MMA, or mixed martial arts, is the fastest growing sport in the world.
That’s a cold fact.
With the sport going global due to the popularity of competitive MMA fighting leagues such as the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and Bellator, to name a few, hundreds of thousands of new potential athlete’s head off to the gym to put on the gloves and step in the cage with the aspirations of becoming the next Jon Jones or Chuck Liddell.
So what do you do if you are thinking about taking up the sport as a hobby or even if you are considering starting it with a goal of fighting professionally in the big leagues?
The dynamic of MMA lies in three specific areas of technique. Striking, that is; punching, kicking and short range techniques like elbowing and kneeing. Stand up clinching and grappling and finally ‘ground work’ where you and your opponent are on the floor.
All three areas of your game must be up to scratch and you must be proficient in all of them if you want to be effective in competition.
When you are out there looking for a place to train, don’t just sign up at your nearest gym, take the time to study the options in the area and what best suits what you want to achieve. It’s very seldom that you will find one gym that will offer training in all three disciplines, they are out there, but very few and far between.
The majority of us will have to search for two or more gyms in order to get the full experience of MMA.
For instance, you may work with your boxing or Muay Thai coach on Mondays and Thursdays, and then go to your JiuJitsu gym for mat time with your coach on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The facilities of your gym are also an important factor to selecting where to begin your training. You will need access to all the bells and whistles of MMA training, not just a barbell setup, but specialist equipment like prowlers, heavy bags and wall padded areas to spar in.
The mats your gym uses are also a huge factor, training on the right wrestling mats is important to prevent injury and keep you from getting injured in your training and setting your future MMA career back.
The last factor to look at are your coaches. Pick coaches with previous MMA experience, preferably those that have achieved some success in their careers. After all you don’t want to learn from someone that has never been there themselves do you?
Make sure your coach has walked the walk so to speak and can give you the technique you need to win in the cage.
The last thing on the checklist to beginning training in MMA is you. It’s fine having access to world-class facilities and the best coaches but at the end of the day it comes down to the time you put in on the bags, the mats and the pads.
Your effort, dedication and commitment will decide how far you choose to take the sport, whether it’s a short ride, or you go the distance to the top of the sport, it all starts somewhere, and that somewhere is with YOU.