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Fitness Clubs

Black Devil MMA

Posted by Erica Berman / Posted on July 26, 2014

black devil mma torontoBlack Devil MMA relocated a year ago to its current location on Bloor Street, just west of Bathurst, after outgrowing its first home just slightly to the east. Owner and head coach Danny Beauclerc has trained a number of athletes who have gone on to win championship titles in muay thai, nogi submission grappling, and mixed martial arts.

The facility is huge and open, located in the basement level of a commercial building. The space features Zebra Training Series mats, wall pads and pillar pads, a custom made 22-foot octagon, and an isolated strength and condition area. There are six heavy bags, and a separate weight room with bench press, free weights, kettle bells, battle ropes, hurdles, an agility ladder, and medicine balls (among other things).

black devil mma torontoThere are also men's and women's change rooms outfitted with a toilet stall and single shower. The facilities are aged and bare-bones - but most folks looking for MMA training are not looking for chandeliers and fluffy bathrobes.

black devil mma torontoI dropped in for a late-morning grappling class without having any idea what it was. Had I known it was essentially wrestling moves done on the mat, I wouldn't have necessarily chosen it - but in the end, I'm glad I pushed beyond my usual comfort zone.

black devil mma torontoBlack Devil offers several types of classes: grappling, of course, as well as striking and MMA, which combines both grappling and striking. While women, like myself, may not be inherently drawn to grappling, we're well-suited for it; it employs strategies and techniques aimed at gaining a physical advantage over one's opponent that does not necessarily require size or brute strength.

That being said, I was still relieved that there was another woman in the class I could partner with. One warning: if you do want to try grappling, be prepared to frequently have your crotch in your partner's face, and vice versa.

black devil mma torontoClasses are aimed at mastering MMA techniques - they are not meant to be group exercise classes to burn maximum calories, but make no mistake, regular practice of these skills will get you fit. My partner, who has been training at Black Devil for five months, said she has seen significant improvements in her strength and flexibility.

According to Beauclerc, only a fraction of students are interested in fighting - most come to learn the skills and for the fitness benefits. I definitely felt how much core and leg strength is required to master these moves.

black devil mma torontoBeauclerc and I discussed what a shame it is that many folks believe that MMA is only for aggressive, testosterone-fueled knuckle-heads, and that this likely turns away many women, in particular. Certainly, I have found the people I have met in the MMA world to be very thoughtful, enlightened individuals, who are very welcoming to women and to newbies.

black devil mma torontoI definitely experienced this at Black Devil. The minute I walked out of the change room, the other class participants smiled at me and introduced themselves. So if you are looking to step out of your comfort zone, learn some useful self-defense moves and get fit, you might want to drop into Black Devil MMA.

black devil mma torontoMembership options include a 10-class pass for $200, one month prepaid for $132.50, six months prepaid for $765 (including includes 8 oz. MMA or 12 oz. sparring gloves, handwraps, mouthguard, MMA shinguards and jock/jill) and one year prepaid for $1430, which includes all training equipment and a free training session with Beauclerc.

black devil mma torontoPhotos by Jesse Milns.

Discussion

19 Comments

Geoff / July 26, 2014 at 10:34 am
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This is kinda of a strange review, since it is written by someone who has never done MMA, don't you think?

Would you send someone who has never had eaten a donut to review a donut shop?

There isn't really anything here for those of us familiar with MMA looking for a good gym.
Danny / July 26, 2014 at 04:51 pm
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What questions were you looking to have answered Geoff?

She covered most things someone would need to know.
Also, if you're already familiar with MMA, then you're more likely coming in to do a trial class, as a means of determining whether or not it's a good gym.
Danny / July 26, 2014 at 05:13 pm
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Haha, sorry for the double post, my first comment disappeared for a while there... :)
Amiri / July 26, 2014 at 06:02 pm
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Two years ago I went to a trial class at Black Devil MMA with no martial arts experience whatsoever. Needless to say I was very intimidated.

The coaches and the other students, however, made me feel comfortable immediately. Everyone was helpful and cool.

I initially wanted to learn how to defend myself (and maybe get a six pack). Now at 33 years old I feel more confident and fit than I ever have. I've competed at the New York State Grappling Championships and StriKing Muay Thai competition under Coach Danny and I've enjoyed the experiences win or lose.

