While its fight team is clearly its bread and butter, there's much more to Rat Pack Fighting Systems than meets the eye.
In conjunction with Rat Pack Dynasty Karate, the Palmerton facility will hold its grand re-opening this Saturday, at which point visitors can catch a glimpse of the new Rat Pack's Heavy Metal Gym.
Located at 486 Delaware Avenue, Rat Pack's Heavy Metal Gym is a full weight room fitness center complete with a 16-foot octagon cage. At over 5,000-square-feet, that makes Rat Pack Fighting Systems the largest, full service Mixed Martial Arts training facility in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
As part of the celebration, there will be Cardio-X classes at 8:30 a.m., adult mixed martial arts at 9:30 a.m., children's mixed marital arts at 10 a.m., and a mixed karate class at 11 a.m. There will also be jiu jitsu belt testing from noon to 3 p.m., and children's mixed martial arts belt testing from 3-5 p.m.
Nick Masington, co-owner of Rat Pack Fighting Systems, said his goal for the grand opening is to "get more people in to be aware that our weight room is now there, and that the karate school is under new ownership."
"The majority of us are professionals; not everybody in here is a pro fighter or trying to be," Masington said. "We're not just guys getting into a cage fighting."
Masington said a common misnomer is that Rat Pack Dynasty Karate is only for "tough guys."
"I think a lot of people are intimidated by the fight school because they think everybody's on the fight team and we're not," he said. "I have about 60 to 70 guys, and probably only about seven are on the fight team."
Masington said Rat Pack Dynasty Karate offers a plethora of options.
"We offer so many different programs in that we've got women, children, and adults training," he said. "Everybody finds their own niche."
Program rates are contingent upon how many disciplines an individual does, Masington said. Family discounts are available, he said.
Masington said Rat Pack's Heavy Metal Gym is an addition that is being run both as in-house and a separate entity.
"It's a serious weightlifting facility for guys and girls who know what they're doing," he said. "It's for our fighters, Rat Pack members and karate guys who like that hardcore atmosphere."
In short, Masington said Rat Pack's Heavy Metal Gym has "everything you need, and nothing you don't."
One of a handful of its type in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Masington said the octagon cage is fully functional, fully padded.
"We got guys fighting all over the place," he said. "We had to grow with the times, and our guys are using that quite a bit."
Among those who utilize the cage - which is solely for Rat Pack's fight team - is Joel Roberts of Lehighton, a professional MMA fighter who sports a record of four wins and three losses.
Masington said that while many members are from Palmerton, there are others who come from Slatington, Jim Thorpe and Bangor.
Some of the members include "D-Boy" Masington, Joey Bubble and Skyler Rosenberry, who are members of the Palmerton varsity wrestling team, along with varsity wrestling coaches Dave Lavine and Brett Martinez, who also serve as in-house wrestling trainers.
"Those particular guys are doing well," Masington said. "I think that just shows they do go hand-in-hand."
Another component of Rat Pack Fighting Systems is Rat Pack Dynasty Karate, which specializes in traditional martial arts.
The head instructor is Master Kevin Kresge, a 6th Degree Black. Belt American Tae kwon do under Grand Master R.C. Nenow.
Kresge, who has taught martial arts for over 20 years, took over ownership of Rat Pack Dynasty Karate after Nenow passed away in July.
Members who join can learn karate, Tae kwon do, self-defense, Kata-Kumite, weapons training and other forms of conditioning.
Rat Pack Dynasty Karate is a 2,400-square-foot matted facility with an 18-by-18-foot professional boxing ring.