Mixed martial arts is becoming more and more popular around the United States and around the world, and it has been a growing business here in Harrodsburg.
Brandon Buchanan, owner of Hand To Hand (H2H) Combat Sports on West Lexington Street, has been teaching mixed martial arts in the area since August 2017.
Buchanan, 31, lost his best friend 13 years ago, and that was a big reason for him to get into mixed martial arts.
“The last conversation that we had together was about getting into mixed martial arts. It was at the time where the Ultimate Fighter Challenge (UFC) was at its peak and really gaining popularity,” said Buchanan. “After his death, Harrodsburg actually had an old MMA show at the old Harrodsburg High School. I took it as a sign when that promotion came into town, so I went and fought at that show.”
Buchanan continued to fight and train.
That was when he started really getting into the grappling and Jiu-Jitsu and really started to focus on his training.
He is a Harrodsburg native, graduating from Mercer County High School in 2005.
Shortly after, Buchanan joined the Army.
“I did some grappling tournaments when I was in the Army and won those and just fell in love with the sport the more and more I competed,” said Buchanan. “I got medically discharged in 2015. I had to have hip surgery and came back home. It’s just always been a goal I’ve had to open up a gym.”
Buchanan said he saw the opportunity and started to run with it.
Jeff King, an instructor at H2H, has been involved in the sports longer than Buchanan has.
Buchanan said King is a former champion in the state of Kentucky.
“He’s our MMA and grappling instructor. He held a 13-2 record in his career,” he said.
Buchanan talked about how business has been since opening, the growth of it and how much fun he has had.
“When I opened the place up, I honestly thought to myself that we may only get 10 people our first year,” he said. “We’ve had tons of people that come in and are just looking to lose weight as well as people who want to compete in grappling, boxing and kickboxing. So for us being able to teach people and help them reach their goals was big for us.”
Buchanan said he has people come in for instruction as young as six years old all the way up to 40.
“It’s something special to have this opportunity available in our community,” he said. “Being a part of a basketball team or other team sports is one thing, but this sport is just you.”
Buchanan said kids at first are a little shy and nervous, but warm up to the instruction the more they do it.
“Some kids come in and they are scared, nervous and don’t talk to anybody,” he said. “And within like a week or two, they are very active and involved.”
Buchanan said his son, Cannon, really loves the sport and trains as much as he can at the facility.
Getting in shape and losing weight is not the only reason members sign up, Buchanan said.
“I’ve had plenty of parents say all the time that they want their kids involved in something like this because of bullying,” he said.
H2H offers instruction in grappling, boxing and kickboxing.
“We have been able to put them all together to make it MMA,” said Buchanan. “When you’re wanting to do just boxing, it’s different. Grappling is our real big one because not a lot of people like getting hit in the face. We have a lot of guys that want to do a variety. Some guys come in and start out with boxing and ease their way into kickboxing.”
H2H offers two packages: fitness and professional.
The fitness package is $50 per month, while the professional package is $100 per month.
“Our mission at H2H Combat Sports is to provide the greatest quality of service in all aspects of combat sports,” said Buchanan. “Whether you’re interested in fitness, self-defense, or want to compete on the amateur or professional circuit, we can assist you on your journey.”
H2H is also starting an apparel company.
“We’re working it up to where we can start selling apparel at community events and shows,” Buchanan said.
He said they are also trying to create a social network strictly for combat sports at combatsportsbooking.com, where anyone who loves the sports can sign up.
For more information, contact 706-951-6855 or visit the H2H website at www.h2hcombatsports.com.