web featured image 86
in , , , ,

FM Adult & Youth Athletic Clubs & Sports: Academy of Combat Arts

There are many places around the community that offer different sub-categories of Mixed Martial Arts, and the Academy of Combat Arts Fargo (ACA) offers a handful of them, as well as a pro-MMA team. Fighting with technique is an all-encompassing way to describe this type of sport, while still only touching the surface of what it entails. Let’s learn about the academy and break them down!

Founded in 2009 by MMA fighter and coach Dylan Spicer, ACA has grown to have around 150+ members from all walks of life, according to Dylan.

“Really, it’s a melting pot around here, which is really great to have in today’s day and age. We have world-class instruction—we’ve proven ourselves on the world stage, [to] those who are familiar with professional fighting and fighting locally,” he said.

The academy has received quite a bit of recognition for producing both professional fighters, as well as individual success stories for those who joined the programming for other reasons.

“People come here for a lot of different reasons, and we try to accommodate everybody’s needs,” Dylan said. “Some people want to come here for stress relief, other people come because they want to learn how to be a professional fighter and other people [have] various rhymes and reasons to be in here. But like I said, we’re trying to help everybody reach their goal.”

The ACA gym is open seven days a week and open to members to come in and train at all open times, in addition to their program’s classes!

With a wide variety of members at the gym, Dylan said that making sure that those who join are adding to the positivity of the academy is a priority.

“We literally have soccer moms, doctors and lots of college students. We’ve got a little bit of everybody, but it’s a really great community because everybody knows how to get along here,” Dylan said. “…We’re big on the culture of this gym. That’s really important to us. You know, the accolades—those are really cool—but they wouldn’t really be significant if everybody else in the gym wasn’t buying into that.”

Whether you’re looking to go professional, sweat out some of the day’s stress or want to try a new way of exercise, you can find a variety of classes to fit your lifestyle and goals.

Dylan Spicer is an undefeated MMA veteran with an 8-0 record in the octagon. He is an experienced trainer, with former UFC fighter Pablo Garza as a former student. He coaches those invited to the Academy of Combat Arts MMA program!

Here’s What They Offer:

Adult Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Program

  • The majority of the academy members take up this program.
  • Program for men and women of all ages and skill levels

Muay Thai (kickboxing)

  • High-intensity workout
  • Working with fists, elbows, shins and feet as offensive and defensive weapons
  • Designed for beginners, with advancement opportunities
  • Program for men and women of all ages and skill levels

Women’s Kickboxing

  • High-energy workout
  • Woman-only atmosphere
  • Program for women of all ages and skill levels


  • Structured for all levels (beginners and experts)
  • Learn to punch, block and move on your feet with proper technique
  • Gym features full-size boxing ring (for sparring) and spacious mats for drilling
  • Program for men and women of all ages and skill levels

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

  • A small number of academy members take up this program
  • Structured for serious fighters
  • Training for the highest level of competition (cage fighting)
  • Exercise – Burn calories and tone muscles
  • By invitation only

No matter what program is chosen, or for whatever reason, there are great benefits:

  • Safety – Develop formidable self-defense skills
  • Community – Meet new people and make new friends
  • Education – Gain fitness knowledge from reputable instructors
  • Tenacity – Build confidence and discipline

In addition to the adult programs, the ACA also has a youth program.

Youth Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Program

  • Kids will learn how to grapple and learn and practice real fighting techniques
  • Now, the youngest age in the program is 6 years old, and usually, at age 12 or 13 years old they will be moved up programs

The term mixed martial arts applies to many different styles of fighting. At the ACA, a combination of several elements of martial arts that are similar are taught and practiced. Technical definitions would categorize a handful of martial arts not included in the ACA’s lineup. Those include Taekwondo, karate, Aikido or Tai Chi.

‘“[Those have] different applications than what we’re using,” Dylan said. “They still have their place in martial arts, but it’s not like something we’re specifically teaching.”


In January, Captain’s Fight Club hosted an MMA fight at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds. Fighters came from all over the region, and farther, to get the chance to add a victory to their stats. Not only did the ACA bring a handful of experienced fighters to the event, but a few rookie fighters from the academy also debuted as well!

The ACA fighters at this event have gone through the ACA’s foundations program. As the name implies, they would have worked with coaches to slowly and strongly build their foundation in basic technique. From there, after being patient in the slower but important training and proving that they were in it for the long run, they moved up to the more advanced classes. After expressing to their coach that they do have a goal of participating in a fight, they start to hone in on skills, knowledge and practice that they’ll need to do so, and do as safely as they can.

A student needs to prove their commitment and dedication and put in the extra time and effort before being invited to be on the pro-MMA team under Dylan’s coaching. They have to test out the waters at a local grappling tournament or amateur boxing bout, and eventually, make their way to a fight like the Captain’s Fight Club event in January. If you’re interested in joining any of the programs offered at the ACA, head to their website at fmaca.com to learn more. If you’re not quite sure, but your interest is piqued, sign up for their 30-day free trial, where you’ll be able to check out the gym and experience the class to see if it’s the right fit for you!

Academy of Combat Arts Fargo
3332 4th Ave S Unit D, Fargo
(701) 478-2242
Facebook: theAcademyFargo
Instagram: @acafargo

Written by Geneva Nodland

Country Club

Enhance your WE FEST with a Bacardi Country Club Membership

web featured image 85

“Whose Line, Minus the Deadweight” Q&A with Colin Mochrie on Scared Scriptless Comedy Show Coming to Fargo!