FIGHT CLUB: Kicks that knock an opponent down, a punch that might leave the rival disoriented and submission moves that compel the challenger to tap out of a fight… the new rage for mixed martial arts is growing in popularity in Goa. Above are a few pictures of fighters at the TSF Gym.


The rise in popularity of combat sports has gradually increased in the country. Growing up as a kid the only thing we were exposed to was professional wrestling which was flagged by the popular brand WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). Little did we know at the time that the fights were all staged and choreographed. Even after realising the reality of this form of entertainment it never stopped one from idolising professional wrestlers. Today the Ultimate Fighting Championship popularly known as the UFC has increased the popularity of combat sports all across the globe. India is no alien to this form of sport and slowly we are seeing Goa becoming a destination for Mix Martial Art events.

MASTER Suresh Madkodli is an instructor in Taekwondo. He is a two-time international player for India, with international Taekwondo umpiring experience and eight years of coaching expertise in Taekwondo, kickboxing, mixed martial arts and fitness training. Master Suresh Madkodli has trained students for state, national as well as international events. His students have won medals in various Taekwando events. We met up with Master Suresh, who has started the Team Suresh Fitness Gym in Caranzalem-Miramar, to understand the benefits of a sport that many adults have mixed feelings about….

QUESTION: What is TSF Fitness and how did it start?
MASTER SURESH: Having established my base in Taekwando, I was looking to give back to community by influencing young kids inculcate a disciplined lifestyle, something that Taekwando taught me. So, eight years back I started taking classes in Merces and Old Goa. We didn’t have a gym like we have today, so classes were taken out in the open. Gradually building and by word of mouth I expanded and got an opportunity to teach at Caculo Mall.
The validation of getting recognised and appreciated for the training I rendered kept me going and soon I got an opportunity to teach at Basilio’s Gym in St Inez in Panaji. At the same time, I also started teaching at Pro Kids, which is a play school for young children that imparts different life skills and hobbies. Despite the multitude of opportunities, I always wanted to establish my own studio/gym. I then started teaching at Fitness Bar Miramar, a gym which at the time was growing in popularity.
Unlike the previous places where I taught kids only Taekwando, Fitness Bar was the first place I started teaching MMA which attracted people across different age groups. Just as I started building a substantial clientele the pandemic struck and all gyms were closed. Parents were apprehensive about sending their kids to train and so we started from scratch yet again by training at Miramar beach. This proved to be disastrous and from 20 students I ended up having just two!
This was when I decided it was time to set up my own studio. With the personal training I used to render and the money I had saved over the years. I started Team Suresh Fitness at Caranzalem.

Q:What are the type of classes, facilities and equipment provided at TSF?
ANSWER: A Team Suresh Fitness concentrates on all forms of fitness. At the moment we organise different classes like yoga, taekwando, mixed martial arts, kick boxing personal training which encompasses weight training programmes, etc. Quite recently now we have hired an international trainer to teach kids gymnastics. Classes are organised from Monday to Friday with each batch training on alternate days. With regards to facilities we have gradually grown as funds come in.
We have a fully matted gym which makes it safe for our students to train. We have invested in an adequate number of punching bags, gloves, knee guards, etc. We have also invested in a cross-fit equipment like rope, tyre, hammer, pull up bar, etc. The gym is fully equipped to facilitate and cater to every aspect of fitness.
Q: What do the personal training sessions at TSF encompass?
A: Here at TSF we offer packages that are unique to each individual. Each individual’s requirements are studied and thoroughly researched on. At the moment we do not have an in-house nutritionist; however, diet plans are also included after consultation with an expert. Each day’s exercises are systematically organised in order to improve the holistic growth of every individual. Counselling sessions are also organised so that clients can voice their opinion and also clear individualistic doubts.

Q: How do you tailor your lessons to suit the needs of young and new students?
A: When a young student walks into TSF, first and foremost we try and make them comfortable. If it is an adolescent or adult it is important to understand the motive behind them coming to the gym. Some come to learn self-defence, some are here to improve their fitness, and some are here with an intention to turn professional. For an amateur or newbie, we try to gradually grow their interest. At the start it is important to conduct the sessions at the pace of the students and gradually increase their fitness levels to a point when you can increase their physical demands. Here at TSF understanding each client is our utmost priority

Youth: Master Suresh Madkodli trains kids to establish a base in Taekwando to compete at state, national and international events.

Q: How do women benefit from MMA?
A: As a woman, a huge part of your journey involves becoming stronger and more confident in whatever you do – not just emotionally, but mentally and physically too. It doesn’t matter where you live, whether it’s the most dangerous or the safest city or neighbourhood, you can benefit from challenging yourself every day.
● It is true that we all face difficulties in our lives based on our gender, whether it’s at home, the streets or our workplace. People who train in MMA, especially women, will agree that it can solve many problems for us, such as teaching us self-defence, making us stronger and healthier. Though, in the beginning, it may be intimidating to be in a male-dominated environment. But once you get past the initial stage, you are sure to benefit from the sport.

Q: How does MMA help kids?
A: Now, this may have you worried that they’ll become violent, however, in actual fact learning the very skilled art of self-defence means that your child will learn how to diffuse a fight rather than start one. A huge part of MMA isn’t necessarily about the “power” of the moves but about having the restraint and technique to remain in control of a physical situation. Plus, they’ll be learning in a totally safe, team-centric environment so the chances of them getting hurt in class are really slim.
Q: What is the lifestyle of an MMA athlete?
● It’s all about mindset
Before you think about training or nutrition, being an MMA fighter is all about mindset. You’ve got to be willing to put in the hard work, every day. This means showing up at the gym and giving your all even when you don’t feel like it. It means embracing pain and using it to challenge yourself.

Q: How does MMA benefit you in your everyday routine?
A: Improves your confidence:
● Learning mixed martial arts helps to build confidence. Learning MMA teaches you practical self-defence skills, which make you more confident as you go about your daily activities. Training also leans out your physique which helps you feel better about the way you look.
● Improves your mood:
Training mixed martial arts gives you an intense physical workout, leading to dopamine being released in your brain. These feel-good hormones make you feel calmer, relaxed, and even help elevate your mood.
● Improves cardiovascular health and fitness:
One of the most important benefits of learning mixed martial arts is the improved cardiovascular health it provides. Doctors recommend getting at least 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular exercises three to five days a week. MMA training gives you that and a lot more. It gets your blood pumping while strengthening both your heart and lungs. It also reduces the risk of developing chronic issues like depression, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and strokes.
● Increase your overall strength:
MMA training helps increase your functional strength. This goes beyond having an impressive physique that you can be proud of. MMA builds up your functional strength by building up structural muscles that might be weakened due to a sedentary lifestyle.

Q: Finally, how do you expect TSF to grow in the next five years?
A: I have a lot of ambitions for the growth of TSF. In a year’s times we have progressively grown in popularity. We plan to hire more trainers for fitness, Taekwando, MMA, Gymnastics, to work under the TSF banner. The plan is also to establish a full-fledged gym covering every aspect of fitness from nutrition to post-workout therapy.
In five years’ time we plan to expand beyond Panaji. For this we require considerable investment. The objective is to work hard and provide good training services and in turn the public will take notice. We also plan on training MMA fighters to go professional which will definitely be accomplished seeing the dedication of some of the fighters that train at TSF.

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