A Gym With Heart

Jesse James Tucker of Rising Phoenix

(Photo: Jesse James Tucker of Rising Phoenix Fitness and Defense)


     Jesse James Tucker originally started fitness and self defense by teaching classes for other gyms and Himmel Park in Tucson. It has been a severe amount of work for Jesse to create and maintain Tucson’s Rising Phoenix Fitness and Defense however, he feels it is completely worth the challenges he has faced. “They say that when you’re doing what you love, you never truly work a day in your life… but, that’s not true, when you do what you love you work very, very hard to continue to do what you love.” Jesse states about building a business on his own. In the Tucson market where the concept of bringing another gym into an already saturated market seems like a bad investment, Jesse has made a significant impression on the people of Tucson.

(Photo: Understanding each defense move is most important. Jesse Demonstrates correct procedure)

           Krav Maga is a form of self-defense that is primarily taught by the Israeli military. Jesse has worked with so many types of people that he has made an art out of it. “I have to address all comfort levels. People might have a past that they are not ready to do the harder training. So, you have to be able to balance out people who need a slower start verses people who hit the ground running and want to get punched in the face”. Jesse has impressed several people with his way of artistically handling everyone on an individual level. His care and concern for each person in the gym is magnified by everyone participating in the exercises. Rising Phoenix has several classes ranging from simple workouts to advanced self defense.

(Photo: Jesse demonstrates Krav Maga techniques)

“Everyone here trains hard but, they are very warm and welcoming”. After personally witnessing a training session at Tucson’s Rising Phoenix, the people were kind and considerate not only to me but to every other participant in the gym. The gym was filled with all different kinds of people including children that were all aware of each other and had respect for one another.

(Photo: It's not all hard work. A level of enjoyment is present at this gym)

In some environments within gyms there is a sense of arrogance and selfish motivation that tends to fill the air when you walk in. This does not seem to be true in Tucson’s Rising Phoenix. Jesse states how he keeps that outside his gym by stating, “When you are training whether it be mixed martial arts, boxing, or grappling, it does feel very powerful learning these skills. A lot of places out there, their ego gets a little too involved. They become too self-centered and don’t really care about anyone else. In my opinion that is a kind of weakness to give into that (power). It’s much harder to resist that corruption and maintain to be a good person.” Jesse personally meets with everyone that signs up for classes and determines what each person needs are within the classes. The people who are already at the gym, are there to improve on their own skills, however they are also interested in helping others be the best they can be.

Story and Photos by Hawke Taylore





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