Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a fast-growing sport worldwide. It demands power and athleticism and is an exciting sport as a spectator as well as a competitor. Here we look at how to get started in MMA which has a route unlike any other sport whether you aim to become a top fighter or simply want to push your strength and stamina to a new level.
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Forms of MMA fighting
MMA fighting takes place not only when opponents are standing and striking each other with their limbs but include fights on the ground and clinches where the fighters hold on to each other for position and leverage rather than for strikes, in order to throw an opponent down or move them into a position they want.
These forms of fighting take disciples from several fighting disciplines. The foot and handwork used in Boxing are a good foundation alongside extensive training in martial art disciplines and Kickboxing and will provide a comprehensive set of skills for the beginner to start with. Reputable MMA gyms offer these classes. Training in clinch work will usually incorporate training in wrestling or judo so that you learn how to control an opponent’s body and for groundwork jiu-jitsu will be a major discipline in training.
Professional MMA fighters are experts in all three areas of fighting and many of the early fighters specialise in one area of martial arts, with many learning from a young age. However, most of the younger fighters are today graduating into the business from MMA gyms
Mental stamina is critical in MMA not only to maintain the desire to win but also to deal with the impact of fight losses on self-esteem. MMA is a highly competitive sport and you may experience a sequence of losses. In addition, maintaining a lead is also stressful and there are times when you will be pushed to the edge of endurance but deserve to stay in the game.
Research local gyms
Find out which gyms have the classes you want at the times you can make. Look for an MMA gym or one with an emphasis on Jiu-Jitsu if you want to become a professional fighter. Otherwise, look for a more rounded programme of classes. Make good use of a free pass as a potential new client and drop in on some of the classes to check out the instructors and others in the class who you can train and spar with.
Know your limits in training and start slow to reduce the risk of injuries. The gym is a place to learn and improve and not show off. The aim should be to train safely, be a helpful training partner to others and generally add value to the gym space. Some of the training will be how to avoid injury, particularly in ground fighting when tapping-out too late could even lead to becoming unconscious.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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