Community and charity at heart of fitness club

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Not everyone who goes to the gym is trained by a former professional fighter from the blood and thunder world of mixed martial arts (MMA) who once ranked fifth in the UK.

Nor do many keep-fitters have the chance to tap into the advice of a man who was crowned Coach of the Year 2015 in the Battle Arena Awards.

But those who train at Tap or Snap, which has been based in Ashfield for 14 years, have just that at their disposal.

For the driving force behind the club is Christian Smith, 42, who carved out a professional fight career from 2002 to 2011 .

He has been a professional MMA coach since 2006.

Tap or Snap, which opened new premises at Devonshire House, Sutton-in-Ashfield, this month, is affiliated to Shooters MMA, which is a mixed martial arts team that is represented in several countries.

Shooters trains instructors, supports affiliated academies and promotes the team’s fighters and is involved in producing champions at different levels.

Christian, who runs the club with his wife Maxine, explained: “It was by chance that I got into MMA.

“I’d done a bit of boxing-type training but when a friend of mine had an MMA fight down in London I helped him prepare and when I went to watch I just fell in love with the sport.

“It all went from there really.

“When I started experienceing success people wanted to train with me and I became a bit of a local pioneer for the sport.”

But for Christian these days, MMA and Tap or Snap is by no means all about the cream of the crop.

Inspiration is offered for youngsters through training boot camps for disadvantaged kids.

As well as training professional and amateur fighters, the club is at the heart of the community.

It was founded in 2002 by Christian and in 2006, through coach Dave Morris, became affiliated to Shooters.

With more than 150 members Tap or Snap places a big emphasis on family fitness.

Options include Elite fitness including Tabata training, TRX workouts, core classes, body weight classes, boxing, Thai boxing, submission wrestling, MMA fitness, ladies only MMA and yoga.

Christian, who has three children, Tia, 16, Rio, 13 and Thor, nine, said: “Children start as young as five years old and we have members in their 50s who also train regularly.

“We are a family-run business so we know the challenges parents sometimes face when it comes to exercising so we cater for families to train together by ensuring kids and adults classes run alongside each other.”

Christian has secured funding from Nottinghamshire County Council for one of his children’s boot camps, aimed at kids who are socially excluded.

He said: “Some of the kids that come have autism or ADHD or they don’t have a very good background so we work with them to teach concentration, confidence and discipline.

“They respond really well to the sessions and it’s great to see them develop.”

The club is also big on fundraising which has previously been for Rainbows Children’s Hospice.

Its latest charity venture will see members raise cash for those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease through Ultimate Charity Fighter.

The scheme has seen 28 competitors, both men and women, sign up for the eight-week free training programme, which sees them take part in three training sessions a week, learn the basics of MMA and then compete against one another in a controlled, family environment.

The club’s events have always been well supported and cash raised this time will be donated to the City Hospital Rehabilitation Unit to aid movement and exercise for Parkinson’s patients.

The event will be held on Saturday July 30 at the Grosvenor Rooms in Sutton-in-Ashfield.

If you would like more information about Tap or Snap MMA club call Christian Smith on 07813 775126, search Tap or Snap MMA Club on Facebook or email taporsnap@icloud.com. For tickets to the Ultimate Charity Fighter event use the above contact details.