Why I Opened an MMA Gym and Fitness Center

It was over 10 years ago, I was in the health club business.  I was a salesperson with high quotas and was stressed out.  It’s a little known thing but being in the fitness center business if your competitive in sales it’s hard to keep fit.  Every time you are on the workout floor there is potential to missing walk in traffic, so you don’t workout.  There is also the fact that when you are on the floor working out a member may recognize you and ask you about the tread mill that is not working etc.,so you don’t workout.   I was working long hours and eating fast food and had gotten into bad shape.  Needless to say I needed to find an outlet, because, you guessed it I was not working out.

I had wrestled from age 3- 15 years old and was always in good shape doing that, and I liked the UFC, so jiujtsu seemed interesting.  I had stumbled upon the Gaijin Ryu Dojo in Sykesville Maryland, 5 minutes from my house.  Being a former Golden Gloves boxer I made a deal with Master Lee Epperson, if I taught his guys to box, he would teach me jiujitsu.

As time went on I came to really enjoy the jiujitsu workouts and was going to classes every chance I could.  One day Master Lee came to me saying he was looking to move the gym to Columbia and asked if I wanted to go there to teach boxing.  I said that the gym was so close to my home I hoped he would not move.  Then my career would soon change as Master Epperson asked if I wanted to take over the lease,  I discussed with my wife and when she agreed Ishould,  Shaddock MMA Fitness was born.

Now in our tenth year in business I am really enjoying teaching fitness through the martial arts.  Even though I had a short stint at body building, it never really stuck.  The workouts in boxing, wrestling and jiujitsu were far more satisfying to me than any weight training workout.  Having always been a competitive athlete I find the boxing and jiujitsu workouts very similar to the training I had in high school and college.  There is a different kind of dedication and discipline that is involved in boxing, wrestling and jiujitsu that is important in building character in young men and women. I enjoy teaching people of all ages and hope to continue for a while.  The great thing is even at age 50 I still enjoy working the focus mitts, rolling with my students and on occasion I even still spar with our pro boxer Yahu Blackwell.

My goal is to help the Sykesville/Eldersburg community get exposed to the fitness and self defense benefits of boxing and jiujitsu and shaddock MMA fitness.  I am hoping that I can one day be as good and instructor  and life coach as my brothers Dale, Chris and Scott were to me in boxing and wrestling, and as Master Lee was to me in jiujitsu.   I want to keep doing this as long as I physically can, which I hope is for quite a bit longer. Come try my gym out for a different experience.  You will be glad you did.

Keep your hands up,

Coach John “Bones” Shaddock


Put a little “punch” in your workout, in Sykesville Maryland

When looking to get fit in 2019, think of doing a boxing fitness class.   Let’s face it weights can be boring, aerobics classes are good if you can keep up with the instructor, running is weather permitting.  There are many benefits to boxing which include, stress release, self defense training, cardio fitness and yes weight loss.

As of late a lot of gyms have followed the boxing trend so you will have some choice available in Sykesville, Maryland.  Here is why you might want to choose Shaddock MMA Fitness. 

Variety: Most of the boxing gyms in the area carry one type of bag, heavy bags and most of them the old water based bags.  At Shaddock MMA Fitness we offer a 20 piece circuit with different styles of heavy bags, speed bags, double end bags, and slip bags. 

True Boxing Self Defense: While a lot of instructors are fun and dynamic, most are aerobic instructors who have never stepped foot in the ring.  Shaddock MMA teaches proper footwork, combination punching and defense amongst other aspects of boxing.  You can get Fit like a boxer without getting Hit like a boxer.  Whether you want to fight in the ring or just look like you can Shaddock MMA fitness is the gym for you. 

Experience: When it comes to true boxing experience not many gyms can compete with Coach John “Bones” Shaddock.  Coach Shaddock has been involved in boxing for 34 years.  A two time finalist in Vermont State Golden Gloves, Shaddock also won the New England Diamond Belt Boxing Championships.  Bones has cornered boxers both amateur and professional in both boxing and MMA.  A competitor himself at age 46 John put together a team and fought over in Riga Latvia in the 5 on 5 teams fighting championship.  Having been in the fitness business for over 30 years Shaddock not only coaches but conditions his fighters as well.   John is certified in Martial arts fitness by the ASFA.  He also worked under coach Rick to get certified in focus mitt training. 

