Will Elliott Joins Diaz Combat Sports As General Manager

For weeks, we at Diaz Combat Sports have had to keep our lips sealed about this exciting news. We are thrilled to finally announce that, effective immediately, Will Elliott will be taking over as General Manager at DCS. A longtime figure behind-the-scenes in the world of Asian MMA, Will leaves a profound mark wherever he brings his considerable talents. 


Will’s impact on the world of Asian MMA is difficult to overstate. A frequent guest at Tiger Muay Thai Phuket from 2006 (back when it consisted of just a single ring) onwards, Will took on a General Manager role there in 2009, then was promoted to Managing Director in 2012. By 2013, the gym -- and surrounding area -- was experiencing explosive growth as a direct result of his foresight and initiatives. First, he set to work on improving Tiger’s image, establishing it as a reputable MMA gym. To this end, he assembled a world-class team of MMA instructors. Among them were veteran UFC fighters Roger Huerta & Bryan Ebersole, as well as Fernando Maccachero, a 4th-degree BJJ black belt under the great Murilo Bustamante. 


MMA legend Georges St-Pierre visits the Tiger Camp


Will and Brazilian Top Team founder, UFC Champion, and Pride Veteran Murilo Bustamante


Elliott established the Tiger Muay Thai Fighter Tryouts, which would become a viral martial arts sensation almost overnight. The grueling tryout process was designed to produce the best possible team of MMA and Muay Thai athletes Tiger had ever housed, while providing valuable training partners to those visiting for fight camps. These tryouts persist to this day, attracting dozens of hopeful fighters and thousands of online viewers. Notable alumni of this program include current UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, top-ten ranked UFC Flyweight Kai Kara-France, and Lethwei megastar Dave Leduc.


The winners of season #1 of Tiger Muay Thai fighter tryouts.


At his direction, Tiger implemented a multi-language initiative to produce content in Mandarin Chinese and Russian, the two most common foreign-language groups in the area. Further, Will spearheaded grassroots fighter development programs with China, Malaysia, and Cambodia. In order to promote the sport of MMA in those countries, Tiger Muay Thai sponsored promising athletes to come develop their overall game with the striking, wrestling, and grappling specialists at Tiger while providing them with free training and accommodation. 


Forming a partnership with Kunlun, Chinas largest MMA organization.


Today, Tiger Muay Thai has evolved into a sprawling campus with multiple rings/cages, fitness areas, a hotel/dormitory, and a restaurant/juice bar at their massive training compound. Soi Taied, the once-quiet 2km stretch of rubber trees in Chalong where TMT resides, is now a bustling community affectionately called “Fight Street”.  Various MMA, crossfit, muay thai, and overall fitness gyms dominate the strip, alongside a slew of ancillary businesses like hotels, restaurants, and motorcycle rental shops. Through Will and the dynamic team at TMT's hard work and efforts, Tiger Muay Thai became a household name in martial arts, and the no.1 martial arts training destination gym on the planet. 


The TMT team hosts Malaysian Invasion, a reality TV show and fighter development program.


Following his time at Tiger, He was hand-selected for the management team at Evolve MMA in Singapore, one of the if not the largest and most successful gyms in the entire world. Will spent 4 years at Evolve, facilitating visits and seminars from some of the martial arts world's most distinguished figures. 


As we at DCS relocate to our new 11,000 square-foot facility, we wish to convey our deep gratitude and appreciation for Will. With him at the reigns, DCS is poised to become one of top gyms in the world and usher in a new period of MMA excellence for all of Western Canada. Welcome Will -- we can’t wait to see what the future has in store!

What To Expect From Your First Kickboxing Class

Kickboxing class Vancouver

The first moment you walk into one of Vancouver’s kickboxing gyms can be, admittedly, somewhat intimidating. Don’t fret -- this feeling is normal, and shouldn’t last long in a quality gym. There are plenty of common anxieties experienced by first-timers, who may wonder:

  • Do I need to already be fit to join this class? 
  • I’ve got no martial arts experience, what if I can’t keep up? 
  • Will the instructors be patient, and the other students be friendly?
  • Is gym an inclusive space?
  • What if my workout is too easy or too difficult?

At DCS, these apprehensions won’t last long.  We go to great lengths to provide, without a doubt, the absolute best kickboxing in Vancouver. Our highly capable, world-class team of instructors are happy to specifically tailor your first experience to suit your needs. Whether you are looking to improve your physical health, learn a new skill, or launch a career in combat sports, you can expect your first DCS Vancouver kickboxing class to get you primed for success.

Structure Of Your Trial Kickboxing Class At DCS

When you arrive, the first thing you’ll notice is the welcoming, positive vibe DCS has worked so hard to cultivate. The Vancouver kickboxing scene is home to many gyms, but we believe the positive atmosphere at DCS sets us apart. We firmly believe that martial arts are for everyone, regardless of race, age, sexuality, or gender identity. Further, we stress that all our members -- regardless of experience -- must leave their egos at the door. On any given day, you can expect to find DCS full of patient, passionate students & instructors.

After our front desk staff greet you and sign you in for your class, you’ll be given a short tour of the gym facility. We’ll introduce you to your instructor for the day, who will chat with you about your goals for the class. These conversations are important to us, as we can help tailor your experience to suit your specific needs. For instance, if you simply wish to improve or maintain your physical health, we can devote additional time to conditioning. On the other hand, if you want to compete or are concerned with self-defense, we can focus on fighting technique. If you’re worried about being hit in the face, don’t be! Nobody is asked or pressured to spar if they aren’t 100% comfortable, and beginners aren’t permitted to spar anyway.

Vancouver Kickboxing class
Practicing knees at kickboxing class in Vancouver

Your instructor will lead you and any other first-time attendees aside to a private trial area. There, you will be given a personalized rundown of the very basics of kickboxing. You can expect to cover:

  • Proper kickboxing/Muay Thai stance
  • Basic punches and their mechanics
  • Basic kicking mechanics 
  • Rudimentary footwork

Even at the most basic level, spending some time on these core skills will yield great results. You’ll be surprised at how powerful a properly thrown strike can be! As well, keeping your hands up is a simple act that can help protect you in a self-defense scenario. While we are fortunate to be in a relatively safe city like Vancouver, kickboxing can help you to carry yourself with more confidence regardless.

