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Old 09-24-2009, 10:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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So you want to be an MMA Fighter?

We get a lot of traffic on the forums from those interested in starting MMA training. Here are some of the questions we are commonly asked and our generally agreed upon answers.

I am interested in starting Mixed Martial Arts but I’m not sure I’m physically where I need to be begin training, what kind of exercises should I do in order to get myself properly conditioned to begin training?

There are a lot of different paths to physical conditioning and different approaches work for different people. Circuit training and plyometrics are highly recommended for mixed martial artists as they improve muscle strength, muscle endurance, and cardio. Weight training should be on free weights and the goal of training for MMA should be functional strength and not sculpting. Unnecessary muscles still use up necessary oxygen and energy. Cardio is a cornerstone of mixed martial arts and beginning mixed martial artists should be able to run a five minute (5:00-5:59) mile and be able to complete a five mile run in less than 40 minutes. Alternatively if you are in average shape and hit sit-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, and running in a committed fashion you’ll be ready for MMA training in 4-6 weeks.

I love the sport of MMA and I want to give it a try but I don’t know that I necessarily want to fight in a cage, can I still train mixed martial arts?

Typically yes. Most gyms are eager to have anyone with a passion for mixed martial arts as part of their gym. Make sure you talk to the coach/owner of the gym to ensure you individual goals are supported and encouraged. You may run into a ‘hardcore’ MMA gym but those gyms still have casual/beginner classes as the extra tuition is typically desirable. Don’t be ashamed if you don’t want to fight! Many people train MMA just for the enjoyment of the training and the self-defense aspects of the sport. You may also find that after a while you would want to put your MMA training to the test in a grappling or kickboxing tournament that isn’t ‘cage fighting’.

I’m not sure what style of martial arts to pursue in order to begin MMA.

There are some different schools of thought but typically it comes down to what is available to you in your area and if you enjoy the school and the training. For striking the following styles are typically the most desirable (In order of general preference): Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and Boxing. For grappling the following styles are typically most recommended (In order of general preference): Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), Greco-Roman or Freestyle wrestling, and Judo. If there is a MMA gym in your area you may want to check the credentials of the instructors as many MMA gyms are appearing as MMA popularity is rapidly growing. All MMA gyms are not equal and serious competitors will want to find serious and experienced instructors.

I’m headed to my first MMA class, what do I need to take with me?

Typically you will need a fitted mouthpiece, groin protector, comfortable clothing (t-shirt and shorts) and a bottle of water. If you need 4oz gloves, sparring equipment, handwraps, uniforms, etc. your instructor will be able to sell them to you or direct you to a vendor. Also, make sure you have health insurance. MMA is a combat sport and accidents and injury can happen. Many gyms will not allow you to participate until you show proof of health insurance and sign a waiver. Some gyms even offer health insurance.

I’m headed to my first MMA class, what should I expect?

Expect nothing; an open mind learns best! That being said I’ll throw out some usual caveats. You should expect the gym to be clean to avoid risk of infection. You should expect to not be put in situations that have an unreasonable risk of injury to yourself or your training partners. Typically a newcomer introductory session involves strength and endurance training to get you warmed up, basic striking drills, grappling positions, and basic submissions. Instructor time will still be divided amongst the students so you will need to learn from your training partners as well as your instructor.

How long do I need to train before I get to fight?

The more your train the better fighter you will become. It isn’t unreasonable to see people with previous martial arts training and good conditioning to fight within three months of MMA training. This lets them get a taste of competition and see if they want to continue MMA training. Others may decide to take a couple years of training before they fight. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and your coach’s recommendation. Before jumping into the cage it is recommended to try a grappling tournament or kickboxing tournament to get accustomed to the differences between training and competition. You will also need to get licensed to compete in MMA which can typically be done through your gym or through websites such as Amateur fights do not go on a professional record and are a great way to get some experience without affecting a MMA career. MMA competitions are sanctioned events and MMA training should not be used in street fighting. It is disrespectful to the sport to fight outside of the cage/ring.
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Old 09-25-2009, 10:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Great post!
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