The Making of A TCB Fighter; Written by Josh Rivers
Growing up in Rogers, Arkansas TCB always had the reputation of being well…As Aaron would say the Boogie Man of places. I always had thoughts of going up there just to see, figure out if all the rumors were true. Which all the rumors that swirl the gym to this day, still intrigues me to hear some of them example being were watched by the FBI as a gang. Coming back on subject, I always liked being active and trying something new dad said I should do some boxing but instead signed me up for football (which I played from 6th grade till my 12th grade year). The earliest I remember watching MMA fights was back probably my 10th grade year and always thought man I wish I could do that. Little did I know, I would begin training for MMA without subconsciously knowing.
I was approached my 11th grade year about wrestling (In my mind I was thinking what wrestling? But I can not turn down a chance to compete) so I told the coach I would come check it out after football season. This is where everything began; I put in countless hours of training and sweat to make it in the sport. My seasons were plagued with injuries and I never really achieved much in wrestling with a record of about 18 and 7, but as a team we went to state and won a state championship but at the end of the season I felt lost, I couldn’t compete anymore I was done. This is where my new competition and hunger to grow in a growing sport began. It all started with a message to Mr. Aaron Kimball A.K.A– AK-47 owner and operator of TCB BOXING/ The Fight Factory. I began talking to him and asking him about classes and told him I was a wrestler ( His ears were probably perked up hearing this) in his head he knew he was going to choke me out a lot… and he did but I did not give up I just kept pushing. I just wanted to learn and if that takes for someone to choke me out and show me how to change my approach to things I was all for it.
TCB turned into my family something I never in a million years would have guessed , Aaron even started allowing me to teach my wrestling knowledge to the team on certain days. I was like a little “hyper dog” as Lylna and Aaron would say. I just wanted to show them so much but knew that wrestling can not be taught in a day along with everything else we do. We are just a different breed of people, as I was teaching I could just see everyone so hungry to learn and grow and it excited me that I could teach someone else.
I was training everyday from June 17th 2010 (which was the day I had sent the messaged that sparked this whole ordeal) until my first fight on August 14th 2010. I was training so hard for that fight, which I had no idea was even going to happen. You have no idea how much time AK puts into his line of work, COUNTLESS hours and blood, sweat and on occasions tears from sheer pain but nothing that did not make us stronger. I can honestly say that Aaron is like my older brother and would be there for me if I ever need him, along with Marcelo and Lylna who feels like my sister. The gym is more than just the hard work that each fighter puts in; it’s about the bound and the family aspect that comes with it. I guarantee that if anyone us was in trouble at 1:00 AM and we called members from the gym they’d be there in a heartbeat. We all joke and have a good time while at the gym but when it comes time to train it’s a serious matter. The fun and games stop and its time to train like someone said they were going to kill you. Someone that probably helped me a lot in preparing for the fight was Marcelo, while AK was helping the new people or making rounds on helping people correct their various mistakes Marcelo was helping on getting my stand up and grappling underway. Marcelo did not by any means take it light when we first met, the first sparing session consisted of me throwing a bunch of haymakers and marcelo picking me apart and showing me that they go as hard as you go. I don’t know if it was from my work horse attitude or my willingness to listen, or shear just wanting to learn but I gained Marcelo and everyone’s respect at the gym. After gaining the respect of the others in the gym was when the true training came. Non-stop Monday-Friday 5 pm to 10 pm was how it was and about the beginning of July or some where in the middle is when Stephen Gourley arrived back at TCB. This is where my jiujitsu started to transform, he showed me how to slow down from the explosive aggressive wrestling sport to a more relaxed chess like sport of Brazilian Jiujitsu. This all was the building blocks to the coming of the fighter I was to become. Your never just a complete fighter where there is nothing else to learn, your just constantly growing and learning and training along with refreshing your mind on new things that you might have learned. As I continued to train my days began to get closer to the day I had to go off to college, Aaron approached me with the opportunity to fight in Pride of The Cage in Missouri (which of course I agreed). So it was set I would fight 1 week before I had to leave for school. This is when my training kicked into high gear. I was nervous because as with every fight you never truly know the out come so you prepare and prepare until the time comes to fight and hope that fate has you in its favor for the night. This is exactly what I did with one of the best in the business and with the best team I could ever ask for. The night started off good everyone winning then heartbreak struck when my training partner and friend/brother Marcelo lost via submission to a guy he was beating but again anything can happen and fate just was not on his side. In my head I was thinking how am I supposed to win? One of our best fighters just lost but I snapped out of it as soon as we went to the back, AK started warming me up and everything became serious. There was no real game plan, only that AK said if standing up goes south, go into wrestling mode and take it to the ground. The walk to the cage was pretty nerve wrecking but after standing there looking at my corner and AK saying “Lets go Brotha,” I knew it was time to do battle. The cage door shut and my mind flipped a switch in a way that there were no nerves, nothing just pure adrenaline. The fight ended pretty quick. About a minute and a half in via verbal submission due to strikes. I had won. Everything had paid off. All the body shots, gang boxing, bag work, sparring, countless hours of grappling, all the hell that Aaron along with Stephen put us through had paid off, and now I am hooked! I just want to extend my hand and thank everyone that made it possible Lylna, Celo, Stephen, Veral, Steven, Jehiah and the man himself Aaron Kimball. Thank every one of you guys. You’re the best trainers and training partners and I wouldn’t have it any other way.