There are hundreds of thousands of Mixed Martial Arts gyms around the globe, each acts as the whetstone to the phenomenal performances put on by the many practitioners we all know and love.
Countless hours of dedication, and vast knowledge of insight in the fight game are passed down by the head coaches of these exceptional people. Poured into many exceptional amateurs and well-rounded professionals alike, so that their journeys will be fruitful, well-equipped, and ready for the trials ahead.
I took a trip down to Team Crossface today, a prime example of just such dedication by the coaches.
Head coach David Lee has dedicated his life to the world of Mixed Martial Arts, fighting across many organizations at the top of the food chain of stages. BAMMA, Cage Warriors, UFC, the list goes on and on. A 3rd degree Jiu-jitsu black belt under Zé Marcello, CSW coach under Erik Poulson, and a qualified IBJJF Referee, David Lee has a lot to offer up-and-coming fighters.
On my visit, I was in awe at just how much passion Dave had for the education and well-being of his students, side by side with MMA coaches Charlie Leary of Bellator MMA and UFC’s latest acquisition Sam Patterson, which was truly a wonder to see.
I sat down with Dave to find out what it means to him to be able to pass on his vast MMA knowledge to up-and-coming amateurs, as well as well-rounded professionals across the MMA circuit.
It’s what was bestowed onto me really, I was lucky to have had good instructors. That’s the way really. You don’t try to hide anything, dont keep things from people trying to excel. Even to the point where they are going to train at other places and with other people, you don’t try and pretend you got all the answers. If you haven’t got the answers you’re happy to let them explore, or if someone’s got something you’ve never seen before let’s explore it. My instructor Winston Scott from the JKD world (instructor under Guru Bob Breen) did the same for me when I wanted to explore areas that maybe he didn’t know. He would find people for me, or we would explore it together. That’s what led me to find my coach Erik Paulson. I was at a Bob Breen seminar in Dartford at the time and found some videotapes of Erik Paulson, I got to meet and train with him at a seminar at Rick Young’s Academy in Edinburgh. Through the JKD world of exploring everything, trying to obtain lots of information, and making it your own, this is the y
ethos that I have. Around the same time I was training with Erik in California, I would train Jiu-jitsu with a couple of Ze Marcello’s brown belts in the UK. Then eventually one of my Jiu-jitsu coaches Alexandre Izidro would be over here full time, and then Ze would come over here full time, my Jiu-jitsu here is the same kind of principle. They would come over here and try and set up their Jiu-jitsu Academy and explore their MMA stuff , I was already doing that. Around that time it was kinda like the dark ages, there wasn’t a blueprint to follow, and we just had to make it up ourselves. Now it’s very easy for the kids coming in because we have that blueprint, we’ve made the plans and a bit of a foundation. That’s not to say that what we did was correct or what we teach is the only way, but it’s a way and we’re up for exploring. This is my life, this is what I do, giving the information I’ve got, trying to explore new information, trying to make these guys good you know, getting them to be better fighters and better people.”
Bellator standout Charlie Leary and Dana White’s Contender Series contract winner Sam Patterson were hard at work also, making sure they are ready for whatever Scott Coker and Dana White have in store in store for them.
After a hard-fought training session, I sat down with MMA coach Charlie Leary and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt under David Lee, to find out what Team Crossface means to him as well as being on the MMA coaching team.
“Team Crossface is more like family to me, being able to teach here is amazing. I’ve spent my whole career here and it means the world to me to have people like Dave, Sam, and everyone who trains here to have my back. I know everyone says it’s like a family and their team is great, but I know these people ain’t just here for training. They were there when I had to move house, they were there when I had plumbing issues to help. If you’ve got trouble, we put it in the Crossface team chat and someone is there to help you out. It means so much to have such a close-knit tight family, it’s everything you could ask for in a team.”
I also caught a chat with MMA coach, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt under David Lee and the new name on the UFC roster Sam Patterson, to find out what Team Crossface means to him and how it feels to help athletes on their respective journeys.
“To be honest, this is more like a family to me, Dave Lee, and the team, Dave has produced all of us really. He gives us every opportunity and gives us all his time to give back to the younger generation. The ones coming up will follow in the same footsteps that Dave gave us, our gym is like that. We’re more than just a team, we’re like a family. If you join our gym and come watch us train you’ll see that we care for each other, more than when we’re on the mats. If I needed help with something outside of the gym I could call these guys, that’s what Dave has installed into all of us. There’s no ego, we just wanna improve and help each other improve. If I can level someone up, I’m also gonna level up, that’s how it works here, helping each other’s progression to the top you know.”
With this level of solidarity, I highly recommend anyone interested in learning the art of fighting here. This was my first visit to Dave Lee’s Team Crossface and the whole team made me feel like I’d been there for years.
Follow the link here and check out the Team Crossface website, to learn more about the exceptional work these guys are doing in and around the world of MMA.