If you want to get in shape and learn the art of boxing contact Coach Shaddock at 443-280-0812.  


Your Not Just A Member, You’re Family at Shaddock MMA Fitness

Recently a couple of new boxing gyms have opened up in Sykesville.  Shaddock MMA Fitness has been in the same location for 10 years now.   I have been asked what is the difference between those gyms and your gym and the main thing I could think about is I don’t have members, I have family.

Before I started Shaddock MMA Fitness I was a manager in the health club business for 20 years some of the biggest chains both locally and nationally.  I think the biggest difference is there was more of a priority set on NEW members not member attendance.  In the big chains you sign up between 50 – 100 people a month and to keep in touch with each member is nearly impossible.   Yesterday I contacted a family to find out that they weren’t in because the kids were sick.  I contacted another member and found outthey had lost a love one.  These are things working in the big health and fitness centers  and boxing gyms I would not have known about .   Does your Owner, manager or sales associate call you when you have neglected to show?  I do contact my members on a regular basis.  I know that 90 % of reaching your goals is just showing up, the more people I can get to show up the more people that will get fit.  The more people get fit the happier they will be and they will stay a member.

My goal is to get the Sykesville/Eldersburg are fit one person at a time.  I hope you will come join one of our classes. It’s not just a great workout but a social gathering of friends who help inspire one another and joke together to make the workout not seem as tough.  Before you join one of these boxing chains, I encourage you to check out my gym and just see what we are all about.  I think you will enjoy your stay.  Contact me if you are interested.

Keep your hands up,

Coach John  “Bones” Shaddock

A Different Kind Of Gym In Sykesville MD

Ten years ago I was working in the health club business.  I had gotten heavy and out of shape.  In search of a workout different than lifting and aerobics I found the Gaijin Ryu Dojo in Sykesville MD.  I had an agreement with my instructor Master Lee, if I taught his guys to box, he would teach me jiujitsu for free.  A partnership was born. About 6 months later my instructor left the area and asked if I wanted to take over the lease, and  Shaddock MMA Fitness was born.

I started Shaddock MMA Fitness as a strictly MMA gym.  I trained fighters and we fought in PA, Virginia and New Jersey.   The travel was brutal and although I had a blast doing it I found as my girls got older I had more obligations and needed to stop training fighters and keep my business local.

Shaddock MMA Fitness has changed to give me the best of both worlds.  Although I don’t train “fighters”  I do train average people like fighters.  Teaching them the techniques I learned in Golden Gloves boxing, Gaijin Ryu jiujitsu and amateur wrestling.  Although I competed as a body builder in the Vermont NPC championships, I got bored lifting weights.  Lifting never made me feel the same as I did at the end of a boxing workout, jiujitsu class or wrestling practice.  I always have loved training for combat sports and have taken every thing I have learned over the years and designed classes to make others get fit while enjoying it.

My goal is to get Sykesville fit one person at a time.  I hope you or your children will come try my boxing fitness and jiujitsu classes.  I really have a different type of gym and I feel the best clients out there.  I hope to see you in the gym one day.

Keep your hands up,

Coach John “Bones” Shaddock

Is Your Martial Art, A Partial Art?

I was watching a blog by John Hackleman, legendary coach of Chuck Liddel.  In his latest blog John poses the question is your art a martial art a partial art?  Now I am paraphrasing but he states that for a martial art to be a complete art it has to have 4 components.    A striking art (boxing or Muay Thai), a wrestling art for take downs and break downs, jiujitsu for submissions, and just as importantly you need to incorporate fitness as part or your art.  There is a quote “fatigue makes cowards of us all.”, and if you are too tired to fight then you cannot defend yourself.  If your training is missing one of the 4 components your style is not complete.

When asked what martial art he recommended, Navy Seal Jacko Willink recommended in this order “Brazilian jiujitsu, followed by western boxing, Muay Thai, and wrestling(the type you see in the Olympics, not the WWE-No disrespect to the WWE).

