Thursday, March 8, 2007

Joe Martin; Born with the Heart of a Warrior

By Holli Hearne

Joe Martin, 26, was born with the heart of a warrior. While most kids worshipped Mighty Mouse and Superman, Martin’s childhood heroes were WWII Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy and the historical Samurai, Miyamoto Musashi. So, when he was 18, it seemed only logical to him that he should join the Army, serving with the 101st Airborne’s Screamin’ Eagles. This young man was not destined for the ordinary.

After his Army discharge, Martin found himself throwing rave parties until he saw his first mixed martial arts event. Joe Martin was in love. He talked to some of the fighters, telling them he wanted to train with them. They laughed him off until they saw him consistently showing up to practice. Having no real money, but plenty of determination, he was allowed to sleep on the concrete dojo floor for an entire year before earning the respect of Sensai Bill Handell, who helped him develop his kickboxing skills.

Martin’s determination didn’t end there, however. In 2004, in the dead of summer, he suffered a heat stroke during his first try-out for Ken Shamrock’s Lion’s Den. Refusing to quit, despite burning his hands bear-crawling up steep hills and falling nearly unconscious in the sweltering sun, he was finally forced to stop by Shamrock who invited him to continue training at the Den and try again. Six months later and in exceptional condition, Joe Martin tried out and earned the title of Lion.

In November, Martin defeated Moses Baca with a third-round knock-out punch that is still making the rounds on YouTube. “I was getting my ass kicked in that fight,” he laughs, “but in the third round, he went for a take down [but] I got out with a knee to his face. I saw an opportunity and knocked him out.”

More recently, the Northern California native made his IFL lightweight debut on January 19 as an alternate for Ken Shamrock’s Reno Lions. Despite a strong showing, Martin lost the fight in what most consider a very questionable call on the referee’s part. The controversial loss followed two impressive wins, including the Baca fight, but with a current official record of 5-7-0, Martin knows he still has something to prove.

“I’m at a point in my career,” he reflects, “where I have to win fights. I can’t hesitate in the cage because if I hesitate at the moment of truth I’m going to lose.”

Martin, known for behavior in and out of the cage that would easily label him a loose cannon, says he’s taking his training more seriously than ever. Training with the IFL Lions in Reno, NV, his conditioning is expected to be better than ever by his next fight, scheduled for April.

At this time, Martin isn’t sure who he will be fighting but one thing Joe Martin is sure of is Joe Martin.


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