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PLYMOUTH - A need, a location, and a motivated leader has brought a new workout option to Marshall County.
Travis Smith, a well-known and respected mixed martial arts competitor and wrestling coach, is opening up his own facility, called the Hybrid Combat Club.
“I’ve had so many people ask me to open up a place like this,” said Smith, whose ring name was ‘Hybrid’, thus the inspiration for the name of the new business. “I woke up one day and thought, ‘This is what I’m doing.’”
The official address is 101 S. Michigan Street, but the actual location is in the lower level of the Integrity Academy Martial Arts building on the corner of Michigan Street and Laporte in downtown Plymouth. The easiest access is from the back of the building off the River Park Square parking lot.
Smith has been the general manager of Revolution Fitness Center in Osceola, Indiana, for the past seven years, but when The Zone stopped offering mixed martial arts classes, Smith saw the need.
“One of the main reasons I’m opening this place is to have an all-year wrestling club,” added Smith, who has been an assistant coach at PHS and was the head coach at Lincoln Jr. High this past season. “There is nothing like that around here. The closest location is New Carlisle.
“I have a knack for coaching. It’s something I love to do. I’ve been doing MMA (mixed martial arts) all these years. I can teach jiu jitsu. I can teach kickboxing. I can teach wrestling. I can teach MMA. I thought this was the best thing to do - open my own school.”
Initially, things moved quickly. The wheels were set in motion at the beginning of March and everything was put together in a month. Smith, who will have three sons wrestling for PHS next year, paid the first two months of rent on March 23 and all the equipment was moved in that weekend. He resigned from the GM position at Revolution at the end of March with an original opening day at Hybrid Combat Club set for April 7. 
“I told my wife that only an act of God would keep us from opening,” said Smith, who at the time, was just days from seeing his own school finally come to fruition.
As we all know, the coronavirus pandemic did cause a reset. The official opening day now is May 24.
Kickboxing and boxing classes will be offered on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively. Tuesday and Thursday offerings are Brazilian jiu jitsu (5:30) and wrestling (6:30). MMA will be on Saturdays at noon. Smith will offer private lessons on Fridays and Sundays by appointment. 
Other instructors include Pedro Silva (kickboxing) and Brandon Shelhart (boxing). Shelhart has pro MMA experience through the well-known Bellator brand. Smith will help with all of the classes.
The classes are geared for sixth grade - adults. If there is a demand for the younger ages, Smith will offer a class for that. The Rockies Youth Wrestling Club (kindergarten and up) will also run out of Hybrid Combat Club during the wrestling season.
To sign up for a class or for more information, the phone number is (574) 767-0874. Facebook and Instagram pages are in place and a website (hybridcombatclub.com) is in the works. 
Smith already has around 20 prospective clients and is hopeful others will look into trying out his gym.
“When you take a journey into martial arts, you are not only going to grow physically, you are going to grow mentally,” Smith added. “It’s one of the best forms of therapy. I’m not just a martial arts coach, I’m a life coach. I’m trying to be who I needed when I was younger. The bigger thing to me is the community outreach, being able to impact lives, just giving kids an out. Instead of doing things they shouldn’t be doing, they can come here to the gym. The vibe they are going to get is positive. I talk about integrity and compassion. My heart is big. I wrestled with some things when I was younger and I didn’t have anybody that I could turn to. I didn’t have a coach invested in me. That’s what I’m trying to be. Martial arts saved my life.”

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