← Back to blog

The Fighting Pride of the Northside

Let me tell you about my weekend.

I spent all week pretty nervous, thinking about Nate’s fight in the 3 Arena on the Friday and how it would go. You know I was very confident he’d do well, but in our game, one slip, one lucky shot, one tiny mistake, and you’re done. And worse than that, as I don’t coach Nate MMA anymore, I’m now in the crowd like everyone else. I am powerless to do anything but watch on and shout.

As it was, it went as expected. If you want to see a beautiful display of Jiu Jitsu in MMA, watch the fight. There’s a back take in there that will have the Jiu Jitsu aficionados among you cooing. Man, headline slot, 3 Arena, big crowd. The temptation to play it safe is huge, so to try something like that against the fence takes cajónes.

I want to take credit for something in Nate’s recent successes- and it’s nothing to do with his fighting skills. In all honesty he’s on another level now since he’s training professionally. His set up in SBG has elevated him hugely. No, in fact, I want to take credit for his nickname. Everyone has one. “The Greatest”, “The Smashing Machine” and so on.

If you’ve watched and listened to his media work in the last weeks, you’ll know he’s a very different prospect to a lot of Irish MMA fighters. I’m Northside born and bred, and I know it’s not perfect. A lot of the lads on my mats see it more than me. Young lads around here have all the pressures of growing up, mixed in with the prevalence of drugs and the violence and temptations of the drug trade. That’s all you hear about Finglas in the news.

But I tell people I’m very proud of the Northside and where our gym is. Hop the fence behind our gym and you’ll find a plaque to one of the greatest mathematical achievements- Hamilton’s discovery of quaternions- on Broombridge. Listen to the crowd singing along to one of Finglas’s own, Christy Dignam, as Nate walked in on Friday. It’s a place full of energy and youth, much of it untapped.

And Nate’s a good guy, but I’ve 2 dozen Nates in the gym. Full of that potential and energy. He just happens to be the only famous one now.

So I said, bombastically, to a mate one time, “I’m going to get a big banner done for the gym- Northside Pride!”. And he said, “Great idea. People will think it’s a local branch of the Gay Pride parade”. So I didn’t put that up, because that would be confusing for everyone who showed up expecting a meeting.

So instead I said to Nate, “I’ve got an idea that would look great on a tee shirt”. And it does you know. The Fighting Pride of the Northside.

Then on Saturday, I went in to Kyuzo, hoarse from shouting the night before and promoted the next generation of kids, most of whom have been coached by Nathan at some stage or other. Some of them were taking their first steps in martial arts, and getting their first belt promotion. Others are more seasoned, if you can indeed be seasoned at 12 years old, and were being rewarded for their increases in skill.

I love this stuff. It’s the nicest job I have. Giving out belts to smiling kids. Maybe there’s a kid in there who will go on to do something great in the martial arts, maybe they just enjoy it. But they’ll all benefit from the boost in confidence and belief that Jiu Jitsu gives you.

Thanks for reading today, I’ll see you on the mat,


Want to read more?

Fill out the short form to subscribe to our mailing list