Exclusive Interview with Izza MMA: The Master in Self-Defense

by Aiman Aminudin

Izza MMA derives their name for the word Arabic word, ‘izza’ , which translates to honour and strength.

The martial arts school strives on providing top quality training to those who wish to join, without the negative aspects that MMA may bring about.

Each of their training routines and programmes ensures that respect, dignitydiscipline & compassion, are upheld as high moral values.

Do note however, that their programmes are intense and offer no-nonsense and hard core training.

Whether your goals are self-defense oriented, losing weight, building strength and muscle, or you are just looking for a positive hobby, Izza MMA is the place for you.

Izza MMA

Here at Sterrific, we have managed to get an interview with the academy’s founder and head coach, Salmaan Safari (the awesome bearded dude in the photo bellow).

Izza MMA

Salmaan lived in a rough neighborhood in Texas, in the United States. Murder, gang violence, drug trafficking and prostitution were all common occurrences in the areas he lived in. This of course had a profound effect on his life.

He converted to Islam at the age of 25 and eventually moved to Malaysia where he opened up Izza MMA.

We asked Mr. Salmaan a set of questions about the MMA gym and here is what he had to say!

The story and idea of Izza MMA

Izza MMA was basically a dream come true.  I remember sitting at my parents home in Texas. I was telling my father that I wanted to sell my home, my car, my business and make Hijra (Migration) to Malaysia.

He asked me “How do you plan on making a living there?”  I answered off the top of my head.  “I always dreamed of starting an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) Academy that operated according to Islamic standards.

After some time my wife, three children and I arrived in Malaysia.  The little bit of savings we had started to run out and I wasn’t able to find a good job.

I met some brothers (fellow Muslims) that had also immigrated here a few years before my family and I did.  Once they found out that I used to train in Boxing, Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu they asked if I could teach them.

We started off training at one of their offices.  It was only three of us.  Quickly our numbers grew.

We no longer fit in the office and were now training at the playground at one of the brothers’ condo.  Our group had grown to around 15 people.  The management at the condo said that we could not train there any longer as the residents were intimidated by a large group of bearded brothers practicing punches and kicks at the playground!

One of the brothers came to me and said “why don’t we open a gym were we can train”  I responded “That would be awesome but I don’t have any capital to be able to do that”  He answered “I will pay for it, you run it and we can split the profits.” 

I had only known that brother for about 3 months, may Allah reward him abundantly.  He soon had to leave overseas. 

Before he left he transferred to me the needed money to start Izza MMA and told me he will be back in a few months to a year.  That was the start of Izza MMA! 

The gym has been operating now for about 6 years. Thank God.

Izza MMA

Number of students

At any given time we average around 75 to 100 students.

The Most Popular Programme

Mixed Martial Arts is mainly made from Boxing, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu and Wrestling.  It is hard to say which is the most popular but it seems that Boxing class is usually the busiest one.  All of our classes are men only classes.

We have a ladies only class three times per week and that is now starting to get pretty busy too, Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God).

Izza MMA

The Programme best for Weight-loss?

The martial arts program that is best for weight loss is the martial arts program that you are consistent in over 1 to 2 years

All of our classes will leave you drenched in sweat when you are done so it is hard to say which is the best in that regards.  I guess it would be whichever one you enjoy the most!

The Importance of Martial Arts

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that a strong believer is better and more loved by Allah than a weak believer, although it is good in both.

Martial arts helps to build strength and self-confidence so it is very important for me.  I hope that I can continue training well into my old age if I so happen to live that long.

Malaysia is very laid back and peaceful compared to Texas.  Where I grew up if you were not able to defend yourself you could easily be hurt or even killed.  In the United States, violent crimes happen about as often as it rains in Malaysia.

That being said Malaysia is still a part of this imperfect world and bad things happen here as well, so it is extremely important to be able to defend yourself.

A student once asked a warrior (Teacher) “why do you always tell us to be peaceful but you are always teaching us how to fight?”  The teacher responded to his student that “it is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war.

Izza MMA

Words of Advice

Do it with the right intentions and you will be rewarded for that.

The Obstacles, Past and Present

We have found that being profitable in this industry is very difficult.  The reason is that for every new student that walks in the door another one quits. 

When they come in they are are so pumped about getting fit and strong. Then when they realize that there is some serious work and effort needed many give up.

Imagine yourself sitting on your couch and eating some cookies, the clock is ticking and there are only 15 minutes until Muay Thai class starts.  Do you put the cookies down so you can go through an hour and a half of grueling but awesome exercise and training?  Or do you continue eating cookies and tell yourself you will go tomorrow?  For many students, tomorrow never comes but there is always a fresh supply of cookies close at hand, HAHA!

Tips on Life

“Almost everything in life worth obtaining can only be done so through hard work, patience and consistency.  Think smart, set goals and bust your butt trying to achieve them!”

And that was Coach Salmaan Safari, telling us about Izza and it roots! A truly awesome MMA academy indeed.

So do please check out their website: izzamma.com

And see if you have the ambition to join!

Thanks for reading! We have plenty more articles on lifestyle, business and food on our lovely blog! So do check those out too!

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