Campus Corner gym offers free lessons to baristas


James White, owner of James White Fitness (left), and Austin Plank, a director of Second Wind Coffeehouse (right), perform Muay Thai combinations at a Nov. 15 session for Second Wind baristas. White is a former mixed martial arts fighter who offers free Muay Thai lessons to Second Wind baristas at 6 p.m. every Thursday.

Drew Hutchinson

A local gym is holding free martial arts lessons for the baristas of a coffee shop near the University of Oklahoma campus.

James White, a former mixed martial arts fighter, has owned James White Fitness since spring of 2018. White said Austin Plank, a director of Second Wind Coffeehouse, approached him at a Campus Corner merchants meeting to ask if Second Wind baristas could take Muay Thai lessons in exchange for free coffee.

Ever since, the “Muay Chai” group has met at 6 p.m. on Thursdays — a time White said has become the highlight of his week.

“It became this cathartic experience with me every week — something I looked forward to,” White said. “Because there was no pressure to perform, I think that was really the magic of it.”

The baristas’ Muay Thai lesson usually includes a work out portion. The Nov. 15 session incorporated an abdominal exercise that White called “ab-a-palooza.”

The gym does not have a scale, and all weight loss and health progress are byproducts of the work done through training, White said.

“In terms of weight loss and getting healthy, this is the way to do it,” White said.

James White Fitness also offers classes like submission grappling, kickboxing and mixed martial arts, according to the website.