More than anything I would recommend Black Devil MMA not only because the price is affordable but because you get top notch instruction in a world-class facility in a family atmosphere.
Sidney / July 26, 2014 at 08:39 pm
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Coming to DEV is a place for everybody. Danny take the time for everyone. The atmosphere is always positive. Everyone is there to get better and are always supportive. I couldn't think of going anywhere else.
Shane / July 26, 2014 at 09:01 pm
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I have been at Black devil Mma for about 2 years now, i have cross trained at Siam (both locations) Lanna MMA, and Head Rush Training Center, and Contact Kicks, and to be honest they are all great gyms but this is the only gym where I felt the least intimidated, Other gyms ive gone to has the macho man vibe and really go hard whether its your first day or not, i cant explain what approach Danny has to fighting, but he teaches unlike any other coach and from that ive gone on to win competitions and we've had fellow teammates bring home belts with his and other instructors teachings. Other gyms have complimented me on my form and sparring as well (which I have only learned from Black Devil. Ive had the chance to be anywhere else but this is home, I recommend anyone to try.
Arash / July 26, 2014 at 09:26 pm
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I started training in January. I have had some injuries in the past that I thought will cause issues for me training in combat sports. Since day one everyone has been nothing but supportive. Anytime I have a question or any concerns, I have had nothing but support. I consider everyone at Black Devil MMA part of my family. Danny is extremely understanding and is always there to answer any questions or concerns I may have. Best crew in the world. AKA who? Black Devils all the way!
Adrien / July 27, 2014 at 10:02 am
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I've been through a lot of gym (in France and Canada), and Black Devil MMA is FROM FAAAAR the best for me. Everybody is friendly and make you feel confortable. Also, the coach and instructors are great, and really helpful. They care about you and teach you the tips which make the difference.
Anyway, i consider those guys like my family and i would never go to another gym !!!
Yumi / July 27, 2014 at 11:24 am
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As a woman, I find that entering male-dominated spaces can feel intimidating and sometimes straight up unwelcoming. At Black Devil MMA, from my first class to 5 months later, I have always felt right at home and at ease.

Though I'm often paired with male students who are stronger, taller, and bigger than me, no one feels the need to prove that they can break me. Instead, they try to teach me how to beat them. How amazing is that?

And those are the students. I cannot say enough about the instructors. They are all incredible teachers. They're kind, patient, and extremely skilled. It's the perfect balance between being supportive and pushing you. You can see the difference in the fighters that come out of our gym.

Before MMA, I had never really done anything to exercise and I was pretty out of shape. The main barriers for me against exercising long-term were boredom (jogging, gyms, etc.) and too much time to get skilled enough where it would be fun to do the activity (sports).

That has not been the case at Black Devs. I also like that the outcomes of working out are not only to be in shape or become a fighter, but to learn and expand yourself, have fun, and be a part of a community that feels like family. I haven't been able to find anything else that can do that. Come and try the trial classes to see if this is the thing you've been looking for.
Danna / July 27, 2014 at 12:31 pm
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I came to Black Devil MMA with a little bit of a taekwondo background but nothing too fancy, and although I have only been at Black Devil MMA for a little under three months, my fighting ability has improved drastically. Not only do the coaches invest a lot of one on one time with you, but the more experienced students are always there ready to give you pointers or a helping hand with anything you need to know. With that being said, the classes are just the perfect size, there are never too many people that will keep the coaches from attending to your needs, but there are just enough people to keep you motivated and who fill the room up with such energy that you always push hard right through to the last seconds of the workout/drills.
I had no idea what I wanted to get out of when coming to Black Devil, but I knew I loved fighting and wanted to learn proper techniques and new styles, and as a student paying it on my own, seeing how afforadble it was I was able to make the decision of taking classes very quickly. I honestly do doubt that you will find other gyms with the same expertise and personalized training for the same price.
Whether you're looking to become a champion in whatever style of fighting you choose, or whether you're just looking to get in incredible shape, or both, Black Devil MMA can get you there.
I've been there for a shorter period of time than most of the other students but I've been hooked, and I will continue to train there for years to come, the traveling is worth it for me.
I highly recommend this gym to anybody who is interested in learning how to fight, or to those who already know and love the sport and want to get even better at it.
Lui / July 27, 2014 at 01:52 pm
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Black Devil MMA is a great environment to train in whether you want to compete, have a great work out or just learn some proper martial arts techniques. Coach Danny is a very knowledgeable and experienced fighter who makes all his students feel comfortable with his positive and friendly attitude. With his guidance and the help of some great training partners I was able to win the 2014 Super Middleweight Muay Thai Championship in Iowa. A memory that will always be with me thanks to this gym and the people who occupy it.
Abed / July 27, 2014 at 10:37 pm
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Black Devil MMA is the best gym you have not yet tried.

