after fighting for a few other gyms, and the fight team and trainers made me feel like family. I worked full time and the team and trainers helped work with my schedule and put me through an excellent fight camp. The team really cares about everyone here and the training is excellent. It is comforting to know you have the support of this team and the work outs are outstanding.