SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- TG Boxing Gym in South Los Angeles aims to teach young men and women not just how to fight, but how to empower their lives and stay off the streets.
Rudy Garcia, a father of five who grew up in the area, opened the gym in 2014 to reach out to the local youth with self-defense techniques that strengthen the body and mind.
"We try to teach them a lot of discipline and just discipline in general - in life, in their food habits and their exercising," Garcia says. "So not necessarily just self-defense."
TG - or Team Garcia - gym offers a safe place for students to go before or after school.
"Oh my God I just love it," says boxing student Mico Figueroa. I love coming here every single day. I come here every single day and train. It just helps me become a better person, physically and mentally."
There are several female students at the gym who are glad to learn how to defend themselves.
"I didn't know how to defend myself before and now I do," says student Priscilla Sandoval Castaneda. "I think as a woman and training and learning how to box it's really cool. I love it."
Some students who started as amateurs have gone on to fight at the professional level. Pablo Melgar has 10 pro fights and now spends part of his time as a coach at the gym.
"From me being a professional fighter to having them have something to look up to - it drives me even in my career," Melgar says. "I'm not just fighting for myself. I'm fighting for the gym, the people and even the community."