Practicing teep kicks at Vancouver kickboxing classes

Once your group has a good handle on the basics, you will be paired up with either each other or an instructor to do some drill work. You’ll be shown a simple technique or combo to repeat, which will gradually build your understanding of how to “flow” from one strike to another. These combinations are short & sweet, so you can refine your raw technique and avoid being overloaded with too many steps.

Finally, our instructors will put you through your paces with a conditioning segment. These typically involve sustained combinations, multiples of kicks, pushups, situps, and so on. As mentioned above, our instructors are here to help you achieve your goals, to give you the experience you’re after. They’ve brought lifetimes of expertise in kickboxing to Vancouver, and are happy to consider factors like age, ability, and overall fitness for your session. We empower you to make these portions as difficult as you like, and our instructors will push you to succeed.

After Class:

With any luck, by the end of class you’ll be as excited about kickboxing as you are exhausted! Above all, we want you to feel like your time with us was worthwhile. We expect you to sweat, and to be inspired by the level of technique our instructors & other students display. Because of our commitment to providing the most exceptional place for kickboxing in Vancouver, our staff will be eager to speak about your experience with you. We value feedback, so don’t hesitate to let us know any questions, concerns, hopes & dreams, etc. you may have.

DCS is the perfect place to start kickboxing in Vancouver, no matter the reason. Our team of instructors include the coach to a reigning champion in the Glory Kickboxing organization, a multiple-time Muay Thai world champ, and a striking specialist who works with top-level fighters in the UFC. If you’re looking to kickstart a career in martial arts competition, learn a form of self-defense, or join a community of friendly martial artists, there’s no better place in Vancouver. Kickboxing is a lifelong journey, and just by showing up you’ve already taken the first, most important step.

Click here to register for your FREE trial kickboxing class at DCS.

The Benefits Of Kickboxing

Throughout Vancouver, kickboxing gyms are popular hotspots for folks looking to learn a skill & improve their physical health. For us, this comes as no surprise -- kickboxing as exercise offers a range of physical & mental benefits. Better still, it serves as an excellent form of self-defense. Here at Diaz Combat Sports we have a team of world-class instructors providing the very best kickboxing in Vancouver. Below, we touch on some of the most attractive perks of regular kickboxing practice.

What Is Kickboxing?

In general, the term “kickboxing” encompasses a wide variety of striking-focused martial arts. Unlike western boxing, in which only punches are permitted, kickboxing disciplines allow such additional strikes as kicks, knees, and elbows. Karate, Sanda, and Savate are all well-known forms of the art. At DCS, we structure the bulk of our Vancouver kickboxing classes around Muay Thai, one of the most brutal and effective striking arts on the planet.

Physical Benefits Of Kickboxing

An exceptional form of exercise, kickboxing provides a broad range of physical benefits. One of the clearest is endurance -- kickboxing is a rigorous cardiovascular workout that improves lung function & kickstarts your metabolism. If you want to shave some minutes off your Grouse Grind time, or challenge some of the more advanced (and breathtaking) hikes around Vancouver, kickboxing classes are a perfect way to keep your endurance at its peak.


vancouver kickboxing
Training gives you a rigorous full body workout


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DCS Instructor Boom Watthanaya stays in shape through Muay Thai kickboxing and running


High intensity interval training is a crucial component of our class structure. Body fat & calories can be burned at a tremendous rate during these workouts. Better yet, our movements and techniques work specific muscle groups that may otherwise be neglected. Due to their focus on hitting, dodging, and proper footwork, our kickboxing classes are a great way to improve your speed, dexterity, and coordination. If you commit to regularly kickboxing in Vancouver, you can expect a boost to your overall strength and flexibility as well.

Mental Benefits of Kickboxing

Even without the physical perks, there are plenty of reasons why training in kickboxing is an excellent idea. As with any skill, development in kickboxing results in a feeling of pride & achievement as you progress. Understanding techniques & combinations allows you to “flow” between them more easily, hit harder, and train longer. This quickly becomes a positive feedback loop -- as you improve during each session, you’ll crave the next one even more. The experience of pushing yourself and surpassing your limits is an utter joy.


kickboxing training
Training teaches mental discipline


The more you put into training, the more it gives back in return. Thanks to this, it can be easy to establish a disciplined routine for yourself. Self-discipline doesn’t come easily to everyone. Developing & adhering to a training routine will make it easier to do so in other areas of your life. Further, you will find that a solid pad-smashing session offers a good deal of cathartic release. We understand that life can be hectic, particularly in a bustling city like Vancouver. Training regularly can let you blow off steam & help make you a happier, more well adjusted person overall. 


Martial arts training is fun and is a great way to make friends

Another perk of our classes is that they’ll introduce you to a wonderful community of friendly, passionate Vancouver martial arts enthusiasts. At DCS we pride ourselves on maintaining a vibe that is inclusive, positive, and ego-free. The atmosphere & community at DCS -- in addition to the endorphins released by exercise -- are certain to improve your mood!

As your skills sharpen over time, you will likely gain more confidence. Confidence in one’s self can let us face and triumph over any number of daily & lifelong challenges. Still, there is another, quieter confidence that comes from regular kickboxing practice: the confidence of effective self-defense.

Kickboxing For Self-Defense

As we touched on earlier, many disparate styles of kickboxing evolved independently from one another across the globe. Different people, through their various disciplines, have all arrived at the same conclusion: punching & kicking works. In the present day, one only needs to look towards Mixed Martial Arts to see how valuable a form of combat kickboxing is. Despite how much of MMA is contested on the ground, kickboxing remains an essential part of any fighter’s toolkit. If a superior striker can keep a fight standing, they often manage to pick apart their foe with devastating effect. Great kickboxers like Israel Adysena, Stephen Thompson, and Alistair Overreem have long been at the top of their respective divisions.


Vancouver kickboxing classes
Practicing knee strikes at kickboxing class



DCS Instructor and 6x Muay Thai Kickboxing World Champion Lamsongkram Chuwattana doing pad work


Although there are considerable differences between an MMA ring and the streets of Vancouver, kickboxing is still an effective form of combat for both. The reasons behind this are simple enough. From day one, the body mechanics required to throw a proper punch or kick are stressed and drilled repeatedly. A good strike, thrown with proper technique, will be considerably more powerful & accurate than the flailing of an untrained attacker. Basic defense, like keeping your hands up to protect your head, eventually becomes second nature.



