If there's one thing I can tell you as a gym rat, it's that COVID-19 hit people's fitness routines hard. With gyms shut down and strong social distancing suggestions in place, people have turned to at-home workouts, including those of us who enjoy a good round of aggressive cardio boxing and mixed martial arts.
While it is true that it will take a bit of time before you can spar with your human partner again, Stryk has launched a robot that can help you get your MMA fix in — and possibly kick your precious ass in the process. Say hello to RXT-1, your personal fight coach.
What RXT-1 offers — I was initially skeptical about the robot. As someone who has trained in Muay Thai, in-person sparring is the best way to learn combinations, coordination, speed, and agility. You learn a lot about yourself when you're engaged with someone else in these intense and fast-paced environments.
But RXT-1 seems to have everything a human sparring buddy would have — except a sweat-drenched face or human form to begin with. The robot has a head target, three training modes, more than 100 physical moves, a touch screen to switch up speed and levels, four removable arms, a mount if you want to adjust height, and it stands at a rather intimidating 12 feet tall. Your final boss isn't Heihachi Mishima or M. Bison. It's a faceless and rather unassuming robot.
If you're hesitant about punching a robot in the face and possibly breaking its hardware, don't worry. Muay Thai athlete Jeff Chan gave an RXT-1 prototype one of his signature strikes in the head, and the robot took it like a champ. Whether it's practice, spar, or combination mode, RXT-1 is inclusive of all levels of MMA training. Plus, it won't judge you for your sloppy uppercuts, which I personally appreciate.
Take my money — The idea sounds super attractive to MMA enthusiasts and the proof is in the pudding as the Kickstarter campaign's initial goal of $15,000 has met double the amount. The current prices are $699 for the Super Early Bird RXT-1 at 40 percent off and $749 at 35 percent off.
If you're in the mood to be humbled by a robot — or hey, maybe you'll show RXT-1 you're the boss — check out Stryk's promotional video for the mechanical warrior.