The instructors genuinely enjoy teaching and helping you improve. Lina and Danny treat you like family. The camaraderie and support within the gym is tangible.

Inclusiveness is not an afterthought, but rather the backbone of Black Devil MMA: everyone, regardless of fitness level and experience is welcomed - and encouraged! - to train.

As a bonus, the members there are quite attractive - particularly one South Asian guy whom I have not seen in a while (probably out saving the world).
James / July 28, 2014 at 12:19 pm
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I joined Black Devil MMA a bit over 2 years ago (2 years and 3 days to be exact) and everything about the gym is nothing short of amazing. My original reason was for stress relief, weight loss (since then I have lost close to 35lbs and am in great shape).

Regardless of any one's goal, should it be general fitness, weight loss, competition, etc. head coach Danny Beauclerc will make sure you succeed in the area of your choosing. There is no pressure to fight or compete. Safety is the number one concern here, and Danny is able to make sure everyone stays in one piece and not broken for the sake of promoting the gym name. Regardless, a good and heavy workout that will make you feel accomplished will occur at the end of the day.

All the other coaches/jr. instructors are all helpful, friendly, insightful and will provide detailed instruction and methods to further your needs.

Although Black Devil MMA may not carry as much weight as some other gyms in the martial arts community, coach Danny and Black Devil MMA has produced fighters, champions, and tournament winners that stand among (if not higher) other champions on the podium amongst some of the more rich and prestigious gyms in both Canada and the United States.

All in all, Black Devil MMA is a great gym for anyone, novice or experienced.
Tony Jack / July 28, 2014 at 10:56 pm
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All these "reviews" are being written by black devil officials.
Lina / July 29, 2014 at 02:29 pm
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As a Black Devil official, I'm offended by that accusation. We've worked very hard to cultivate and earn the loyalty and support of our members. Our prices and schedule are transparent and clearly posted on our website. I invite you to come in and visit the gym in person - you will meet the very real people who wrote these reviews and understand what they mean.
Tyler Forbes / July 30, 2014 at 10:38 pm
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I moved to Toronto 9 months ago and one of the first things I did when I got here was scope out the city for a new MMA gym. I had trained prior to moving to Toronto and knew what I wanted to find in a good gym. Toronto has many great MMA gyms to choose from and most of them offer free trial classes so you can get a feel for each one. After trying a variety of different clubs, I came across Black Devil.

Black Devil was a refreshing change from many of the other gyms I had tried in the city. Danny and Lina, the owners of Black Devil, were very welcoming from the moment I walked into the gym. I tried a grappling class on my first visit and a striking class the following day. They let their teaching speak for itself and never once tried to pressure me into signing up during my trial.

Coach Danny is an amazing instructor. The smaller class sizes allow him to give a lot of one-on-one instruction. You can tell that Danny really has a passion for teaching. He spends an equal amount of time with all of his students, from the newcomers right up to his seasoned competition fighters. Being a lighter fighter himself, Danny's classes are very focused on perfect technique rather than strength, which makes for a fantastic learning experience for both beginners and experienced alike. The amount of medals and belts won by Black Devils fighters under coach Danny is a testament to his teaching ability (Danny coached me into winning a medal in the New York State Grappling Championship just last April).

Whether you are looking to compete in martial arts, get in shape or just have some fun, I suggest giving Black Devil a try. It is the best gym of it's kind in the city.
aaron / July 31, 2014 at 01:00 am
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There are no shills in these comments. I train with all these people and they are being honest and just trying to help out the owners by sharing their positive experiences.

I'm not at all athletic and jumping into MMA training was a big deal for me. This gym is really friendly - there's no macho bullshit or pressure. The members are friendly, the space is nice and you get a lot of personal attention from the instructors. Anyway, don't be intimidated - very welcoming and nurturing environment :)
Ben / August 2, 2014 at 05:48 pm
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This is an amazing gym with amazing people. Everyone is welcoming, friendly, and accommodating to every level of experience. You never feel stupid asking questions and the head coach is awesome.
Rob C / August 7, 2014 at 11:31 am
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As a member of the gym since February, I can wholeheartedly agree that Black Devil is a superb MMA gym for both newcomers and experienced participants. Having zero training beforehand myself, and through the instructors' catering-to-your-training level approach, all previous feelings of intimidation and hesitation were diluted after the first class.

Danny and the coaches are friendly, knowledgeable and will always provide the extra time to show you proper techniques.

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