DCS Instructors Adrian Shead and Boom Wattanaya demonstrate how to throw a roundhouse kick


Timing, footwork, and control of distance -- some of kickboxing’s trickier aspects -- can also provide great defensive benefits. A person well-schooled in their practice can effectively dictate the terms of a confrontation and escape, avoid, or counter-attack. Head movement and footwork, for instance, can make it exceedingly difficult for an assailant to land a solid blow. Additionally, few people (especially those without martial arts experience) appreciate the power of the front kick. A good front kick can easily be used to both knock a foe back and keep them a safe distance away. 


Practicing elbow strikes


Finally, should an attacker get in close, kickboxing makes a variety of surprising & devastating techniques available to you. Leg kicks, elbows, and knees can be delivered from short distances with incredible power, allowing you to incapacitate or escape your assailant.

 There is truly no shortage of benefits to training kickboxing, in Vancouver or anywhere else. Whether you are looking to maintain your physical health, meet new people, or develop the confidence that comes with being able to defend yourself, kickboxing is an ideal avenue for personal growth. 


Contact DCS for your free kickboxing trial class here!

The History And Evolution of MMA

Mixed martial arts (MMA) came as an innovative idea with a mission: gather a variety of martial arts, let their representatives fight inside a ring or cage, and determine which style is the most effective! Considering how violent, unorganized and dangerous its beginnings were, many people believed that this form of entertainment would be short-lived and probably banned. However, two decades later, MMA enjoys a massive following and stands as the most constantly evolving, fastest growing sport around the globe! The foundation for this meteoric rise resides in the history and evolution of MMA, which is as fascinating as the fight themselves.

Ancient History  

Although today's form of modern MMA is relatively young, the origins of the sport date far back into ancient history. Sportsmen in ancient Greece came shockingly close to modern MMA with their version of hand-to-hand combat, a brutal sport called "Pankration (all powers)". The contest was first introduced around 650 BC, and soon became a staple event of the Olympiad. It represented a combination of wrestling, punches, and kicks, with the athletes utilizing many locks and chokes on the ground -- techniques which would surface again through Catch Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Similarly, the Chinese military during the Han Dynasty developed a combat system called Shuai Jiao which synthesized elements of wrestling and traditional Kung Fu. These represent some of the earliest blends of diverse styles that would later become known as MMA.

Birth Of Modern MMA

Fast forward to the 20th century, where a number of events pushed MMA towards its official establishment. In 1914, legendary Japanese judoka Mitsuyo Maeda took Judo (at the time known also as Kano Jiu-Jitsu) to Brazil and proceeded to pass the knowledge of this traditional martial art on the famous Gracie family. The Brazilians shifted the art’s emphasis from throws to prolonged grappling exchanges. In addition to improving the effectiveness of the technique, it allowed for a downed fighter to find ways to attack and even finish an opponent from a disadvantaged position -- thus establishing the great art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu! Parallel to BJJ, another hybrid sport of striking and grappling called Vale Tudo (literally “anything goes” in Portuguese) emerged in the 1920s. Although it incorporated many styles, Vale Tudo fights were typically revolved around an intense rivalry between BJJ and Luta Livre -- a similar grappling system popular amongst the poorer class in Brazil.



UFC highlight reel


From the very beginning, the Gracie family firmly believed that BJJ was the most effective fighting technique. To prove their point, they issued their famous “Gracie challenge” which called on any fighter from any martial art to come to the Gracie gym and test their skills against BJJ. The challenge became so popular that fighters from all continents and martial arts came to Brazil to confront this mysterious technique. However, most would find themselves choked, slept and generally embarrassed due to a lack of grappling experience and submission skills.

We must point out that the explosion of martial arts movies during the 1960s and 1970s played a crucial role in the decades to follow. Movies like "Enter the Dragon", featuring martial arts superstar Bruce Lee as their leading figure, were the first ones to introduce the notion of style-vs-style combat to the big screen and inspire the later foundations of MMA as a sport on its own. 



Bruce Lee helped pave the way for modern day MMA


Shooto, perhaps the earliest official MMA organization, was founded in 1985 in the land of the rising sun. Originally built around turning professional wrestling into an effective real-world combat system, Shooto’s rules evolved through the years and developed into a true mixed martial arts competition. However, for most people, the birth of modern MMA was signalled by the establishment of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), who -- with the help of the Gracie family -- held their first event on November 12, 1993. Apart from a glaring lack of rules and disregard for safety, the early days of UFC will forever be remembered for the domination of one man and his unique fighting style.


Royce Gracie dominated the early UFC's with his BJJ prowess despite being much smaller than many opponents

BJJ’s Dominance and Evolution of Styles

Royce Gracie and his brother Rickson came to the US from Rio with one mission: launch the UFC and show the world the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu! The impact BJJ had on this newly established sport was undeniable. Gracie would dominate every giant the UFC threw at him and score an incredible 11 first-round finishes from UFC 1 (1993) to UFC 5 (1995). Royce Gracie established the BJJ as the most important aspect of MMA and the family mission was more than accomplished.



Royce Gracie vs Ken Shamrock in the early UFC days


In the late 90s we witnessed several elite wrestlers enter the sport, their relentless style prevailing over the competition in the following years. The great Tito Ortiz is a classic example of a wrestler finding success with cross-training, adding submission defence and strikes into their ground game and binding this combination to perfection. The wrestlers’ art of dragging an opponent to the mat and unleashing a barrage of strikes, known as “ground and pound”, has become a widely beloved technique! Conversely, other successful wrestlers like Chuck Liddell would master boxing & kickboxing techniques and use their defensive wrestling to keep the fight on the feet. This style dominated for almost a decade and like BJJ, remains one of the most effective weapons of the present day.

