Meet the Owners and Coaches
We’ve got you covered whether you’re trying to stay fit, lose weight, build muscle, or develop skills in martial arts for fun, competition, or self-defense.
The Frei Family – OWNERS
Carson and Haili met at an MMA gym in Portland in 2017. Their passion for fitness and martial arts brought them together! The duo love working out as a family and finding new ways to make exercising and competing fun. Carson’s background and knowledge in health, fitness, teaching, and MMA makes for an amazing, technical coach who specializes in the integration of art forms into the sport of MMA. Haili’s experience with cardio kickboxing makes for a fun and energetic way of losing weight, getting in shape and self-defense. The children’s classes are a great way for kids to build confidence, coordination and team building.
Carson and Haili have two children that are often at the gym—Jace and Hazel. It’s a family business!
Carson Frei – HEAD COACH
Carson James Frei was born and raised in Idaho. In 2012, Frei graduated from Lewiston High School. He moved to Vancouver, Washington to attend Clark Community College where he earned an Associates in Fitness Training. Carson has demonstrated a proclivity to the arts from the time he began karate at the age of five and has continuously trained in mixed martial arts year-round for 24 years. Carson studied under Sensei Frank Arnett at Martial Arts America, Lewiston, Idaho. In the 1980s, Arnett was ranked as #1 in full contact karate in the Pacific Northwest. After earning his black belt in karate at the age of 12, Carson began taking Arnett’s mixed martial arts classes. He worked out of several Portland Metro gyms before the Frei’s opened GRIT MMA. Carson won his first amateur fight when he was fifteen and won seven MMA and two kickboxing amateur competitions. In 2015, Frei began competing as an MMA professional. Carson is a top-level contender and a successful fighter having competed in 16 professional MMA bouts and is currently competing in the lightweight division. “I love working with all my clients regardless of age or ability to help them achieve their personal fitness and/or competitor goals.”
Haili Frei – GYM MANAGER
Haili was born and raised in Canby, Oregon. In 2011, she graduated from Canby High School. Since high school, Haili has had an interest in weightlifting, cardio and overall health and fitness. She meal preps for her entire household and is in charge of keeping Carson’s diet on track when he has an upcoming fight. She finds staying active important and wants to make fitness fun and interesting for everyone in the family. Haili believes in creating healthy habits early on. Her son, Jace has trained and competed in multiple Jujitsu competitions and continues to work with Carson on his kickboxing and wrestling technique. Hail believes cardio kickboxing is the fastest and most fun way to get back in shape after having a baby.
Haili is the gym’s business manager and does her best to keep the business functional and to ensure the gym provides a positive environment.
Joey Walker – COACH
Joey Walker is a native of Milwaukie, OR and a Milwaukie High School graduate. In 2015, Joey began to train under Coach Carson Frei.
Joey is an active MMA competitor. In 2022, he was ranked #1 in the Pacific Northwest under his weight class. Joey is a favorite among fans as his fights often end in knock out.
Along with a Taekwondo black belt, Joey has extensive MMA experience. Integrating western boxing techniques with Muay Thai, Joe has a hybrid style of fighting that is exciting to watch. Joe is happy to be supporting GRIT members in their efforts to reach personal goals—whether they are for fitness, self-defense, or competition. Check out his Muay Thai classes!