About Crazy 88 Mixed Martial Arts
Crazy 88 was founded in March 2005 by Julius Park as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school in Elkridge MD.
We started as a Jiu-Jitsu only gym, open three nights week. Today, we operate two thriving Mixed Martial Arts gyms in the Baltimore area – 7 days a week. We offer a wide range of classes, from Jiu-Jitsu to Boxing to MMA to Muay Thai Kickboxing to Fitness training, to all ages and all experience levels – from complete novices to Professional athletes.
During our 10+ years in business, Crazy 88 has been recognized nationally for our exceptional training that has brought our students to success at the highest levels of competition.
Why We Exist by Julius Park
Like many people, my interest in the martial arts exploded when I saw Royce Gracie win the first few events of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). I clearly remember watching UFC 3 on VHS and being shocked at how different it was from what I had seen in Martial Arts movies and in my childhood Tae Kwon Do classes. This little guy was defeating all these giant challengers, without punching and kicking, but with grappling?!? It was amazing.
What I wanted to do with Crazy 88 from a cultural standpoint was combine the best of the Jiu-Jitsu world and the Wrestling world.
What I loved about wrestling is its disciplined no-nonsense attitude. It was REAL. You knew if someone had gotten the better of you that day. You knew you were going to work hard. I’m always reminded of Olympic Gold Medalist Tom Brands’ quote “You don’t DESERVE anything. You have to earn it.” This emphasis on hard work and accomplishment rather than entitlement is so important.
Like wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu had that feeling of “realness” but maintained a greater emphasis on team. Teammates are not all competing for that 1 varsity spot and so there is more reason for everyone to help each other. It also brings different types of people, who might never interact with one another in their normal lives, together – from aspiring fighters to bankers, from kids to senior citizens. They were all able to learn, train, and if they wanted, to compete, at their respective levels. Probably the only sport in the world where that occurs.
What I wanted to do with Crazy 88 was combine the best of these two worlds. To have a training environment where a casual student as well as a serious competitor would be able to progress and achieve their goals. There would be a place for older students as well as younger ones. This environment would always be based on REALITY. We would never sell belts or become an untested “self-defense” school.
The other important reason for Crazy 88’s existence was the lack of appropriate training environments for competition-minded athletes. Its not easy for athletes to find environments where they can receive the skill development and guidance that they need in order to be successful long-term at a high level. Every year I would go to the World Championship or the Pan, two of the toughest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitions in the World, and I would always see individuals who looked invincible at the local level, lose before the medal rounds. I would see so many promising MMA amateur fighters make the jump to the professional level and end up being journeymen – just a stepping stone for another better-trained athlete. I wanted Crazy 88 to provide a training environment where these high-potential athletes would receive the proper mentorship and training to break through these plateaus.
In other words, we would compare ourselves to the best training environments in the world, seek out the toughest challenges, and remain on top of the latest developments. We would work to improve our teaching methodology in order to maintain high standards, instead of lowering standards to accommodate everyone. We want to produce World Champions as well as help people lose weight.
Since we opened our doors in 2005, we’ve maintained these values as we grew from one location to two. From 600 square feet to 18,000. We’re proud to be helping over 600 students actively pursue their fitness and martial arts goals. Our students have become World Champions, Amateur Champions, and we’ve coached and cornered all over the World in the most prestigious events, from UFC to Bellator to OneFC. Its been a wild ride and we’re still going so please come in and join the fun!
Our Core Values
4. Respect the foundation.
Our primary core value is authenticity.
We don’t give out belt promotions because its good for business. We don’t lie about the credentials of our instructors or students.
We strive to be the anti-thesis of the social club MMA gym where everyone lacks skill and ability. We have a fun positive environment AND our focus is always on actual skill development.
We assess the correctness of our philosophies and training methodologies based on their practical application.
Competition is important to us because it provides us an additional opportunity to assess ourselves based on the results of our students.
We help our students to make progress – whether that next step is being able to finish the warmup exercises or if the next step is becoming the first UFC Fighter from the Baltimore area.
We are always looking to improve our processes, technical knowledge, and training systems.
We seek out challenges so we can continue to adapt and progress.
Respect the foundation.
The foundation can refer to multiple things.
For us, it refers to the team that you train with, the gym you train at, and the martial art itself.
Respecting the team means being a person that others look up to and can rely on. The goals of each member are important and everyone helps the other to achieve these objectives.
Respecting the gym means appreciating its business operations, its staff and employees, and its codes of conduct.
Respecting the foundation of what you learn and teach means understanding that you’re involved with a real skill that has unlimited room for improvement.
It means respecting competition enough to always come prepared. It means making weight. It means putting in the work.
Do the right thing (even when no one is looking). Be a person of actions, not intention and words. Maintain high ethical standards.
Doing the right thing means doing what you know you should. It means not quitting after a bad day. It means not becoming a self-centered prima-donna after a good one. It means actually behaving like the person you want others to think of you as.