However, the MMA game is constantly evolving and from the mid 2000s, flashier striking techniques from traditional martial arts like Tae Kwon Do and Karate began to reemerge. This new generation of strikers already had the foresight to include grappling skills in their game, giving them a massive advantage over the “old-school” fighters. Legends like Anderson Silva and George St. Pierre were true game changers, and probably the most well-rounded fighters in history at their height. Their styles may have differed in practice, but both incorporated four foundational martial arts: Wrestling, Muay Thai, Boxing, and BJJ. Today, success inside the Octagon most often depends on how well-versed a fighter is in these four fundamentals. 



Anderson Silva was was one of the most dominant UFC Champions


Adapting The Rules And popularization Of MMA

Lack of rules, gear, and safeguards for fighters’ safety are the main reasons why the beginning days of MMA are portrayed as barbaric and primitive. During the early UFC events, only a handful of moves were forbidden: eye pokes, groin strikes and biting. The fights were  violent and bloody enough that no media house wanted to get involved with such a perceived freak show. Everything hit a breaking point in 1996 when Sen. John McCain famously stated that MMA is “human cockfighting”, doing everything in his power to destroy it. This resulted in the sport being banned in almost all 50 states!

That’s not a sport, that’s a throwback to the Roman Colosseum.” – John McCain (source)

Luckily, this was a huge wakeup call for the UFC who began putting new rules into action and undertaking everything possible to make MMA more palatable for the general public. Between 1996 and 2000, they implemented the following game-changing rules:

  • Instituting MMA judges
  • Introduction of weight classes
  • Adding a boxing 10 point scoring system
  • Rounds and time limits

Unfortunately this wasn’t enough and the UFC would still see serious changes shortly after. In 2000, Dana White and his business associates Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta set a deal with the bankrupt SEG Company and bought the UFC for $2 million dollars. A year later, they created Zuffa, LLC and immediately switched their focus to adopting a more thorough set of rules which would help get the sport legalized and televised.   

“Without [McCain] doing what he did back in the 90’s to force regulation, this sport would be dead.” – Former UFC CEO, Lorenzo Fertitta (source)

The first big step forward came in April, 2001 when the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board put forward a set of rules which would later become Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts (2009). Putting the sport under stricter regulations and building the UFC brand opened the doors for many TV opportunities in the future. In 2011, Zuffa set a deal with FOX network, which secured for the UFC an income of incredible $700 million over the next seven years. 

On July 3, 2015, the UFC announced its collaboration with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), with the aim of ensuring the fighters were competing clean and making the sport more safe and equal. Although in the fallout we saw many fighters test positive and many fights fall apart, the company’s image benefited immensely.

Where Is MMA today?

Interestingly, UFC set out prove once and for all which fighting style was the most effective. While BJJ proved dominant at first few could predict that 25 years later, the answer would be: all of them!

Stylistically, the difference between the MMA pioneers and modern-day fighters is so enormous that one could easily believe the sport had evolved for a longer period! Although we observed many styles dominating over others, the only successful style in today’s competition incorporates a hybrid mixture of various forms of striking and grappling. MMA gyms have become combat laboratories, constantly producing different training systems and adding new elements. This enables any fighter to hold onto their traditional base (wrestling, BJJ or striking) and quickly build a more complete game around it. Some of the most successful fighters like Jon Jones, Stipe Miocic and Tyron Woodley are perfect examples of a modern-day MMA fighter.

As far as the UFC is concerned, business is booming! Although there are other successful promotions all over the world like Bellator and KSW, UFC still holds the monopoly and dictate the rules of the fighting business. Earlier in 2019, they announced its partnership with the biggest sporting network, ESPN. Without a doubt, the two companies will bring the sport to the highest levels and we’re more than excited to see future changes and evolution of the sport. As a fan, there's never been a better time to get into MMA for yourself. Many MMA gyms in Vancouver -- and the world over -- are attracting world class talent in Muay Thai, BJJ, Kickboxing, and beyond. Having a personal trainer is great, sure, but why not sharpen your skills and join the fun in helping the sport evolve even further?

The DCS Compound, A World Class MMA Gym Coming To Vancouver

The Compound: A Three Storey, 11,000 SQ Foot Martial Arts Training Facility Coming To Vancouver!

Big things are coming from Diaz Combat Sports in 2020! First and foremost, we are thrilled to present our new facility: The DCS Compound. Opening in fall 2020, DCS brings Vancouver a first-of-its-kind, world-class facility fully dedicated to fitness and mixed martial arts. Unlike any other gym in Vancouver, our compound boasts three floors of carefully curated training areas. 

We are dedicated to crafting the ultimate space for fighters, fitness fanatics, and everyone in between to receive the very best instruction at the top gym in Vancouver. 


Construction of the compound is underway!


Programs and Scheduling - The Biggest & Best Selection of Martial Arts Classes in Vancouver

As the largest MMA gym in Vancouver, the compound will give DCS the opportunity to expand our coaching staff, hours, amenities, and number of classes. Regular classes will take place 7 days a week, with class times stretching from the early morning to late evenings. Better yet, we will be able to provide a broader variety of classes to students of different ages, genders, and skill levels. While we currently devote a portion of our class schedule to kickboxing and BJJ for women, for example, the compound will permit us to offer the best women’s boxing classes in Vancouver. A broader schedule means more opportunities for students to discover different disciplines, or to simply train more often. Through scaling up our program selection, we make ourselves an ideal gym for people of all work schedules and walks of life. 



DCS Owner/Head Coach Ryan Diaz gives a quick update about the progress of the new gym


Our expanded class schedule will be bolstered by the further addition of talented instructors from all over the world. BJJ black belt Stuart Cooper, Olympian boxer Manny Sobral, and multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Lamsongkram have already brought their top-tier understanding of combat sports to DCS, and we will continue to build a roster of outstanding instructors at our new Vancouver gym. As well, DCS will continue our beloved tradition of bringing authentic Muay Thai instructors (such as Thanit “Boom” Watthanaya & Adrian Shead) from Thailand to run the best kickboxing classes in Vancouver. 


With more space, expanded hours, and a larger team of instructors, the DCS class schedule will be able to suit almost anyone’s needs. For those with particular scheduling needs, or those who simply wish to have one-on-one instruction, DCS instructors will be available to host private lessons. Those looking for personal training in Vancouver can rest assured that our team of elite coaches will be able to make time for you.

