Movies like Race 2, Brother, and Sultan popularised MMA by showing slick action scenes and weaving the action into an interesting story. MMA of mixed martial arts is something that has caught the attention of city youth and India’s youth, thanks to the consistent efforts of coach Sheikh Khalid. Today, he has students who have gone on to win medals within the country and abroad.
Khalid started Hyderabad MMA in 2013 and has been turning motivated learners into championship-caliber talent. Khalid himself began at an akhaada. He initially started with wrestling but later took to karate. The non-full-contact nature of karate later drew him to Muay Thai style. Muay Thai utilized all limbs for potent strikes via elbows, knees, fists, and shins.
‘The’ Bruce Lee is considered to be the father of modern MMA by many Khalid is no different. His first student was Mahboob, who was a driver initially. However, spotting talent in him, Khalid coached him by paying for his daily expenses, and Mahbood has an impressive 36-5 amateur win-loss record and won India its first gold medal in MMA at the 2018 International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) championships. His achievements have been noticed by US-based organizations like Professional Fighters League (PFL) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
After experimenting with various styles, Khalid, along with some of his students-cum-training partners, Mohammad Bilal and Khurshid Mohiuddin (currently a trainer in Chicago), take to MMA. They slowly began to grasp the cross-training nature of the sport, which combines methods and techniques of various combat sport styles.MMA incorporates not just striking elements of Muay Thai but powerful punches from boxing and karate and has elements from wrestling, judo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, all of which involve a combatant grappling with the opponent to get them to the ground.
While it might sound like some over-hyped street fight style, MMA has strict rules in place, such as prohibiting groin attacks, eye-gouging, etc.
Not surprisingly, Khalid has also trained three girls from the city. However, due to various reasons, they are not in the professional circuit. But Khalid intends to train more in the future. For now, Khalid coaches Team India at international competitions and has eight training centers in the city.