The only thing that may give you an inkling as to Scott Ireland’s previous and current occupations are probably his thrice broken nose.
The man does not look like he was, at the time, England’s youngest ever professional MMA Fighter. He doesn’t look like a former Investment Banker either.
It’s not only his appearance that throws you a curve ball. His general demeanour doesn’t exactly scream ‘martial artist’. It’s not the fact that he is always smiling, laughing and relaxed, because they always say these Van Dam types are zen-like. It’s just that he doesn’t take himself very seriously.
He’s as happy pointing fun at himself as he is at you. His approach to grooming and fashion is not very serious either. There is a reason he is affectionately called the ‘Hobo’ and it’s not due to a fondness for freight trains.
The mystery is finally solved when you put Mr. Ireland in a cage, ring or on a grappling mat. When the shaggy hair is flying furiously in the air, you soon understand that the ‘Bearded One’ has spent a serious amount of time honing his numerous crafts. At just twenty-nine years of age, you wonder where and when this all started, but with further viewing you quickly come to the realization that it probably started as soon as he could walk.
Scott Ireland cannot stay still for long unless he is recovering from a gruelling training session. He obviously has some form of martial arts ADHD, so much so that his loving girlfriend organises ‘activities’ & gym/academy visits to keep him occupied when they’re away on their frequent and disgustingly awesome holidays.
What this all means is that Scott can provide a level and variety of coaching, across all disciplines at the gym matched by few people on the continent, let alone Sydney.
Scott’s introduction to the martial arts began with karate at the age of six. Having been raised on a steady diet of Mr. Miyagi, Bruce Lee & Jackie Chan, this was inevitable. A black belt at the age of 12, a pretty standard procedure back then, Scott looked elsewhere for inspiration. After dabbling with Aikido, mostly because of that martial-arts-misfit Steven Segal, Scott discovered Submission Grappling and MMA.
Antony Jardine was Scott’s first MMA Coach and he began training across the various disciplines. A quick learner, the fifteen year old excelled in his new environment, training with an eclectic cast he was soon matched up for his first professional MMA fight, becoming at the time England’s youngest MMA fighter at sixteen years of age.
This period also coincided with Scott linking up with English K-1 Champion Gary Turner. Turner was a proponent of Dutch Muay-Thai and had trained under Legendary Coach Lucien Carbin. Carbin has taught the likes of World Champions Tyrone Spong, Alistair Overeem and Andy Risite. It is style which is inherent in Scott’s coaching philosophy. The Dutch school of Muay-Thai focusses on using punch combinations to set up kicks, with Carbin’s particular style emphasising the use of kicks to establish distance and shifting stances seamlessly to land strikes.
Now eighteen and having polished up his striking, Scott began training under Carlson Gracie Black Belt Wilson Junior in London. Scott would progress to Purple Belt under Wilson and gained a greater understanding of the ‘gentle art’, whilst developing the pressure-passing game synonymous with their school.
Three years later Scott and friends created the MMA group ‘Team Mayhem’, gaining a name for itself converting Judo competitors into MMA Fighters. The team would eventually grow to a collective of thirty or so fighters before Scott left the UK in his mid-twenties, giving up a job in London’s financial district in search of something more meaningful. However, the friendships he established at Carlson’s and Team Mayhem remain true to this day and he is always sure to visit his former training partners whenever he is back home.
After arriving in Australia (via a stint in Canada) Scott began to train under Fabio and would soon become his first Brown Belt. This coincided with Scott becoming a fulltime Muay-Thai, MMA and Boxing Instructor at the gym in McMahons Point where Fabs was resident. Scott would go on to train both Professionals and Amateurs who competed in MMA, building his reputation as a Fight Coach.
Scott, alongside Ayo, runs the Fight Team at Training Grounds. They have developed a team of over twenty fighters across the disciplines who compete interstate & nationally, often giving up their weekends for the cause. The team serves as the icing on the cake for both and there are few things that make them happier than watching their students challenge themselves at the highest levels.
Scott’s philosophy in regards to teaching and training the Martial Arts focusses on technique, racticality & enjoyment. For him it boils down to whether his art will be effective in competition and/or in real life self-defence situations and his primary question when learning new techniques is whether they are practical. When it comes to teaching he believes that it’s pointless if he can’t do it with a smile on his face, training is often hard and gruelling but ultimately you have to enjoy it to really progress.