The Facility -- The Most Advanced Gym in Vancouver

The new DCS compound will be a three floor, 11,000 square foot facility in the heart of Vancouver’s historic Chinatown. The location is close to owner Ryan Diaz’s heart -- after all, the great Bruce Lee chose San Francisco’s Chinatown for his own legendary martial arts studio. From his Chinatown studio, Bruce Lee revolutionized American martial arts. DCS intends to carry on this legacy of martial arts excellence, right here at our Vancouver gym.


The front entrance of the compound


The compound’s main floor is dedicated to our renowned kickboxing and Muay Thai programs. DCS takes immense pride in bringing authentic, world-class Muay Thai trainers to teach in Vancouver. DCS kickboxing instructor Adrian Shead, for example, currently coaches Muay Thai phenom Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao. Petch has held the Glory Kickboxing World Featherweight Championship since 2018, and Adrian brings the same level of passion and expertise to his Vancouver Muay Thai Classes as he does to training his star pupil. Spanning the whole length of the compound, the main floor provides ample space for students of all skill levels. Multiple heavy bags are available, as well as a dedicated room for both private lessons and introductory classes.


Upstairs, the second story hosts our Boxing and Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu areas. The bulk of the floor will be covered in high-quality mats for our wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu programs. Stuart Cooper joined our team in 2019, and is excited to continue bringing his world-class brand of Jiu-Jitsu to Vancouver. The boxing area will feature a full-size boxing ring and 8+ heavy bags, as well as a curriculum developed by the great Skipper Kelp. With so much more available space, DCS will be able to provide more students than ever with Vancouver’s best boxing classes.


Fairtex is providing the Muay Thai equipment for the Compound


The lower level, home to our strength and conditioning program, boasts a range of high-quality exercise equipment. Our weight training area will feature a weighted sled, squat racks, and a wide selection of kettlebells and free weights. Our new cardio space gives members more ways than ever to test their limits through an array of rowers, skiers, assault bikes, and a SkiErg system.


In addition to dedicated class space, each level boasts an array of amenities for members. One of the first things visitors will notice on the compound’s main level is our own independent juice & coffee bar. The main floor will also feature cubbies for the storage of training gear & water bottles during class, a water station, and a gender neutral bathroom & shower. The upper floor is home to another gender neutral bathroom, as well as a series of skylights that allow members to work out in beautiful, natural light. Alongside its wide variety of fitness equipment, the lower level is home to both men’s and women’s change rooms -- each with lockers, multiple bathroom and shower facilities, and separate saunas.



With our new compound, DCS will further solidify its position as Vancouver’s (and Western Canada’s) first truly world-class mixed martial arts training centre. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on!

DCS Re-Opening Covid-19 Precautionary Guidelines

DCS Members Covid-19 Policies: 


  1. Instructors will be wearing masks for every session. 
  2. Due to our precautionary measures, if you feel ANY symptoms of illness please refrain from coming to the gym.
  3. There will be no lending of gear. Please be sure to bring all your own gear for each session.
  4. Thermometers will be on hand at the gym. Staff will be checked daily and anyone with a temperature of over 99 degrees fahrenheit / 37 degrees celcius will be sent home. Members may be checked and be asked to leave if temperatures are high.
  5. Please be aware of the designated entrance and exit doors, and use them appropriately.
  6. Please stay at least two meters from our staff and any other client. You will be designated a training area with your coach, and we ask that you please refrain from leaving this area unless necessary.
  7. Only ONE person will be permitted in the washroom at a time. Showers will not be available for use. Please be sure to wash and sanitize your hands & feet frequently. 
  8. Extra hand sanitizing stations are placed throughout the gym for everyone to use. Individuals are encouraged to bring their own towels, hand sanitizers and water. 
  9. There will be no back to back sessions. We will have a 15 minute gap between sessions and ask individuals to leave promptly after their session and we ask individuals to come only 5-10 minutes prior to their sessions and nothing more. This is to ensure that there will be less contact between individuals. 


In addition to all that you are doing to help us, the DCS staff is doing the following to make sure we ALL stay safe and healthy:


  1. All pads, mats, and any other gear you come into contact with will be thoroughly sanitized between every session.
  2. Washrooms, door handles, and all other high-contact areas will be cleaned and sanitized at regular intervals. 
  3. All showers will be closed.

What To Expect At Your First Jiu-Jitsu Class

Students at a jiu-jitsu class Vancouver

What to Expect at Your First Jiu-Jitsu Class 

Whether you are starting Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at a BJJ gym in Vancouver or anywhere else across the globe, attending your first class can seem intimidating -- after all, it is difficult to know what to expect. While BJJ is an incredibly complex martial art that takes years to master, your first jiu-jitsu class should be an enjoyable experience that introduces you to some basic moves and positions. The latter portion of the class is often reserved for either live training or sparring, known in BJJ as “rolling” -- however, you should not feel obligated to participate until you are comfortable and have a few classes under your belt (some instructors may even make this a matter of policy). Most other students should be happy to conduct specific positional training with you instead, helping you become familiar with essential positions and brushing up on the fundamentals themselves.

First Things First: Jiu-Jitsu Warmups 

Typically, all jiu-jitsu classes from beginner to advanced begin with some form of specific grappling drill as a warm-up. These drills commonly consist of a series of hip-escapes, bridges, forward and backward rolls, and perhaps a few other variations of moving your body across the mat with or without a partner. The forms of motion contained in these drills form the essential building blocks of proper grappling movements, so it is essential to familiarize yourself with them. Don’t be discouraged if these seemingly simple motions stump you at first -- the body mechanics, while sound, are often unusual and may take a few classes to fully grasp. Stick with it and listen to the instructor, with a few weeks of practice you will be moving through the class warm-ups without issues. 


Example of a traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class warm up demonstrated at the famous Marcelo Garcia academy

Learning BJJ: The Moves of the Day 

Your first jiu-jitsu class should be specifically aimed at beginners, and you will likely begin learning about fundamental positions such as mount or full-guard. Learning to recognize these positions is one of the first big conceptual hurdles you will face as a new BJJ student. Your instructor will demonstrate a simple move that will become the focal point of the day’s lesson, such as a basic escape or passing sequence. Try to follow along, but as always do not stress if you cannot master the move during your first class. It is quite rare for someone without grappling experience to pick up a move the first time they are shown, and even advanced students will need many reps before they can expect to perform a newly learned move. 


