By Jason Kelly
Shawn Tompkins, a name that is becoming synonymous with MMA, through his incredible martial arts achievements and accomplished students. Finally, Tompkins is getting the notoriety he has been working on for a very long time.
Tompkins was born in Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada. I grew up about an hour away from there and by the early 1990’s Tompkins had a mythical type status throughout southern Ontario in Kung Fu, and Karate schools. I couldn’t tell you how many times people told me “My friend lives in London, he knows Shawn Tompkins”. Tompkins opened his first gym in London, Ontario at the age of 18 with 2 years teaching experience. Although he was a phenomenal martial artist who had training since the age of 6, some people may not suggest investing in an 18 year old. Nevertheless, Tompkins believed in himself and so did Bas Rutten.
Tompkins went to assist Bas with teaching in 1998 and one can only assume he learned a thing or two from “El Guapo”. After spending time with Bas and learning a few tricks from famed boxing coach Freddie Roach, Tompkins assumed the head coach position for the IFL based L.A. Anacondas in 2007. Later that year he brought his talents, as well as his talented students to Extreme Couture to coach there and once again, absorb a plethora of knowledge from another legend, Randy Couture. Tompkins has since gone on to take full control of Team Tompkins under the Tap-Out Research and Development Training Center, where he is showcasing his coaching skills very impressively.
Team Tompkins integrates a group of skilled fighters as well as seasoned veterans, Mark Hominick and Chris Horodecki have been demonstrating highly technical striking as of late, leading them to decisive victories. Sam Stout is always in the mix, Evan Dunham appears to be promising and George Roop followed a textbook Tompkins strategy in his astonishing KO over Chan Sung Jung, along with a championship bout in the near future for Vitor Belfort. If Vitor defeats Anderson Silva, Tompkins could become the coach everyone wants to get involved with.
Whether Belfort wins that title or not, Tompkins will encounter many more title fights to go with the ones he’s already endured. He has proved he is one of the best coaches in the sport of MMA, seeming to make fighters use textbook skills, yet still performed in a way that is unique to the fighter. With this formula, victory is predominately the outcome. That’s every instructor’s job really, but certain coaches can transfer their skills onto their student better than others, and those are the great coaches. The mythical Tompkins name that used to drift around Ontario is now a legendary figure who is front and center in MMA.