Professional Boxer Teaches Fitness and Self-Defense in Laramie

Dexter Candelaria, owner and founder of Iron Monkey Self Defense, in Laramie Wyoming, teaches a variety of skills including self-defense, boxing, kick boxing, wrestling, ju-jitsu and more. 

Used with permission from Dexter Candelaria

Candelaria started his business after moving from California to Laramie. “Things weren’t going too well for me,” Says Candelaria. “I moved in with my dad in Laramie. I was completely broke, I was homeless before I left, and I didn’t think I was able to do much of anything. People heard I was back in town and one thing led to another. I started training this guy, and it started going well, and he kept getting better. I realized… I’m capable opposed to incapable…I’m one of the people that can do this, training people how to fight and defend themselves. The next thing I knew, I had a location downtown. I realized being down and out wasn’t any fun and helping people get out of being down and out or anything like that made me feel really, really fulfilled… When other people are happy, I’m happy.” 

Used with permission from Dexter Candelaria

Candelaria explains how his passion and experience for boxing and martial arts started, as well as his path to creating his business in Laramie. “I started when I was nine years old…my father decided to put me in some tournaments and as my very first year as a beginner, I won the state championship for the Colorado Karate Association.” 

“I spent five years in California, fighting ju-jitsu fighters, boxers, and kick boxers. The best in California, which is about some of the best in the United States, even Alaska and Hawaii. That’s how I learned how to do what I do.”  

Used with permission from Dexter Candelaria

While attending culinary school at Johnson and Wales University, Candelaria started his own “fight club,” because of his love for boxing and martial arts. “We had boxing gloves and it was very beer induced. We had Friday night fights and it was at my house. I lived in a nice house with five other roommates and we pretty much called it our own fraternity. We called it ‘eat a piece of pizza,’ I think. Word got out that I knew how to fight. I would just get other people kind of challenging me to fight… Everyone would just come on over and watch. It lasted about three or four months.”

Used with permission from Dexter Candelaria

Candelaria explains where he sees himself and his business in years to come. “In five years, we are going to have a bigger school. We will probably be in a fight promotion business. We will be in the entertainment business. I will be able to help a lot more people with a bigger facility. I would really like to donate a building or a gym to the Cathedral Home and the Crisis Center to work with at-risk youth to help them out, because I was pretty much at-risk youth for sure. But thank god, I had martial arts stuff and I focused my energy in the correct way.”

Used with permission from Dexter Candelaria

“I’m just out here doing my thing and if anyone else wants to come with me, door’s open. I have long wings, come on in. I have broad shoulders, I’ll carry you.” 

 For more information on Iron Monkey Self Defense call: (307) 399-0557  

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