Learning the move of the day at jiu-jitsu class in Vancouver
A new BJJ student learns an armbar submission



Diaz Combat Sports head BJJ instructor Stuart Cooper demonstrates a basic escape from side control


If you find yourself in an all-levels class for both beginning and advanced students, you may wind up quite lost during the “move of the day” sequence. A good recommendation is to try to pair up with a more advanced student who can guide you through the class. You may even be directed to a specific partner by your coach. Do not be intimidated by coloured belts or cauliflower ears. Many advanced students, including purple and brown belts, are more than happy to help beginners find their way in BJJ -- plus, the feedback they can provide you on specific positions will always be superior to that of another white belt. 


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Class At Diaz Combat Sports
BJJ training is a great way to make friends


A ranked belt at any reputable school will not try to hurt you, and if the class is geared towards all levels, there are more than likely a few upper belts looking to hone their teaching skills and build relationships with new students. As long as you display a humble attitude, willingness to learn, and do your best to pay attention, you will be a fine training partner for anyone. 

If you do end up with another newer student during your first class, your instructor will usually come around to help you both out during the drilling portion of the class. Remember that BJJ coaches enjoy teaching jiu jitsu. A quality instructor will never be frustrated or berate you during your first class. 

Again, your humble attitude and willingness to learn will show from the moment you step on the mats, and most BJJ instructors love to have students of all levels showing up to their class and doing their best to learn BJJ. 

Going Live: Where the ‘Fun’ In Jiu-Jitsu Class Really Begins 

While learning and drilling the move of the day will be a large portion of any beginner or all-levels jiu-jitsu class, most classes will also include at least one instance of “live” training, which is often called rolling in BJJ.’ Typically, this will be a five to eight minute round where you and a partner will attempt to control or submit one another in accordance with the position studied that day. If you are nervous about this, you can always sit and observe during your first class, or perhaps go at a lighter pace with a more advanced training partner.  



UFC legend Nate Diaz does light rolling with a training partner


Jiu-jitsu Vancouver training
Two DCS students roll at jiu-jitsu class


It may be a new experience to have someone grabbing at you, lying on you, and trying to choke you out -- however, one of the features that makes BJJ so approachable is the act of “tapping out”. Commonly used to signal surrender when locked in a submission attacked, tapping is an acceptable way to excuse yourself from any scenario you wish to disengage with. If you find yourself stuck in an uncomfortable position, or matched with someone who is going excessively hard, tap out and politely tell them you are going to sit the rest of the roll out. While this situation is quite unlikely during your first BJJ class at a decent gym, you are ultimately the one to draw the line as to what you can handle when going live -- the tap empowers you to do so. 



Famous author and Youtuber Jocko Willink and a partner rolling 


In any case, your partner should know it is your first day, and ‘match your intensity.’ If you come out of the gate hard, vigorously trying to attack your opponent, you can expect them to turn up the heat. On the other hand, if you pair up with an upper belt and ask to work on the move of the day or some other fundamentals, most students will be more than willing to accommodate you. Your own attitude and aggression will be the biggest factor in determining your experience during your first few live rolls. 


after jiu-jitsu Vancouver class
Those that train together often form close bonds


Overall, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gyms are generally pretty cool places with positive vibes. You should feel welcomed as a new BJJ student during your first class. Understand that earning real respect on the mats will take years of dedication and discipline. However, as previously stated, if you show up with a humble attitude and willingness to learn, you should have no problem fitting right in at any BJJ gym in Vancouver.


Group photo after jiu-jitsu class in Vancouver


Here's Why Everyone Should Train MMA

When it comes to working out and fitness, Mixed Martial Arts is easily one of the most awesome ways to get in shape. Finding the time or money to spend with a personal trainer in Vancouver can be especially tricky, but you need only a quick look at MMA fighters today to see that they are some of the fittest people on the planet. They are, for the most part, incredibly fit and possess amazing cardio, discipline, movement, strength, and flexibility.


UFC champion GSP stays in shape through MMA training
Multiple-time UFC World Champion Georges St Pierre has the ideal build for MMA

Seeing how demanding the sport of MMA can be, it only makes sense that they are able to perform at this level. While there are plenty of gyms in Vancouver to study specific martial arts, nothing quite comes close to the versatility of MMA. However, MMA has a multitude of different benefits other than fitness, and in this guide, we will go over all of the benefits for practicing MMA and the martial arts used in MMA. 

The Martial Arts Used In MMA 

Before we can get to the benefits of MMA, let us break down the martial arts present in it. The short explanation is, well, they all are. 

MMA’s popularity came from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, more commonly known as the UFC. The UFC has become the ultimate testing grounds for various combat sports and martial arts. Over the years, different martial artists of different styles and techniques have entered the octagon. While many martial arts proved ineffective, a few of them managed to stick and become standard to the sport -- mainly Muay Thai, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Wrestling. 


why everyone should take MMA classes
A DCS student hones his punching technique at boxing class


Jiu-jitsu classes in Vancouver
DCS students rolling at jiu-jitsu class


Practicing kickboxing Vancouver technique
Partner kicking drills at Muay Thai class


Before a platform like the UFC, people could only speculate how effective a given fighting style would be in a real fight. Thanks to the UFC, many ineffective fighting styles had their flaws exposed, and the most effective fighting styles came under the spotlight. 


Early MMA competition
The UFC's pitted all styles against each other to see which emerged dominant


Early MMA competitions in the UFC
An early UFC fight, karate vs Sumo wrestling

Although fighters in the octagon can use any fighting style they see fit, most fighters stick to a specific set of martial arts. Boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, and Jiu-Jitsu, are among the most common martial arts that professional fighters practice. Boxing and Muay Thai teach fighters standing hand-to-hand combat whereas Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teaches them grappling maneuvers and submissions. 

One of the best current day UFC fighters is Khabib Nurmagomedov, and he, for the most part, depends on wrestling and grappling to win his fights. Still, he mixes in strikes as he works, a style known as “ground and pound” where an opponent is controlled on the ground while being battered with punches and elbows. 



 DCS instructor Jonathan Hutchinson demonstrates how to do a single leg takedown 


With so many routes to victory available, training MMA can seem daunting -- luckily, each of these fighting styles has great benefits on the body.

