Eric Nicksick’s road to Xtreme Couture was unconventional to say the least. After signing up to become a member a little over seven years ago, Nicksick is now the gym manager of Xtreme Couture, as well as one of the grappling coaches for pro-practice and kids class.
“I came here to try and find that family, that camaraderie of working together to achieve a goal,” said Nicksick. “Once I got here … there’s a reason I’ve never left.”
The son of a Nevada high school football Hall of Fame coach, Nicksick grew up playing the sport he loved, eventually landing him a scholarship at the University of Nevada-Reno, before transferring for his final years at Dixie State College in Utah.
Upon graduation, he wanted to pick up a hobby that would keep him in shape long after his football days were over. After entering as a member, Nicksick not only manages Xtreme Couture, he’s taken over the reins of the kids grappling class offered Monday-Friday at 6 p.m.
“When I first took over the kids program, it was anywhere from four to twelve year olds in one group,” Nicksick said. “We all know you can’t have a four-year old grappling with a nine-year old because their attention span isn’t the same.” So as his first order of business, Nicksick separated the kids in groups of two: ages 4-7 in one and ages 8-12 in the other.
The kids are color-coded uniformly, with every kid starting out receiving a gray shirt. The next level up is yellow, which is awarded by progression of basic movements and submissions, followed by orange, which is awarded to kids whose skills advance far enough and who are willing to put themselves out there to compete.
“They don’t have to win the grappling tournament,” Nicksick said. “It’s performance based.” Although the students who’ve honed in on their skills long enough get rewarded for simply trying, Nicksick and other coaches take no slack when it comes to practicing.
Parents pay money to have their kids here, and getting their money’s worth is of the upmost importance, Nicksick says. If one kid is being disruptive, the coaches will make sure they are held accountable.
Since taking over, the kids program at Xtreme Couture has seen a significant increase, with young boys and girls ages 4-12 partaking in each and every curriculum.
“I want kids to go try out other gyms and experience other places,” Nicksick said. “I know what we have to offer and once they see what we have, they know that we are the place to be not only in Las Vegas, but in the country.”