5 ways this multi-million dollar Vancouver facility is shaking up the fitness scene

The pandemic presented a slew of unforeseen challenges for local businesses over the past year and a half, with many being forced to quickly pivot their offerings to serve changing consumer needs.

In Vancouver, an unwavering level of community support allowed Diaz Combat Sports (DCS) to weather the storm and go on to open a multi-million dollar martial arts facility located at 276 East Pender Street.

Led by two-time MMA World Champion, Ryan “The Lion” Diaz, the state-of-the-art fitness destination not only has an inclusive ethos, it offers classes for everyone, including boxing, Muay Thai kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, and strength and conditioning.

Providing an unparalleled atmosphere

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The idea of ​​walking into a martial arts school can seem quite intimidating for many who are trying out classes for the first time. However, this is not the case at DCS, where Diaz strives to create a non-intimidating, inclusive, safe, and fun space – filled with positive and encouraging people.

As soon as you enter DCS, the welcoming staff make you feel as though you’re at home and a part of the family. It’s a place where everyone comes together to push one another to be better individuals while learning martial arts and fitness techniques.

Employing a team of world-class instructors

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An illustrious MMA career allowed Diaz to train and fight all over the world, winning titles in places like Japan, Guam, Abu Dhabi, Philippines, the United States, and Canada before he was 20 years old. As his time fighting professionally came to an end, he knew the next step was to open his own school. “There’s a saying that goes, ‘When you can, do; when you can not, teach, ‘”says Diaz.

His passion for teaching is shared by the team of stellar instructors – world champions, world champion trainers, and Olympians – who work alongside him at DCS. “We have assembled one of the best instructor teams in all of North America,” says Diaz. “Our instructors come from all over the world, including Thailand, the US, and Europe.”

The Vancouver local is grateful not only for the talent and skills his team brings to the table but for the deep friendships and personal connections he has established with each individual. “I am so grateful for them and forever grateful.”

When it comes to recruiting new instructors, the number one thing Diaz looks for? Above all, someone who fits the aforementioned vibe; the personality of DCS. As he puts it: “welcoming, outgoing, positive… and fun!”

Offering a safe, state-of-the-art facility

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DCS has come a long way since its humble beginnings in a Vancouver garage, lined with mats and dangling heavy bags; a makeshift HQ where Diaz and his friends could train together. Today, the training facility is unlike any other in the city, covering over 11,000 sq ft, filled with top-of-the-line custom equipment and staffed with highly qualified instructors.

Every aspect of the main DCS location was carefully selected, says Diaz, from the toilets and water fixtures in the washrooms (two of which are gender-inclusive) to every sign, handrail, and door handle. “It is truly one of the best gyms in the entire world, a martial artist’s dream,” he notes.

Since the facility took shape throughout 2020, Diaz instructed his team of designers and contractors to incorporate specific safety measures for a post-COVID world. This included the installation of a custom HVAC system outfitted with three additional air filters to provide consistent ventilation to each of the gym’s floors.

Creating a meaningful impact in the community

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Giving back to the community is important to Diaz, and for years, DCS has been proud to host free self-defense seminars for women, in addition to free anti-bullying seminars for children. Now, the team is preparing to launch Fight4Kids, a foundation they’ve developed to sponsor at-risk and underprivileged children who would benefit from martial arts but can not afford it.

“It’s very important to give back to my community because I’m just an East Van kid, and I want all other East Van kids and everyone in Vancity to have the opportunities I’ve had the fortune of having,” says Diaz. “I really want to make a difference in this city and people’s lives.”

During our conversation, Diaz’s love of helping others was clearly evident. “I love making people happy and helping them become better individuals through martial arts,” he says. “When we die, we will not be remembered for how much money we made or the things we owned; we will be remembered for the things we did and the people we helped. ”

Expanding fitness offerings for everyone

“I grew up in Mount Pleasant in the basement suite of a Vancouver special,” Diaz candidly tells us. “I’m just an East Van kid with big goals and dreams. I’m not a rich guy, and DCS is not owned by some big corporation. ” Diaz’s dream has always been to open his own gym and bring a world-class martial arts school to Vancouver – one on par with the best in the world.

Now, as the city shifts towards post-pandemic life, Diaz says he believes people will want to get active and make new friends more than ever. This has been a driving force for him to take a “calculated risk” and add another building with 8,000 sq ft of studio space right across the street from DCS.

“We will be moving our boxing area over there, so our current gym will have more room for kickboxing and jiu-jitsu classes,” he says. “We will be adding another weight room for those wanting to come in and lift weights, use cardio machines, or hit the bag on their own. And we will be adding a yoga studio complete with two yoga rooms – one for hot yoga and one for room temperature yoga. We want to be able to offer yoga for everyone! ”


Anyone interested in discovering all that DCS has to offer can simply sign up to try a free class. “Come try a free class and share this awesome adventure and story of ours,” adds Diaz.

To sign up for a free trial or learn more about DCS, head to diazcombatsports.com.

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