The Benefits of Training MMA 

MMA can transform a person both inside and out. Here are some ways that you might change after finding the perfect gym in Vancouver to train MMA. 

It Reduces Fat And Keeps The Body In Shape 

Let’s acknowledge the most obvious benefit first: MMA is able to keep you fit and in top shape with a wide range of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) exercises. These exercises involve short bursts of intense exertion that keep burning fat for multiple hours even after you exercise. This helps you lose excess fat much faster, and the cathartic nature of the movement helps your body take out frustration.


MMA fighter Miesha Tate
Former UFC Chamion Miesha Tate stayed in shape through a hardcore MMA training regimen


Strength and conditioning for MMA
UFC fighter Dustin Poirer going through a strength and conditioning workout

Speaking of frustration, nothing helps cope with a bad day at work like donning a pair of boxing gloves hitting a punching bag or some pads with a partner. This can be a very healthy way of dealing with your frustration, and the added workout is a bonus. 


Pad work at boxing Vancouver classes
DCS students doing pad work at boxing class

It Improves Confidence

Learning MMA can make you much more confident and comfortable around people. Certainly, social anxiety is a serious and complex issue that many people deal with, but knowing how to defend yourself in a bad situation is one way of helping to ease that anxiety. Furthermore, it takes a lot of courage to stand up to someone in a physical confrontation, even in a sparring match. Therefore, the controlled confrontations in MMA build confidence so that people can be more comfortable around others. 


You Will Become More Flexible

Another benefit that MMA provides is improving the flexibility of your body. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and wrestling make the body turn in various unusual ways, making you use your body’s entire weight to shift and control the opponent from both top and bottom positions. This gives your whole body a workout and allows you to stretch those legs and arms out a lot more. Stretching is also an integral part of the time before and after a workout, and practicing your kicks is sure to improve leg flexibility.


MMA classes in Vancouver increases flexibility
MMA fighter Mirko Cro Cop relies on flexibility to head kick his opponents


UFC Champion Conor Mcgregor
Two division UFC champion Conor McGregor is extremely flexible


It Helps You Stay Active

It goes without saying that MMA is one of the most physically intensive sports out there. However, more importantly, it is one of the few sports that manage to work out every part of your body. This helps keep you in top shape and active throughout your day. MMA can improve your metabolism as well as your overall stamina, making you a lot more active and helping you get out of bed. 

More Than Just Cardio 

People will often compare MMA training to other types of cardio workouts. However, the truth is that most MMA classes, in Vancouver or anywhere else, offer much more than just that. Even if you are new to the world of working out, you may have heard that there are three major types of workouts: metabolic conditioning, cardio training, and strength training. 


MMA Legend Roger Huerta does pad work


Metabolic conditioning consists of exercises that teach your body to properly utilize the fuel that your body produces. Cardio training is where you train your heart and lungs to circulate more blood and perform better. Finally, strength training is where you grow and regrow your muscles to endure more stress. MMA has very intense training exercises that give your body the benefits of all three types of workouts.

Learn Self-Defence 

Finally, perhaps the most practical benefit of training MMA is that it equips you with the tools necessary to defend yourself from attack. An untrained combatant will find themselves completely at a loss when attempting to defeat a trained MMA fighter, and proper training will even help you overcome large discrepancies of size or strength. In addition, the best part of studying MMA specifically is the diversity of skills covered by the training. It covers striking while standing, ground fighting, and even takedowns. Therefore, with the help of MMA, you can go from boxing or Muay Thai into wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with relative ease.  


A DCS student does sparring
Training martial arts is very helpful for self defence

Final Thoughts 

Training MMA has a plethora of benefits, made so effective by its combination of multiple martial arts. MMA training includes some of the best exercises to help you cut fat, get stronger, and help you stay active long-term. Your flexibility will grow, as will your confidence -- just knowing that you have a sound body and the skills required to defend it will change how you carry yourself for the better. You owe it to yourself to check out an MMA gym in Vancouver -- or wherever you may be -- and witness the positive changes to your life yourself.


DCS Covid-19 Update



New Diaz Combat Sports Gym Vancouver


Hello DCS Fam!
We just wanted to reach out and touch base to say hello, and share some updates about the gym. We are missing you all very much, and are really looking forward to seeing you all back at the gym as soon as possible! We hope that everyone is healthy, safe, and doing well!


Kickboxing class Vancouver


Memberships On Hold
Due to mandates from the government we will remain closed until we are allowed to open back up again. Everyone’s memberships and payments will remain on hold till the time the government allows us to open our doors. We will notify everyone via email and social media once we have news about our reopening dates.


DCS Diaz Combat Sports merchandise


30 Days Of May Promotions 
As everyone knows this is a very hard time for us with the new gym coming. To help us out we are implementing 30 days of May! Everyday in May we will put something on super sale on our online store. You can have the option to have it delivered or picked up with social distancing at the gym. Please stay tuned daily on our Instagram and Facebook page for the deal of the day! The deal will only last 24 hours so be sure to check us out on the daily.

Update About The New Gym
Need something to look forward too??? The new gym is progressing fast! Every time we go in there it looks different. We are busy sourcing, tiles, partitions, toilets, faucets, wood flooring, lighting, and a million other details! We will be adding more Vlog updates more often so everyone out there can be a part of the new compound and watch the progress of our new home! Check our Social Media pages for the latest updates.

Here's a quick tour we made to share the progress with you:


Make sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel so that you don't miss any of our vlog updates or technique videos.


New Blog Posts!
Make sure to to head over to our blog and see our latest articles about training, techniques, and healthy living. For those that want to sharpen their technique and footwork, we have made a comprehensive Beginner's Boxing Guide, complete with instructional videos of the basic attacks and movements used in boxing by our own coach Praise Vaughn!

Other recent blog posts!

How Martial Arts Can Bully Proof Children

High Percentage Submission For MMA & BJJ

Why BJJ Is So Effective For Self Defence

Here's Why Everyone Should Take Boxing Classes

Muay Thai For Weight Loss


We want to be better for you. Please help! 
Please take a moment and fill out this brief survey, we will use your input to help structure the new gym! We are deciding the schedule, figuring out what to have in the new gym, how to improve our front desk and your overall experience. We would greatly appreciate it if you took a couple minutes to complete our survey.

