Mundelein gets physical at Black Tiger Academy
Black Tiger Academy
Where: 631 Midlothian Road, Mundelein
Phone: (847) 406-7079
Updated: February 21, 2013 5:37PM
MUNDELEIN — A former Mundelein resident has returned as business owner, now running one of Lake County’s few mixed martial arts venues.
Brandon Burton is co-owner of Black Tiger Academy for Mixed Martial Arts, located at 631 Midlothian Road, and lead trainer in mixed martial arts and programs that blend Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
The academy opened early this month and is run by Burton and his partner Imran Faizi. While Faizi handles the business matters, Burton brings nearly three decades of mixed martial arts experience to the newly-formed club.
Burton first studied Okinawan Shotokan Karate when he was 8-years-old and moved into Jeet Kune Do in 1988 while a student at Southern Illinois University.
By 1993, he was enlisted in the U.S. Navy and learning to box while stationed in San Diego. His coach introduced Burton to Vincent Soberano, an eight-time world champion Muay Thai kickboxing. Burton then spent several years helping Soberano train high-intensity fighters.
While Burton does train some serious mixed martial arts competitors at Black Tiger, he said that’s only a small percentage of his clientele.
“Most people who come in here wont have any interest in competing at tournaments,” Burton said of his newly formed academy. “We always have people who come in after seeing documentaries on boxers or MMA fighters and want to emulate the training without getting the black eyes.”
Burton now works at a local hospital and operates Black Tiger on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, as well as Saturday mornings. He lived in Mundelein from 2004 until 2012 — only moving to Lindenhurst just recently.
Already familiar with the area and its demographics, Burton said Black Tiger primarily provides a low-key, family experience.
“What makes us different than other mixed martial arts clubs is that we won’t emphasize competition,” Burton said. “The guys who go super hard and always want to fight someone usually end up hurting themselves or others. We focus on technique by using drills.”
Black Tiger offers programs for children and adults, women and men. Burton said he plans to start an “executive’s program” for people who work in offices and want high-energy exercise before traveling home.
“The thing I’m looking forward to most is getting a good core of female members because women are more technical,” Burton said. “Women don’t have the muscle to cheat with in a fight, so they know and practice techniques very well. That sets a good example for the other, newer members.”
To promote the academy during its inaugural months, Burton is offering free two-week-long self defense classes for women age 12 and older.
“This is more of a recreational place, but ... I am more than happy to teach women how to escape a physical confrontation,” Burton said.