Louisville, Kentucky – As part of my trip to the Midwest, I made a quick detour to Louisville, KY. From Indianapolis, I took a Greyhound bus to the station in Louisville on 8th street and Muhammad Ali Blvd. As a martial artist, I was of course excited to visit the hometown of Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali. The one thing on my list was to visit the museum dedicated to the late-Champ.
- Louisville weather can be rather unpredictable. It could be scorching hot but at the same time there could be thunderstorms so be sure to check weather before your trip.
- When you’re in the downtown area be sure to stay East of 9th street. Many locals warned me that there is a lot of gang and criminal activity on the West side so be sure to stay away to be safe (everything you need to see is on the East side anyways).
- There are several places to stay downtown but if you want something a little quieter, there are several hotels about 20mins east of downtown (by Hurstbourne, KY)
- If you’re planning to visit any of the museums, check online to see if it’s cheaper to buy tickets or if there are discounts.
Places to Visit as a Tourist
- Slugger Museum and Factory
- Muhammad Ali Center
- Ohio River
- Kentucky Derby Museum
- Louisville Waterfront Park
- Kentucky Science Center
- Speed Art Museum
- Fourth Street Live
- Mega Cavern
- Mussels & Burger Bar – Great bar located downtown that has some of the best truffle fries I’ve ever had. Good burgers too. Didn’t get a chance to try the mussels though.
- Burgoo – a well-known dish from Kentucky that is similar to a stew. Can be found at most BBQ restaurants.
- Hot Brown – Unique open-faced sandwich created in Kentucky. Can be found at J. Graham’s Café or the Brown Hotel.
- Bourbon – If you’re into cocktails, the city is big into bourbon. Look up bourbon trails for more information.
- Louisville Chili – Spicy chili that is served over spaghetti. I wasn’t able to find a spot to try this but it’s supposed to be a unique dish from Kentucky.
- Derby Pie – Can also be found at J. Graham’s Café. Usually made with chocolate and walnuts.
- Tip for “Mat Surfing” is to always call or contact the school ahead of time to see if you are even allowed to take a drop-in class or come by for an open mat session.
For this state, I was able to take a Sunday class at Area 502 Mixed Martial Arts (http://area502mma.com/).
The school is a little further out from downtown but the quality of training here is great. The facility itself was really large. As you enter you’ll notice an area for grappling and also a ring for most likely used for sparring. There are several types of heavy bags for striking and also a huge upstairs area with weight training/fitness equipment.
Roger Skillman conducted class when I was visiting. The day prior, he competed in the NAGA tournament in Cincinnati and took home the championship belt!
Class started with the traditional bow-in by rank and then some group stretches to warm up. As part of our warm up we partnered with each other to go over some basic drills. These included armbar from guard and triangle from guard
Roger taught a variety of techniques that I haven’t seen before. A unique one involved pinning your opponent down using their own gi and your knee. Aside from this, he also showed a couple variations to several moves from side control.
When class was about halfway done, Professor Phillip Perkins dropped by to show a couple techniques of his own. Most of these were unique techniques that I’ve never seen before. They worked off of either the side control or north-south position where your previous technique failed and you can follow up with another submission. One I particular liked was when you have a failed kimura and you switch to a choke that utilizes only your legs (not sure of the name but it was a no-arm triangle?)
After techniques we sparred for a few rounds. I was able to train with Tom, Roger, and Donnie who were all great guys. Shout out to Tom for being a great partner for all the drills. If you ever visit Area 502, he’s the guy that has perfect hair even after an intense workout. Not sure what kind of product this dude uses but his hair doesn’t move! Haha!
Overall, Area 502 is a great school with good people. I just wished I were able to attend class on another day when there were more people. Since I was in town the day after a big tournament, the class was rather small but the benefit for me was I got a lot out of it thanks to the small class that day.
Many thanks to Professor Phillips for having me at his gym. Also, big thanks to Roger for giving me a ride back into downtown to visit the Muhammad Ali Center.
I felt like I didn’t have enough time here in Louisville since I was only in town for a day and a half. There were things I still wanted to see and foods I wanted to try. Maybe I’ll revisit again sometime in the near future but for now, onto the next state! Ohio was next on my radar…
Louisville, Kentucky – July 2017
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