By: Lucy Morrissey
UFC hall-of-famer Chuck Liddell beat out fellow fighting champions in a Facebook vote that determined who Impact Zone members would have lead the class – and on Oct. 3, he did just that.
Before the line-up in the Student Commons appeared and grew, with student-fans waiting to see Liddell, he hit campus just after 10 a.m. He hosted a private seminar for mainly Impact Zone members, who practice Mixed Martial Arts themselves.
“I like to teach [MMA] at different places. I love the sport. I love to meet fans and especially fans that participate,” said Liddell. Now retired, Liddell showed the group several kicking and striking techniques and stressed the importance of gaining power.
“He’s been in the [UFC] industry so long, he’s seen it from its garage days to prime-time television,” said Wayne Boucher, a Krav Maga instructor and fitness and wellness co-ordinator at Algonquin.
Boucher and events programmer Bill Kitchen arranged Liddell’s visit to Algonquin. The two first decided to hold a vote on the Impact Zone’s Facebook page to determine which Ultimate Fighting Champion the majority of members wanted to come to campus: Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Rory Macdonald or Clay Guida.
A ‘unanimous landslide vote’ for Liddell resulted, said Randy MacDonald, military instructor in the Geographic Information Systems program, who also teaches Filipino martial arts.
Martha Peak, manager of Algonquin’s Fitness Zone, said registration for the class reached its maximum after day one. The size of the room, A117, allowed for 30 participants.
Ben Millan, an Impact Zone member, said he voted for Liddell because of his “brawling” style – something that puts Liddell above the fighters he was pit against in the vote, said Millan.
“He’s known for his striking. Each fighter has his go-to and Chuck was a knock-out artist,” said Boucher.
Liddell, visible and centered amongst his students, said one of his favourite shots is the fat man. He gripped Impact Zone member Rob McInnis’ leg to show how it’s done – McInnis being his opponent for the demonstration. At the same time, he placed his hand over McInnis’ neck and chin and explained how gaining control over this region for the ultimate push is crucial.
“It was cool [and] really scary when he almost hit me,” said McInnis, with the key word being almost. Liddell was certainly but safely hands-on. He demonstrated moves thoroughly and explained techniques several times over. He was interactive, touring the room to instruct each participant and his or her partner one-on-one.
Kevin Hill, in second-year business administration, sat in on the seminar and practices Jiu Jitsu. It’s in Liddell’s shoes, as a light heavyweight champion, where many Impact Zone members aspire to be, he said.
Members had the opportunity, attending the seminar, to “pick his knowledge,” said MacDonald._“[Practicing MMA] benefits the body with training techniques. It’s all encompassing, very high cardio and muscular endurance,” he added. “The confidence it gives a person shows through many avenues in [his or her] life.”
“Just keep training, learning, getting better,” said Liddell. “There are different techniques. There’s not one right way to fight,” he added.
Liddell received a forceful, loud round of applause in the Impact Zone before proceeding to Student Commons to meet with fans for photos, autographs and questions.