The Ironfist Gym began from one person’s passion for Muay Thai, and has grown into one of Australia’s premier martial arts gyms, respected nationwide.
The first gym was built in rural Rochedale on Daniel’s parent’s acreage property, after years of training on the bitumen driveway of his childhood home. In 2001, the first Ironfist Muay Thai gym opened its doors.
Over the years following The Ironfist Gym’s inception, the facility was expanded twice to accommodate a growing student base and reputation. From the first class, Dan and Lianne were proud to have created a gym where everyone felt welcome and at home. Most in the Ironfist community came to improve their fitness while learning the valuable skills of Muay Thai. Many were also interested in competing, and the success of our fighters saw the Ironfist name quickly grow into one of national repute.
The Ironfist Gym has always been a home away from home for many, including fighters such as Michael “Tomahawk” Thompson (two-time World Champion), Jimmy “J-Slice” Urwin, Ben “The Blade” Johnston, Andy “The Assassin” Smith, Matt Sedan, Joel Gadishkie, Jacob Hill, Rod Staider, Corey “The Nightmare” Nicholson (two-time WKBF World Champion and one-time International WBC Champion), and Mitch Nicholson. Our fighters have competed nationally and internationally at the highest level, which has left no doubt that The Ironfist Gym is one of Australia’s strongest ‘big-hitting’ gyms.
Certainly, the success of the gym would not have been possible without continued support from its most valued people, including Dan’s wife Lianne Bell, long-time Ironfist Muay Thai coach Masato Fujimori, and of course Dan’s father Allan Bell.
Lianne works tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that the gym continues to run smoothly and that everyone feels at home in the Ironfist family. “Without her,” Dan comments, “not much happens!”
Masato has been with Ironfist since 2004 and has been instrumental in the gym’s success. “We have travelled together, cornered more fights than can be counted, and he is the one person I trust to hold down the fort if I’m ever not there.”
Allan Bell was instrumental in the success of the first gym. Dan remembers Allan’s countless hours at Ironfist: “Dad was a permanent fixture in the gym, ready to pull anyone who needed it into line. Many would be on a very different path today had it not been for Dad and his straight talking, ‘no-BS’ way of doing things. The success of the gym has always been more than belts and trophies to me and Dad. It was helping people find their way in life, both in and out of the gym.”
Working at the Port of Brisbane while running The Ironfist Gym proved to be too much, and the decision was made to have a break; we closed the original location at the end of 2014. That year marked the birth of The Fight Centre, where former students Ben Johnson and James Jarvie decided to start their own gym with former Ironfist members. During the time spent closed, Dan felt something crucial was missing from his life, and the decision to reopen Ironfist was a happy one for Dan and Lianne.
The new era of The Ironfist Gym commenced in November 2018, at our new location in Mansfield. With Dan having gone to Mansfield High and fighting many times at the local Mansfield Tavern, the decision to move the gym to this area felt like coming back to Dan’s home ground.
“The new Ironfist Gym is everything we had hoped it would be.” The gym is a massive 600-square metre facility, twice as big as the original gym, even after its two expansions. The new gym boasts a massive seven-square-metre boxing ring that overlooks a fully-equipped weights station, all kinds of training tools from heavy bags to double-end bags, a huge mat area, and all the equipment required for the gym’s many classes.
The addition of Boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) to the timetable has added a great dynamic to our already tight-knit community.
Ironfist was excited to add BJJ classes to the gym’s timetable, knowing it would be in the safe and capable hands of former Ironfist students and current Black Belts Aleksandar Jovanovic and Shen Lam. Both Aleks and Shen trained at the first Ironfist Gym for many years before discovering their passion for BJJ. “It’s great to have them back in the gym teaching what they love.” They have also brought with them Tayn Joyce, Ramiro Rojas and Hayden Williams, our Brown Belt instructors, and Andrew Massimissa, our Purple Belt beginner trainer. Watching BJJ grow from the ground up has been phenomenal. When our first White Belt students graduated to Blue Belt it was a huge day for Ironfist, and the pride in our BJJ students was felt by the whole gym.
Adding Boxing to our repertoire was another fantastic decision, and Ironfist has been extremely lucky to find a great boxing coach in TJ “The Trip” Ingram. TJ has racked up over 30 amateur boxing fights, and is looking to jump back in the ring himself soon. With our first run of Ironfist boxers to step into the ring having both come out with the win earlier in 2022, the goal of Ironfist boxers to be as well regarded as our Muay Thai fighters is looking promising.
The Ironfist gym is proud of its diverse members, including its strong female presence. With a large female clientele, from those wanting to learn some self-defence to fighters, the girls in the gym are giving the boys a run for their money. Training in Muay Thai, Boxing and BJJ, the girls are formidable!
We offer Beginner Muay Thai, Beginner Boxing and Beginner BJJ to make getting started as easy as possible, not to mention classes catering to more advanced students and fighters/competitors.
At the Ironfist gym, we continue to meet people from all walks of life who are united by their love of martial arts. We would like to thank our community for making the gym the great place that it is!