Fight­ers flock to cou­ple’s new gym

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

It is just as well Sharon and Leamy Tato have so much room.

The founders of Tranz­for­mus mixed mar­tial arts (MMA) and kick­box­ing gym have re­lo­cated from their cramped premises in the old Porirua Hospi­tal grounds to a spa­cious area at the back of Wai­tan­girua Mall.

They have car­ried out plenty of ren­o­va­tions over the past month.

There is still a lot to do, but noth­ing can take the smiles off their faces.

It is the start of a new chap­ter and de­mand is high.

‘‘ Our orig­i­nal mem­bers from Kenepuru love the new place and we’re al­ready get­ting plenty of new faces in,’’ Sharon says.

‘‘We had a quar­ter of the room we have now, it’s just an amaz­ing space.’’

The hus­band and wife team have been run­ning an MMA gym for three years, with Leamy’s rep­u­ta­tion as a pro­fes­sional Muay Thai fighter un­der Rex Red­den help­ing them get es­tab­lished.

In their Wai­tan­girua gym they plan to re­tain their sim­ple philoso­phies of pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for those with se­ri­ous MMA am­bi­tions and mem­bers of the com­mu­nity who just want to get fit.

New Zealand MMA cham­pion Nato La’auli is un­der Leamy’s wing.

Sharon has left a full-time job with BNZ to run Tranz­for­mus, which she hopes will grow to 200 mem­bers.

‘‘We had 150 peo­ple through the door right from the start here and we didn’t have to do any ad­ver­tis­ing, it was just through Face­book and word-of-mouth.

‘‘It just hum­bles you, be­cause we are just do­ing some­thing that we are passionate about.

‘‘I think what makes it at­trac­tive is that this gym is some­where all ages and fit­ness lev­els can come to and it’s here in Wai­tan­girua. Peo­ple are coming from just up the road and around the cor­ner.’’

Leamy has a no-non­sense and de­mand­ing style, with ses­sions vary­ing week-to-week.

‘‘ Fight­ers can come in ev­ery day, be­fore or af­ter work, it’s close to home for a lot of them. But peo­ple want­ing a work­out can come in when they want, around their own sched­ule. We are cre­at­ing the right at­mos­phere but you can’t come in and hide at the back of the line, I want you to train prop­erly.’’

Kids and se­niors cost a gold coin per ses­sion, with mem­bers paying $ 15 a week. They run classes ev­ery day ex­cept Sun­day.

Sharon says they are even look­ing to ex­tend the space they have to meet de­mand, with huge lines for punch­ing bags. More equip­ment is be­ing sourced.

They are happy to be part of the mall’s re­ju­ve­na­tion, which is see­ing a com­mu­nity space be­ing es­tab­lished, new re­tail stores open­ing, and mu­rals and colour bright­en­ing the once- drab ex­te­rior.

Tranz­for­mus hope to hold at least two fight nights this year, in the hall next door.

Tranz­for­mus: Leamy Tato with some of the next gen­er­a­tion who will use the Wai­tan­girua gym – Josh Maoate, Do­rian Tato and Nasser Tato.

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