Mixed Martial Arts Go Downtown

By Beacon Staff

With the marriage of Travis and Kisa Davison, we have the marriage of mixed martial arts and yoga.

The Davisons opened Straight Blast Gym in downtown Kalispell in December. The gym offers classes, taught by Travis, for jiu-jitsu, submission wrestling and mixed martial arts. In the back of the building, located at 419 First Avenue East, Kisa teaches Iyengar Yoga.

Travis is a long-time competitor and teacher of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the foundation discipline for most mixed martial artists, including those who participate in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He believes, partly because of the notoriety of the UFC, MMA will surpass traditional forms of martial arts like karate and kung fu in popularity.

At his gym, Davison offers classes for both kids and adults. There are currently no women’s only classes, but females participate alongside their male counterparts. Davison focuses on technique and form.

Jiu-jitsu is based on posture and position. Breathing and flexibility are of utmost importance. Students learn about joint structures and grappling maneuvers, working up a sweat during the hour or hour-and-a-half long sessions. For those who choose to try out MMA, striking techniques are taught in addition to jiu-jitsu’s grappling fundamentals.

His gym is inviting, and this isn’t by chance. Davison avoids perpetuating the stereotype of the brutal ultimate fighter. Soft-spoken and unassuming by nature, he has always let his performances speak for himself in his own career – last year he won a bronze medal at the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in California.

“I don’t think there’s any need for that shaved-head, bad-attitude type of thing in jiu-jitsu,” Davison said.

Kisa Davison is a yoga instructor with a resume that extends through multiple states. Most recently she has taught classes at the Summit Medical Fitness Center and Healing Sun in Kalispell. Kisa said Travis sends some of his students to her classes. Iyengar Yoga, she said, helps with joint flexibility and breathing ability, as well as injury prevention in the muscles. These qualities carry over nicely to the jiu-jitsu mat.

Iyengar Yoga, Kisa said, emphasizes proper alignment and is helpful for elderly, people with physical disabilities and people recovering from injuries. She said she shies away from what she calls yoga’s “glamour poses.”

“Most students don’t find themselves with their ankles twisted around their head,” she said. “We look at specifically putting the systems of your body in better health so the result is that you’ll not only be healthier, you’ll be happier.”

Travis was previously an instructor at Kevin Moore’s Universal Submission Academy (U.S.A.) in Creston. When Moore shut the academy down to focus on his two other U.S.A. gyms in Bozeman and Great Falls, as well as his Fight Force traveling team, Travis purchased his equipment and set up shop downtown. Ironically, it’s the same location where Moore originally had his U.S.A. gym.

Moore said Davison is an excellent instructor and is happy to see the Flathead’s jiu-jitsu culture continue in his hands. Many of Davison’s current students previously trained at U.S.A., but he’s also getting new members who just happen to walk by, an advantage of his downtown location. Overall, Davison said he receives at least one inquiry a day about the gym.

Both Travis’s and Kisa’s classes range in price from $45 to $109 per month, depending on the lesson’s subject matter and how many times it’s held per week. The drop-in fee is $12 per class. Six-month and annual memberships are available too. Sundays are open mat days for members.

Travis said most people take his classes for fun and fitness. He cautions against taking them for self-defense purposes, believing this is a dangerous philosophy.

“I generally encourage people to pick their friends and where they hang out and that takes care of 99 percent of self-defense problems,” Davison said.

Call (406) 250-2380 or e-mail sbgmontana@gmail.com for more information.

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