At Shaddock MMA Fitness we like to do train in all of the elements of martial arts.  Our Fitbox class teaches all aspects of boxing, footwork,  basic punches, defense etc.   For those who want a little more we do sparring.  We have a fighter fighting on ESPN DEPORTES at the end of the month. Our submission wrestling class teaches take downs , breakdowns and elements of wrestling. Our Gaijin Ryu Jiujitsu class teaches Techniques Are Very Similar To Those Found In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Japanese Jujitsu & Judo, Korean Yudo & Hapkido, And American Free-Style Wrestling…. Just To Name A Few. Our Iron Box class is a great cardiovascular and strength training class as well as in all of our martial arts classes we drill conditioning.   Our Kids Gaijin Ryu Jiujitsu class combines basic calestenics, the striking arts with the grappling arts so the children are well rounded.

If you are interested in training for fitness or self defense we have the gym for you.  You can email me at shaddockmma@comcast.net or call or text me at 443-280-0812.

Keep your hands up,

Coach Shaddock


Boxing Fitness Gym Going Strong After 10 Years In Sykesville, MD

In the small town of Sykesville, MD is a small boxing gym they call “Sykesville’s best kept secret.”  Shaddock MMA Fitness is a small MMA fitness gym.  There are a lot of fly by night boxing gyms that have opened up as of late, but here are a few reasons you may want to consider a local boxing fitness gym.

ONE ON ONE ATTENTION: Every member will receive a FREE 30 minute orientation so they feel comfortable taking the class.  Once you are a member our classes are small, imagine a gym where like the show Cheers “Everybody knows your name.”  You won’t feel like just a member but as a part of a family.  Everyone is helpful and there are know egos in the gym, just people trying to get fit.

EXPERIENCE:  Coach Shaddock is the head instructor and class designer for Shaddock MMA Fitness.  He was the New England Diamond Belt Boxing Champion and two time finalist in the Vermont State Golden Gloves.   John fought in The Original Toughman Contest and at age 46 went over to Europe and fought in the TFC’s 5 on 5 team fighting championships on the first USA team ever to compete. John is also a NAHF certified fitness trainer and USA Boxing Certified coach.

CUSTOM MEMBERSHIPS:  Shaddock MMA Fitness has a new concept.  Custom made memberships.  You use the gym once a week you pay one price, want to come everyday, you pay another price.  You tailor your membership to however long you want to train.  No one else in the industry is doing this.

INNOVATIVE CLASSES:   John Shaddock is the creator of all of the classes.  This is not a corporate gym where all of the classes and music are choreographed. Coach Shaddock custom designs classes like FITBOX, IRONBOX, and  GRAPPLEBOX.  Come try a FREE 30 minute session, you will be glad you did.





























Set High Goals For Yourself, They Will Keep You Alive

This weekend I achieved one of the many goals on my bucket list.  Seems silly but one of the goals was to run the stairs that Rocky did in the movie.  I have been fortunate enough to achieve a lot of what I set out to do. Four years ago I flew across to Latvia in Europe and was one of only 10 or so Americans to fight in the Team fighting championships. Even though I was 46 at the time, I was getting up every morning at 4 am running and training.  I had set an impossible goal and did it, and you can too.

This past year has been a rough one.  Not only did my Mom pass away, and soon afterward, my father in law passed as well. As devastating as this was, in reflection it taught me to never stop dreaming. what I am saying to you is life is short, follow your dreams as you don’t know what day will be your last.  Keeping yourself fit should be a priority for you. We all tend to prioritize everything else but our health and well being but that is the first thing you should focus on.

I have a goal for my business that I hope you can help me with.  I am looking to make Carroll County fit one person at a time.  Now I have a small martial arts studio, and compared to most fitness centers even smaller but the goal is to get Sykesville/Eldersburg on a fitness program.  I hope to have 100 members by 2019, a lofty but attainable one.  We are a small gym but we make up for it in customer service, creativity and a fun atmosphere.

This trip has recently inspired me to set some more outrageous personal goals for myself (don’t tell my wife).  I hope training with others is something I can be doing for the rest of my life.  Won’t you join me at my gym here in Sykesville/Eldersburg MD.  I think you will be glad you did. Go to Shaddockmma.com and fill out the contact form.  I will call you myself and set up an appointment to meet and see if we can help you reach your goals.

Keep your hands up,

Coach John “Bones” Shaddock