For the last 4 and half years, Rica Grandison has shared her knowledge and skills of Mixed Martial Arts with people all over the Metro Atlanta area. From teaching self-defense tactics to coaching youth boxing, Rica has done it all.
From a young age, Rica was participating in some sort of sport whether it be a mixed martial arts class, boxing, or a team sport. She got her start in mixed martial arts at a very young age. At the age of 6, she started taking Taekwondo. It wasn’t until her uncle, who was a professional boxer, came along that she started getting into boxing realm. Rica started participating in youth boxing at her local YMCA. When she was 18, she decided to join her uncle in Japan for 2 years where she learned the ends and outs of mixed martial arts.
“I studied a Japanese style of kickboxing while I was in Japan. I loved it over there. I started to fight while I was over there, I went to Hong Kong and all of Brazil, with my team. I enjoyed it so much. I received my 3-degree black belt in Taekwondo at the age of 28.”
Rica came back to the states and attended the University of Minnesota, where she played 2 years of NCAA basketball for the Golden Gophers. Once finished, she started working for Lifetime Fitness, which she helped develop in the area. Moving around the country, Rica finally found home in the Bay Area of California where she worked for 24-hour Fitness and started to return back to her passion for Mixed Martial Arts. With the help of Ken Shamrock and the Lion’s Den, Rica started to find her passion again.
“I got noticed by Kenny Shamrock and the Lions, for being one of the first females to start this MMA world out here, where it wasn’t even sanctioned yet. Once I started working under him, I was in Vegas a lot fighting and did that for a while, but then I slowed down. It was a lot on my body. So, I stopped, and I started teaching mixed martial arts. I went to Colorado and started a Girls on Guard program with the Colorado Police Department. When I moved to Atlanta, they linked me up with the federal building doing self-defense with DA officers and then that’s when I found X3 Sports.”
Eventually finding her way to Atlanta, Rica started out at the Inman Park location and after time, she moved over to the Marietta club and became the training manager. Yet, teaching people was her passion. She loved being in the gym and working with people on a daily basis. So, she moved back over to the Inman Park location and started teaching pretty much every class except for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
“I love to teach. I want to be involved and that’s why I came back to teach. I can teach just about every class except Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and I’d say kickboxing is my favorite to teach. I keep the class fun, we move a lot, burn a lot of calories, but I’m also teaching these members self-defense tactics so that they can always have them just in case.”
Another one of her passions is working with the X3 Foundation. Though the X3 Foundation boxing program, our trainers and coaches are working with teenage boys at high schools around the Atlanta area to teach discipline and bring structure and responsibility into their lives.
“We talk to them, find out what’s going on in their day, and then we’ll box for about an hour. Once a month we do a show where they get to compete against each other. The boys love it. It keeps them off the streets, it keeps them from doing things they are not supposed to. It teaches them how to be discipline and how to be successful and from the time that we start with them, their maturity level has grown so much. We help them understand that there’s a purpose in life.”
Alongside of working with the foundation, Rica also teaches and trains clients daily, something that she says is one of the most rewarding things about this job.
“Changing lives is the most rewarding thing about this job. I love this so much that it is hard for me to defer to anything else. Making a difference in someone’s life, that’s so special.”
X3 Sports is not only a training facility but it’s a family.
“I love X3 Sports. This is family. I have been here for a long time and they are good to me. I’ll always tell people to come here. I don’t think that there is a better gym anywhere else in the state of Georgia that does Mixed Martial Arts better.”