MacMillan Martials Arts is home to some of Europe’s most impressive and talented athletes, people such as BAMMA Middleweight Champion Harry McLeman and Fury MMA lightweight Champion Jamie Reynolds, but what of the man behind the scenes? Who’s name is on the door? H4TV and The Sports Journal dedicate this feature to the life, accomplishments, and work of the coach behind these rising stars, Danny MacMillan Jr.
Just a quick note about the uniqueness of MacMillan Martial Arts, not only do they train fighters to be well rounded killers in the cage, they also focus in self-defence and training people to use MMA skills as a protection tool. This is a rare combination to see in an academy these days, on one hand they show people how to demonstrate a controlled explosion of sorts within a cage and on the other hand they give them the tools to disarm the bomb.
Now on to the man behind it all, Danny MacMillan has been training in various forms of Martial Arts before most his age were properly potty trained. At just 3 years of age his father, Danny MacMillan senior, who still teaches different forms of self-defence, started training Danny in numerous martial arts, this according to Danny was a help for all aspects of his life, “It was a good advantage training at 3 in the Striking arts such Jeet Kune Do, Boxing, Wing Chun, and Kali, because it gave me a good understanding of the martial arts philosophy, discipline and general motor skills that helped me transition into other arts so smoothly like Jiu Jitsu”.
Just to let that sink in, training martial arts from the age of 3 is possibly the most bad-ass thing out there. Although he was highly trained, fighting was never a goal for Danny who always saw himself as wanting to train and continue his father teachings.
Even though he has been trained in numerous disciplines it is Jiu Jitsu that is his first love with Danny receiving his black belt under the legend Royce Gracie. It`s not every day that Royce awards black belts and if not for a chance meeting at a seminar it would not have come about, “I met Royce at a seminar in Great Yarmouth in 2005 that my Father signed me up for, I had been training Submission Wrestling for a while until then, but I fell in love with Jiu Jitsu that day,” this started Danny`s love for the martial art and his relationship with Royce only strengthened over time with him receiving all his belts from the legend ever since.
Now Danny trains a number of fighters in his academy but it is not the primary goal of MacMillan Martial Arts, there goal is to teach self-defence with Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing and other effective martial arts. Walking in off the street to learn MMA is not accepted within the academy, before even being allowed take the MMA classes a six month period of self-defence classes is taught.
Now some might say this is a bit excessive but Danny feels that this method is just what is needed to weed out those that are not fully committed and to properly train those that wish to learn, “we don’t let people come in off the street and enter our MMA classes until they have completed 6 months on our Jiu Jitsu program, in this time we get to see the attitude of the individual, if they are ready to take the hard training in our MMA classes. This ensures no one gets injured and that they have received a good education of what really works in a fight, however most importantly it separates the ‘I wanna be a UFC champion in one week’ clowns from the serious long term hard workers with the correct mentality. So we build the mind-set and skill set in the self defence program.”
According to Danny learning the self-defence program can be very rewarding in terms of actual competition, “we have guys in our gym that compete and do very well in BJJ and MMA competitions just from the Self Defence Program, so we seem to have the balance just right”.
Continuing to teach the self-defence program is very important to Danny, and when all is said and done he will still be using the art of Jiu Jitsu because he believes it is key, “Jiu Jitsu is the self-defence art, I’d rather teach a women, child or a weaker individual effective techniques for a real fight, then the competition stuff that doesn’t work in a street situation”.
While teaching jiu-jitsu as self-defence is the main goal of the academy Danny still finds time to train and coach some of aforementioned top European fighters and believes that keeping the fighters grounded is key, “All of the students at our Academy are classed as equal, there are no Superstars, we are all on one path to preserve Helio Gracie’s art of Self Defence”, this fits into the philosophy and teaching of the academy which is to, “try to teach the beliefs of a strong character and good values to all our students, and let their skills grow in healthy environment of good people”.
This blend of shaping the fighters mind-set while also training them to be destroyers in the cage seems to be working and the future is bright for MacMillan Martial Arts, where according to head man Danny they will continue with, “Self-defence for everyone and building champions along the way”.