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By Paul W. Fitzgerald -
Iman Achhal is now known as one of the top MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighters in the circuit.
At a local gym here in Chantilly, VA, one can feel her power and determination to win while watching her work out. The sound of her feet kicking a large sized brown bag hanging from the ceiling echoes loudly throughout the spacious facility. Each kick she makes is powerful, almost haunting and eerie in every sense. The more she kicks, the louder she screams. Her face looks totally locked, her body is in perfect form: she never likes to lose. Who on earth would even want to get into a ring and fight her?
Nicknamed “Mannie” in the MMA world and among friends, the 33-year-old took a break from training to talk about her life and how a nearby dentist in Lorton, VA has helped her become one of the top MMA fighters in the world. She is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
And what a story she has to tell. It’s one just as powerful as watching her practice or compete in the ring. It’s a gripping story, indeed.
You see, not long ago she lived in Morocco and her time came up time for her mother to set up an arranged marriage for her. When Achhal refused, her mother gave her the beating of her life. Scarred and badly bruised, she found a way to escape home. Shortly after this, she scored a green card for entry into the United States through her biological father.
“I left my family, my religion to pursue a better life,” she says. “I needed to be free and live the life I wanted.”
She spent years homeless – no job and no money. She was down and out.
She spent many days living on the streets, and camping out in tents in various parks. She even worked many odds and ends jobs to make rent. Times were tough.
“Those were the dark days,” she explains. “But I got through it all.”
But she never gave up. Fluent in both Spanish and Arabic, she learned quickly to speak English by watching television and listening to the radio.
Then a door opened for her. She saw an ad in the paper seeking recruits for the Fairfax County Fire Department. She spent 22 weeks in training and then was immediately hired as a firefighter.
As time moved on however her passion for Jiu-Jitsu only grew. With this, she was offered a full time training position at the Capital Jiu-Jitsu, a mixed martial arts gym that has facilities in Sterling and Alexandria. The facilities are owned by MMA legend Royce Gracie. With a new job, one she loved, she decided to resign her post as a firefighter.
Then she met Dr. Ryan Reeves. This was yet another door that opened for her, one which she will never forget.
“I heard about Dr. Reeves from others I was training,” she says. “Everyone was talking about this mouth piece he was offering and I was really intrigued by it.”
Sure enough, Dr. Reeves learned of Achhal’s story through the local media and friends. Dr. Reeves was fascinated with her story and wanted to help her out.
“She found a new home in the MMA and has made quite the name for herself in the area,” says Dr. Reeves during an interview from his office. “So, I went down to meet her and not long after I had her come into my office and get fitted with a new mouth guard I am offering.”
That new guard is called the Pure Power Mouthguard (PPM), which is being offered via the Makkar Athletics Group. Dr. Reeves, a PPM certified dentist in Lorton, has been fitting all sorts of people with the PPM including professional trainers at his local Gold’s Gym. A number of players from the Washington Redskins are also wearing the PPM.
The PPM ranges from $595.00 to $2,000.00 in price. Dr. Reeves gave Achhal two guards as a gift, valued at $4,000.00.
“I was amazed with her life story – she is someone who never gave up and I knew she had a good heart,” says. Dr. Reeves. “It felt good to give back and help Achhal out, that’s for sure,” he adds with a smile.
Since getting the device, Achhal has noticed a major difference when she practices and while competing in the ring.
“I can’t describe it, when I pop in the PPM, I feel like I have a new jaw,” she says. “I feel like I have more strength, flexibility and my oxygen flow is so much better.”
While some may scoff that a mouth guard can help improve their performance in sport, the PPM is now getting rave reviews among thousands of amateur and professional athletes alike in the USA and abroad.
What is the secret behind this miraculous invention? Dr. Reeves says that it works on the basis of human physiology. “It begins with looking at how the body functions as a whole,” he says.
“Over 90% of the population has an overbite, and one of the negative effects of an overbite is that it causes muscle tension. When the neck and jaw muscles are tense, the body can’t perform at its peak. Strength is lost and balance is diminished. So on the most basic level, what the Pure Power Mouthguard does is allow the body to perform at its absolute peak, in a purely natural way.”
To achieve this kind of efficiency, athletes who are interested in using the Pure Power Mouthguard must be fitted by specially trained and licensed dentists, such as Dr. Reeves who has been fitting a number of athletes here in Lorton.
Dr. Reeves says that the key to getting the perfect fit is the use of state-of-the-art equipment which monitors the condition of the jaw muscles so that a dentist can determine where the optimal bite position is.
“Once we know where the optimal bite position is, we can then fit the mouth guard,” says the neuromuscular dentist. “So whenever they put the device in their mouth, it will hold their jaw in the perfect position, freeing up the rest of the body to perform at it’s best,” says Dr. Reeves.
Achhal fully agrees with the science behind the device.
“I have tried out all sort of mouth guards and they never worked,” she says. “The PPM has now given me that extra edge to train better and fight better in the ring.”
“I never go anywhere without both of my guards… I use them religiously and I am now telling everyone to get fitted with one if they want to succeed in their sport of choice.”
In all, Achhal is grateful for the gift from Dr. Reeves.
“I know the PPM is not cheap – it costs a lot as there is a lengthy and effective fitting process involved,” she says.
“Dr. Reeves is one of my biggest supporters and I am so grateful to have him in my life. If it wasn’t for him and the PPM, I am not sure where I would be.”
In all, Dr. Reeves knows that more people in the area will be visiting him to get fitted with a PPM.
Dr. Reeves is no stranger in giving back to others in the community. He is currently holding a smile contest valued at $15,000.00. The Lorton based dentist is also active with a number of prominent organizations like the Virginia Dental Association, the International Association of Comprehensive Aesthetics, the American Dental Association, the Association of General Dentistry, and the Northern Virginia Dental Society.
“The word is really getting out there that the PPM works,” he says. “We are now getting calls and conducting fittings on all sorts of athletes who want to be on top of their game.”
He adds, “I would encourage anyone who is looking to enhance their performance to book an appointment at my practice. A few simple tests will prove to anyone that when your jaw is properly aligned, then your performance in sports significantly improves.”
The inventor of the Pure Power Mouthguard is Dr. Anil Makkar. Both Drs. Reeves and Makkar have studied and trained extensively at the Las Vegas Institute (LVI) for Advanced Dental Studies.
Top athletes who have experienced the benefits of the PPM include three-time PGA tour winner Scott McCarron, world champion skier Bode Miller, four-time NBA championship winner Shaquille O’Neal and Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints Cornerback Tracy Porter.
Paul W. Fitzgerald is the Editor of Thursday Night Magazine. He also the founder and President of Salt & Pepper Media Inc.