RICHARD Shore and his team have come a long way from their humble beginnings just over a decade ago when an Abertillery pub was used to train a small group of martial arts students, writes Jason Batty.

Last weekend saw 200 people attend the launch of the Shore Mixed Martial Arts Centre of Excellence in Aberbeeg, Wales’ first state-of-the-art facility dedicated to martial arts.

The new venue is a dream come true for Shore and UFC star son Jack who, with the help of their team, worked around the clock to make the grand opening happen.

And evidently, the time, effort and money invested looks to have paid off.

From the inauspicious surroundings of their first base, Shore now boasts a squad of elite martial artists, world-class coaches and now an up-to-the-minute training centre for both established and up and coming fighters to reach their full potential.

The change has come with some sacrifice.

Tillery Combat has produced world champions, UFC fighters, Brazilian jiu-jitsu champions and punched above its weight for a long time, attracting high-level fighters from across the UK and provided a recipe for success.

Not only does the facility change, so does the name. But there are only exciting times ahead for Shore and the club which was brimming with more than 70 members.

“We needed a bigger building and wanted to provide our fighters with facilities that are state-of-the-art,” said Shore.

“There is a touch of sadness leaving the Tillery Combat facility (in Blaina), it has been great for getting us where we needed to be, and we had brilliant times and brilliant results there.

“But we are at that point now where we need to expand, we outgrew that building.”

The large open plan location matches anywhere else in the UK and further afield with its full-sized competition cage, 160 square feet of rolling area and vast fitness suite.

Additionally, there are both men’s and women’s changing facilities, a therapy room and sauna.

The launch day involved taster sessions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai, while coaches Shore, Carl Parker, Daryl James and Kru Hehm shared their wealth of knowledge.

UFC fighters Jack Shore and Jack Marshman showed off their skills, with students new and old picking up tips from the pros.

The venue was full, the tempo was high, and the atmosphere was buzzing.

“It is a great atmosphere here,” added Shore Snr.

“There are no egos. It’s not your stereotypical MMA gym where people think they come in and it’s all blood and guts.

“It’s a great place to be, we have people from seven years of age up to 60 all training on the same mat.”

It was a great way to kick things off in their new home, a place expected to be the hub of Welsh MMA for years to come.

Not only will it cater for elite fighters and rising stars, the plan is to attract new people of all ages and abilities.

Shore said: “We would like to extend the jiu-jitsu and MMA teams, but we would like to attract members just for fitness and strength and conditioning. Come and have a look!”