Martial arts guru, nursing student and father of four Hamilton Ash is fighting for his best life.
Ash is an active professional MMA fighter, boxer and Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt. He began competing in 2008 and started his coaching career six years later.
As owner and head coach of Berserkur Sports Facility, Ash spends most of his days grappling on large blue mats with peers and students as they practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Berserkur Sports Facility opened in 2021, a year after Ash moved to Maricopa.
The family of six was heading toward Montana, looking for a new place to raise their children during the peak of the pandemic. But when a cousin suggested Ash come to Maricopa, he jumped at it.
“It was actually kind of wild how it happened,” Ash said. “We were about to get on the road with our heads down and our tails between our legs and I got this call out of the blue.”
With his family his top priority, Ash also enrolled in nursing school, hoping it leads to extra income. He is enrolled at Central Arizona College and Arizona State University as he pursues his Bachelor of Science in nursing.
Concurrently, he is driven to build the family business, Berserkur.
His wife, Rebekka, runs social media and marketing, and is working on obtaining a yoga certification to offer new classes at the facility.
Ash’s brother in-law, Gummi Halldorsson, teaches strength-and-conditioning classes.
And Ash’s four kids – three girls and a boy – are following in their father’s footsteps.
“My kids all train jiu-jitsu and it’s awesome,” Ash said. “They’re super into it, which is a huge blessing. I feel like I’m doing something right.”
Regardless of what life may throw at Ash, jiu-jitsu will always be there for him. It’s his security blanket, he said, as he teaches students to communicate, defend themselves and perfect their skills.
According to Ash, the best part of his gym is the community. From potlucks and hangout sessions to gym socials and in-house tournaments, students and coaches are one family.
“I hit the lottery in many ways,” Ash said. “The rest will fall into place as long as we work hard and stay focused.”
Similar to wrestling, jiu-jitsu is a full-contact sport that involves a combination of submission holds to subdue the opponent. Aside from the obvious physical benefits of getting into shape, Ash said jiu-jitsu is like therapy.
“You’re putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation,” he said. “But you’re in a safe environment and you’re training yourself to get over those natural feelings of anxiety and panic and fear.”
Berserkur offers a variety of mixed martial-arts classes, high-intensity interval-training classes and one-on-one sessions for all ages.
Whether it’s a new technique or a new partner, Ash said he tries to make practice fun for every student and encourages them to get outside their comfort zone.
“If it’s not fun, it’s not sustainable,” Ash said. “So, it has to be fun. Period. That’s the most important thing. Everything else is secondary.”
For class schedule and more information, visit the Berserkur website.