Even in countries where MMA is an established sport, starting your own MMA gym is an expensive business. So, when you talk about countries like India, opening up a gym is something not many would do. However, for Darshan Palav, his gym Ignition FSS was a dream come true.
“I established my first gym back in April 4, 2016.” Said the Hokutoryu Jujutsu/Japanese Jiu Jitsu black belt. “I had kept the project on halt for a long time,” Darshan said. “Having trained in the art of jiu-jitsu for over 9 years, I wanted to start-up my own training center.”
Darshan got involved in combat sports at a very young age. He played kabaddi and wrestling for his school and college before being introduced to the sport of MMA. “I used to watch Pride, and saw the game of Fedor and other fighters,” he said. “I understood the art and science involved, which got my interest in the sport.”
Back in 2009, when Darshan decided to take up the sport, there weren’t many places where you could learn BJJ or anything about MMA in general. The only place where you could go was Tigers / Evolution MMA, that was in Kandivali which was almost a three-hour one way journey for Palav.
“With college and my own training, going to Kandivali everyday wasn’t something I could afford,” Darshan explained. “That was when I came to know about a Jiu Jitsu dojo in Vashi. I started training there and competed in a number of tournaments. The dojo provided training in the Jiu Jitsu aspect of the sport.” Post that Darshan went on to compete in the SFL contenders series where he went 1-0.
It was after this brief stint did he realize that the quality of MMA training in India wasn’t really great. That turned out to be the factor which motivated him to start up his own gym. “I have worked in Army Sports Camps and have seen the way elite athletes train,” Darshan said. “I knew I could bring in something new to the table which will bring in a positive change in the sport. This is what brought out that spark in me to start my own gym.”
As it turned out, starting a gym wasn’t an easy business. “I wouldn’t have made it so far without the support of my family and team,” Darshan stated. “While starting up my gym, I had to focus on various things like location, expense and the equipment. My family and senior students were very supportive. Senior students would take classes when I wasn’t available, coach people and help in setting up the gym.”
However, Darshan feels that the journey from here is going to be very fruitful. “Many promotions are invested in Indian MMA, people are more aware about the sport and want to try their hands on this sport,” he explained. “This attitude will for sure give positive dividends.”
Learn more about Darshan Palav and the Ignition FSS training facility in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra by visiting their website at IgnitionFSS.com and find them on Instagram at @darshanpalav9 and @ignitionfss. Also, you can visit the Ignition FSS Facebook page.