DOWNEY – When Isaias Nambo opened the doors to King Cobra three years ago, he envisioned bringing his love of mixed martial arts to Downey and its surrounding communities by creating a gym that promotes competitive, full-contact training for all skill levels and ages.
Nambo has been a Muay Thai practitioner for 16 years now. If he could turn back the hands of time, he says he would have started sooner, so he welcomes kids as young as six to come and bask in the beauty of the art of eight limbs and train with the best.
“Before Muay Thai, I wasn’t a good person -- well I was good-hearted but made a lot of bad choices in life,” explained Nambo. “Muay Thai helped me stay busy, stay focused, and stay away from the bad choices and people I was hanging around before. It introduced me to a more positive crowd and humbled me.”
Most parents sign their children up to gain the experience and discipline of martial arts, but it is also a great form of decompression and exercise. It is a more natural release of excess energy due to hyperactivity, compared to resorting to pharmaceuticals.
Nambo admits the sport isn’t for everybody but welcomes all to come and give it a shot. He offers anyone in the community over the age of six one free workout at King Cobra, without any commitments or having to purchase anything.
Nambo’s love and passion for the sport is contagious, and the championship hardware is piling up quickly as a result of the hard work the coaches and young fighters are putting in. Nambo credits the grueling sparring sessions for their continued success.
Their mantra -- “Train Hard, Fight Easy” -- is paying off.
One of King Cobra’s top prospects, a 16-year-old, undefeated champion by the name of Jonathan O’Neil, recently brought home the IFS Junior Super Lightweight Championship belt at 137 lbs.
“When first I got here, I was kind of scared to fight. I still try to avoid fights (on the street), but now I am not afraid of anyone,” said O’Neil. ”I have the confidence that if I ever have to protect myself, I will be able to. It’s a great feeling to know that.”
O’Neil’s dream of continuing on to fight professionally for Glory kickboxing is rapidly becoming a real possibility as his amateur career continues to flourish.
He has only trained in MMA for two years but has fallen in love with the sport, much like Nambo many years before, and has already earned a sponsor in Prodigy Plumbing in Long Beach.
O’Neil hopes to continue his journey in MMA and eventually become a trainer so he could pass on the love of the sport.
Nambo brought on Jorge Rodrigo Azevedo to teach his authentic and aggressive style of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu all the way from Rio de Janeiro to the giant green mat at King Cobra. Azevedo is a second degree black belt, representing Grappling Fight Team, one of the most decorated BJJ academies in the world.
King Cobra is located at 12145 Paramount Blvd. in Downey. Phone: (562) 805-4705