A fighting chance
AJ Scales shares his martial arts knowledge
A.J. Scales, the head trainer at Complete Martial Arts and Fitness in Regina, knows first-hand just how important the presence of martial arts can be in one’s life.
“Martial arts has been life-changing for me,” said Scales, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and undefeated mixed martial artist. “I don’t even know where I’d be right now if I didn’t have Brazilian jiu-jitsu in my life. It’s taken me across the world, it’s helped me accomplish a lot of things in my life, it’s made me a healthy guy. I’ve been labeled a role model when I pass my knowledge on to my students; that’s very rewarding for me. Martial arts ha[ve] done so much to change my life. I have no idea where I’d be without martial arts in my life.”
A few years ago, in an effort to help introduce the world of martial arts to others and strengthen the grappling community in Saskatchewan, Scales opened Complete Martial Arts and Fitness in the Queen City.
Realizing that many of his students had aspirations of putting their skills to the test in the ring, Scales put on the first Saturday Night Fights (SNF) card in April of 2010.
While he admitted that his first foray into the MMA promotion business was a bust, true to his martial artist roots, Scales didn’t give up on his promotion after his first outing. In the time since the premiere of SNF, Scales’ show has put on two more cards –with many of the same athletes competing on multiple nights – in front of progressively growing audiences.
Miles Anstead, who has already fought on a pair of Scales’ cards, is appreciative of what the promotion has been able to accomplish in less than two years.
“It’s just awesome,” said Anstead, who is also a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Scales. “He’s started a good local event where people can go and show what they’ve got.
“Fighting for AJ’s promotion has helped my career out a lot. It’s a great way to get your name out in the city. A lot of people pay attention to these events, so they really help aspiring fighters – athletes like me – a lot.”
Currently, Scales is in the final stages of preparing for his promotion’s fourth show.
Saturday Night Fights 4 – which features nearly a dozen Regina-area athletes competing in both mixed martial arts and kickboxing matches – is set to take place at the Turvey Centre on Dec. 3. Tickets to the event are still available and can be purchased at Complete Martial Arts and Fitness on Broad St. and Popeye’s Supplements.
“This is probably going to be the best event that we’ve put on so far,” Scales said. “We’ve got a stacked card and it’s going to be an action packed night. You’re going to see a little bit of everything. We’ve got Muay Thai kickboxing matches, experienced mixed martial artists and young, hungry fighters, too. I think people are going to be amazed at what they see on Dec. 3.”
Anstead, who is scheduled to compete in the main event of SNF 4, is also –perhaps not surprisingly – looking forward to Scales’ upcoming card.
“I’m really looking forward to the event, I think it’s going to be unreal,” Anstead said. “I think it’s the best card that AJ has put on yet. There’s a lot of talent on this card. This is going to be a great show, I think people are going to be really impressed by what they see.”
Much like Anstead, Scales has some lofty ambitions for December’s card, although he doesn’t seem to think so.
“As a promoter, I’m expecting for people to leave that event saying, ‘That was an amazing show. Those fighters fought their heart out. Those fighters are growing and showing more experience, those fighters are going to go somewhere,’” Scales said. “As a coach, I’m hoping all my fighters come out with [wins]. I’m in the gym with them; I see how hard they’re training and they deserve that sense of accomplishment.”
Looking past his show in December, Scales intends on putting on two SNF cards a year and giving his students more opportunities to compete in the Queen City in the future.
Although SNF 4 will most likely be Scales’ most successful event to date, he doesn’t plan on celebrating too much.
“I’m going to feel relieved,” Scales, who has put hundreds of man-hours into the event so far, said with a laugh. “After putting these events on, I just want to sleep."