We really hope you and your family are safe and well and truly look forward to seeing you all again at DCS!

Muay Thai For Weight Loss

The Benefits Of Training Muay Thai For Weight Loss

Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing, is a combat sport of Thailand. The sport blends different clinching skills and stand-up striking methods, and is often called the ‘art of 8 limbs’ since it permits attacks using fists, elbows, shins, and knees. Muay Thai spread internationally by the late 20th century, and during that era western people began practicing and holding Muay Thai matches.   

People practice Muay Thai in Vancouver for various reasons. Some might have an interest and desire to compete with others in this thrilling sport, while others may simply want to lose weight or stay in shape. No matter the reason, Muay Thai training boasts many benefits to one’s physical health.


 Muay Thai For Weight Loss In Vancouver
Sweta Srivastava lost tons of weight and got into the best shape of her life through Muay Thai training


Muay Thai kickboxing is great for weight loss
James Mason lost over 100 kg by intense Muay Thai training and dieting

Muay Thai Kickboxing As Cardiovascular/Interval Training

Cardiovascular activity burns fat. As your heart rate increases to a level that you maintain during your workout, your body is able to burn more and more calories. There are plenty of martial arts classes in Vancouver, but few can compete with the cardio workout that you can get from Muay Thai. Muay Thai requires that you maintain a rhythmic fighting stance, a form of constant fluid motion between each round of explosive kicking, punching, and conditioning skills. 


Muay Thai For Weight Loss
Fitness model Mia Kang uses Muay Thai training to stay in shape


This mirrors the intervaled way most fat-burning workouts are structured, including those on equipment such as treadmills or stair-stepping machines. These interval workouts consist of moments of intense, rapid energy expenditure peppered throughout a lighter activity of more measured pace. This helps your heart adapt to changing conditions very quickly, working in a different manner than it would during steady routine like jogging. This type of exercise engages your metabolism and burns a greater amount of calories than a typical cardiovascular workout.



Diaz Combat Sports instructor and 6x Muay Thai World Champion Lamsongkram Chuwattana doing pad work


Muay Thai, with its focus on rhythm and footwork between hard-hitting combinations, is essentially an extremely vigorous interval workout. Both the upper and lower body reap the benefits of these sessions --  the upper body through punching, holding pads, pushups, and ab crunches, and the lower through kicking, jumping rope, and a number of other conditioning drills. These exercises are usually performed in rounds of three to five minutes each and followed with a little rest, making Muay Thai a perfect form of calorie-burning interval training -- the kind of intense workout that continues to burn fat even after you are done your training session!

Muay Thai Builds Strength, Speeding Up The Process Of Weight Loss

Get ripped using Muay Thai kickboxing
K1 Max World Champion Buakaw Banchamek stays ripped through his hardcore Muay Thai training regimen


The more you build your muscular systems, the more your body is readily able to burn fat. Unfortunately, around half a pound of muscle mass is shed annually from your body; thus, it is vital to consistently engage in weight lifting and resistance training sessions. In Muay Thai, your muscles are constantly contracting and expanding whenever you strike, punch, or kick. Because proper Muay Thai technique relies on correct body mechanics to generate force, you will consistently be engaging your legs, core, and arms regardless of the type of strike you are practicing (you cannot punch effectively without your legs, just as you cannot kick without your core). 

Muay Thai kixkboxing Vancouver drills
Students practice pad work at one of the Muay Thai kickboxing classes at Diaz Combat Sports in Vancouver


Muay Thai for weight loss
Muay Thai training improves cardiovascular health and promotes weight loss


One Muay Thai training session includes hundreds of repeated kicks and punches, making it a full-body strength exercise. This constant repetition makes your muscles stronger, and has the benefit of building different muscle systems than you would simply lifting weights. The “Art of Eight Limbs” trains your whole body, including arms, thighs, back, shoulders, calves, abs, and everything in between. Your back and shoulders support proper posture and help you keep your hands raised at eyebrow level -- essential elements of defence. Shifting stances, employing proper footwork, and maintaining balance on one leg while you kick all serve to strengthen your lower body and improve dexterity from your hips to your feet.

Muay Thai presents an exceptional return of the time you invest in it -- in addition to weight loss, most people who train Muay Thai kickboxing will find themselves hooked by a positive feedback loop: the more you train the sharper your technique becomes, the harder you hit, the more calories you burn, the better your cardio becomes, the more frequently you are able to train, and so on. Not only do you improve your physical health and appearance, but you get to learn a new art and it is really a great deal of fun.



Robert Orphanides lost over 100 lbs through rigorous Muay Thai training.


Where To Begin Training Muay Thai Kickboxing In Vancouver

By this point we have well established the many physical benefits to training Muay Thai, and hopefully you are now wondering where to find the best gym in Vancouver to do so. There is no shortage of quality kickboxing or MMA gyms in Vancouver, but we can comfortably argue that Diaz Combat Sports is by far the best place for beginners and seasoned martial artists alike.

The Muay Thai instructors at DCS are second to none, coming to us directly from Thailand and boasting impressive credentials such as coaching world champions and holding world titles of their own. They are passionate about sharing authentic Muay Thai with the people of Vancouver, and are happy to instruct students of every skill level in their art. 

Muay Thai For Weight Loss
DCS students sharpen their technique during Muay Thai class


DCS is happy to offer a free trial class to anyone looking to try Muay Thai or experience our fantastic gym’s other programs. For first-timers, the trial classes are often semi-private, conducted alongside a limited number of students who match your level of skill. You will receive a great workout while being introduced to the basics of Muay Thai, and will be able to jump into the regular classes soon after. Various time slots are available throughout the week, so you can choose classes that best fit your schedule. Further, our world-class instructors are all available throughout the week for 1 on 1 personal training sessions, meaning you don’t have to look any further for a personal training in Vancouver.

Whether you are aiming to improve your physical health or to simply find a new way to stay in shape, Muay Thai represents an ideal way to reach your fitness goals.  You would be hard-pressed to find another martial art as well-suited for weight loss as Muay Thai, and you won’t find a better mixed martial arts gym in Vancouver than DCS.