4 Tips for Managing a Fight Club

Brad Pitt in “Fight Club” (Twentieth Century Fox)

Whether you’re opening an MMA-style fighting Bootcamp for beginners or an underground fight club, there’s a lot to do before you can get started. Not only should you be prepared to manage the club properly, but you should also be aware of the possible risks involved as well. Here are a few tips for getting your club up and running.

1. Find Members

The hardest part of starting any club is finding willing participants. A fight club is a tough sell to many as the word comes with a lot of bad connotations and many associate fighting with fear and pain. To overcome this, it helps to have the credentials to appear legitimate. A great way to attract members to your club is by becoming certified in a specific form of fighting. You may have experience and years of training under your belt, but without certification, there’s no way for potential members to know that you are able to train them to fight in any kind of safe, regulated fashion.

Once you’re certified and have a clear program for how the club will be organized, it can be easier to attract new members. Consider having a demonstration day, where potential members can come to the facility and experience what a club meeting will look like and see if it’s a good fit for them. You can address any concerns and make changes to the club format if necessary.

2. Set Up Your Facility

One of the best ways to attract and keep new members is by having a good facility, with all the necessary equipment. If you offer food services on site, you may need commercial dishwashing equipment, but even smaller facilities need a variety of gear.

You’ll want safety gear like headgear, gloves, and mouthguard, as well as tape and hand-wraps. For workout gear, you can easily start out with some floor mats and punching bags but may want to work up to battle ropes and pull-up bars.

Even a garage can look like a professional gym if it’s kept clean and organized, and a fridge with some protein shakes and energy drinks can take it to the next level. First-aid equipment should always be easily accessible, and you should always have water available during training and sparring sessions.

3. Inspire Confidence

Chances are, you’re going to have a lot of beginners in your club. This means a lot of nervousness and the potential for members to back out if they don’t feel that they’ll do well. The best possible way for you to inspire confidence in others is to exude confidence yourself. In fact, fear management is one of the biggest benefits of learning how to conduct oneself during a fight.

It’s a good idea to get these fears out in the open on day one. What are the members scared of, and how can you help them to feel more confident? Maybe they’re lacking strength, but it’s more likely they just need to be told that they can do it and that they’ll receive support every step of the way.

4. Start a Training Program

One of the fastest ways to scare off new recruits is by being disorganized, so even if you’re starting out your club with friends, make sure you’re developing and sticking to a schedule for training days. Usually, a training session for a team of fighters starts with a good warmup composed of circuits of low-intensity, body-weight exercises, followed by some dynamic stretching.

Then begin circuits of more intense workouts, followed by quick sparring rounds. The idea is that every fighter should be fully warmed up and have their adrenaline pumping by the time they get to the “real” fighting. Sparring rounds should only be one to three minutes long — you might be surprised how quickly everyone gets tired.

Remember, starting any type of club is going to require dedication, focus, and a lot of trial and error. Keep these tips in mind, and don’t let a few false starts get in the way of your fight club dream.

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