The large, nondescript warehouse-type building with corrugated plastic sides at 14261 Parrot Extension in Mount Vernon hardly looks like the place for a bustling fitness community. If you didn’t know it was there, you might miss it. This building, however, is Lashley’s Training Center, the martial arts powerhouse of central Ohio. The center offers classes to its members in Krav Maga, Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, boxing, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Karate and general fitness.
The facility has two primary rooms, a weight room and a sparring/training room. During open hours in the weight room, members of the gym can be seen swinging sledge hammers into tires, pushing or pulling sleds laden with 45-pound plates and tossing medicine balls. A dusty chalkboard on the wall hosts the personal bests of several members, along with written resolutions to surpass them. A stuffed honey badger watches the action from atop the open-ceilinged wall to the staff office.
Past the massive American flag hung from the ceiling and inside the training room, adults and kids alike can be seen learning any of the myriad of techniques which are taught at Lashley’s on a wide layout of mats, perfect for training both upright and floor/grappling scenarios. A line of free-standing punching bags separate the two main mats, where classes’ participants can practice striking and kicking. Housed in the deepest part of the warehouse are the MMA cage and boxing equipment. Those who agree to don a mouthguard and enter the cage to spar toe the line between fighting and exercising.
Owner Ian Lashley, a martial artist, believes martial arts is an essential activity.
“Martial arts works the whole entire body. You are trying to fight, hit, pull and throw external force that puts and causes muscle tension over the whole entire body and works your cardiovascular system as well,” Lashley said. “Our motto is ‘fitness with a purpose’ because when you do a martial art you are going to get stronger, faster and in the best shape of your life all while learning how to defend yourself. As far as confidence and mental effects compared to traditional workout styles, martial arts gives you way more and a more mental escape to deal with bad or good things in life.”
As a member of Lashley’s for the past year, I find that it can be a good way to learn a self-defense technique while also getting in a great workout, and most importantly, meeting people from the Mount Vernon area.
There is a great sense of community at the gym, and it can be much more motivating to work out around others in such an open environment. Trying to avoid being hit in the face or tackled to the ground is also great motivation. Lashley’s is a hidden gem in Mount Vernon, and a great place to connect with the local community while learning new skills.