DMC student helps train others at local MMA gym

The dimly lit gym echoes with the familiar sounds of people working out. The pops of people hitting bags and pads, the struggling grunts of coaches and students grappling on the floor while having instructions called out to them. 

The humid air is heavy with the smell of sweat, as fighters are gearing up to spar one another with controlled intensity.

In this mix is Del Mar College physical therapy major, Colt Gillis. Gillis is a former Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and is currently a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) coach who is no stranger to this feeling of controlled chaos.

“I have been practicing Martial Arts for over 32 years,” Gillis said.

“I have a black belt in Kajukenbo Karate and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.”

Gillis spent four years competing in MMA under the name “Outlaw”.

Though he no longer competes in it, he still a competes for BJJ but mainly focuses on training fighters and other BJJ competitors at the gym. 

According to Gillis, it was an injury that turned him down a new direction in life.

“I injured my shoulder the second time doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu the second time about five years ago, I received physical therapy at the Training Room with Dr. Steve Hopkins.” Gillis said.

“He helped me and taught me how to take care and heal myself, he helped me go to the physical therapy direction,” Gills said. “Now I can learn to help not only myself but my teammates and others.”

Gillis has been coaching and training at Texas Style Training Center since it opened in 2023.

“He’s a huge asset to the gym. Great friend and great guy,” said head coach and founder of Texas Style Training Center, Patrick Ybarra.  

According to Ybarra, the Corpus Christi gym has all types of martial arts training.

“Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, and Mixed Martial Arts,” Ybarra said.  

Even though recently Gillis has changed his focus from the gym to the classroom, he still makes time for coaching and training.

“These gyms are not only for people that are competing in MMA or BJJ, but for everyone,” Gillis said, as he expressed his personal belief that training martial arts is a great benefit both physically and emotionally.

“The best time to start martial arts training is when you are a kid. The second-best time is today.”

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