Alley Cat Fitness

​​John Boyle

Founder, Coach

John Boyle found Brazilian Jiu Jitsu while on the University of Colorado, Denver campus his first year studying to be a high school English teacher in 2007.  From the very first class at Easton Brazilian Jiu Jitsu he was hooked and knew the "gentle art" would forever change the course of his life.  6 years later, with his plans of teaching English and studying BJJ in Brazil went by the wayside, John met Stephen Crissman while teaching private lessons.  Stephen invited John to check out his existing gym in Panama, the visit turned into a business proposal, and before he knew it, John had sold all his possessions in Colorado and was moving down to Panama in January of 2013.  Having received his Black Belt from Prof. Eliot Marshall and Amal Easton in March of 2016, John is and always has been dedicated to his students and learning BJJ as he was taught it: with patience, understanding, and an over arching principle that jiu jitsu is a gentle art that can be practiced by everyone regardless of physical abilities.

Alley Cat grew to start free training for young men in the barrio who want to be MMA fighters. The Alley Cat Fight Team piece of ACFF aims to bring talent out of the barrio, and into the world. ACFF will never compromise its initial mission, though, which is to support the community and provide health and hope in the midst of poverty.

A Gym Open to Everyone

We truly are "una gimnasio para todos".  Established in 2013, we are Panama' first and only privately funded non-profit gym, focusing on community outreach through Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and physical fitness in a safe, healthy, and supportive environment.  We are primarily funded on private monthly donations, as well as fundraisers and local events.  80% of the members using the gym are from the lowest socioeconomic class of the quickly gentrifying neighborhood of Casco Viejo and the greater San Felipe area.  We have touched hundreds of lives through our growing community of health and fitness.  From the "overly energetic youngster" sharing a home with 10 other children, to the blue collared minimum age 20 year old trying to support a budding family.

Our deepest belief is that everyone deserves a chance to live a healthy and happy life.  In the tiny, old world Panamanian neighborhood of Casco Viejo many kids and young people don't have that chance. The barrio is filled with the hopelessness of poverty.  We focus on youth mentoring and love working with the little kids from the barrio - the "Panamaniacs" as we call them. It is our chance to intervene in a positive way in the cycle of poverty here.

Brazilian jiujitsu is a grappling art, focusing on mental discipline and technique over strength. Through this and other martial arts and fitness coaching we build the skills to help both kids and adults form healthy habits and positive states of mind and increased self esteem.