Mixed martial arts uses techniques from various combat styles to create what many call the ultimate fighting system. A competent mixed martial artist is comfortable with a fight taking place anywhere. They understand the intricacies of both striking and grappling-based styles. Most importantly, they know how to combine everything, which depicts what a real fight looks like. Learning mixed martial arts is a rewarding undertaking that gets you in the best shape of your life.
It improves your confidence, athleticism, strength, and endurance while teaching you practical self-defense skills. It also helps to get you comfortable with the idea of being in a fight. The little things you do when you start training mixed martial arts affect how well you pick up techniques you’re being shown. Here are 10 simple tips to help speed up your progression.
1) Train Consistently
You’re not going to become good at MMA if you train sporadically. Doing so often leads to you forgetting techniques and rubs off the physical benefits of training. Mixed martial arts classes give you an intense full-body workout that not only strengthens muscles but also helps to improve flexibility and mobility. Similar to the case of any other exercise program, you need to train regularly to reap the most out of these benefits.
Training consistently increases the likelihood of mastering the moves you’ve just learned. For example, comparing a student who trains five times a week versus a student that trains once a week. The likelihood of the five-times-a-week student getting a technique down quicker is definitely more than the other. Practice makes perfect. Even professionals spent hours honing their craft, nailing down every detail through consistent training sessions. Not to mention, the important details and practice sessions during each training are lost amid the inconsistency.
2) Have A Base
MMA training involves learning techniques from different styles such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, Muay Thai, Judo, and wrestling. You are likely to develop a preference for one of these arts as your training progresses, typically the one that comes most naturally to you. Be honest with yourself when selecting your base, don’t pick one simply because it’s the popular flavor of the week.
Some people naturally enjoy exchanging strikes, while others instinctively look to grapple when they find themselves in a confrontation. Figure out what your natural fighting style is and make it your base. Make it a priority to master your base without neglecting the other aspects of fighting.
3) Focus On The Fundamentals
With techniques like flying armbars and upward-elbow around, it’s easy to get carried away when learning MMA. Don’t worry about all that flashy stuff when you first start training. Master the fundamentals before working on more advanced techniques. The fundamentals are often what separates the greats from everyone else at the highest levels of MMA. Even the professionals rely heavily on their fundaments such as footwork and jabs.
4) Master A Few Takedowns
Make it a priority to master a few takedown techniques, even if you prefer keeping your fights standing. The scoring systems used in MMA award points for takedowns, and a well-timed takedown can turn tables in a closely contested round.
You should master more than two takedowns if you’re a grappler who prefers fighting on the canvas. There’s nothing more frustrating for a grappler than being forced to stand and bang with an experienced striker.
5) Don’t Neglect Takedown Defense
Learning how to defend takedowns makes you more rounded as an MMA fighter. It forces your opponents to stand and bang with you, denying them any points they could have scored from takedowns. Good takedown defense also helps to wear opponents down since takedowns require a lot of energy.
6) Improve Your Endurance
Most people would think that fighting is all about skills and techniques. But, when you put two equally experienced and skilled MMA fighters in a cage, the better-conditioned fighter often emerges victorious. Your techniques become sloppy when fatigue creeps in, and your will to fight starts to fade away. It is not common to see fighters give up their necks or arms simply because they want a way out of a fight due to fatigue.
7) Watch Fight Tapes
Sharpening your fight IQ will make you more efficient inside the cage. Watching MMA fights, particularly high-level ones, allows you to observe how experienced fighters react to different situations. Videos allow you to visualize, predict and experience the various situations and scenarios that would likely occur. Fight tapes also help create mental notes that make you more likely to react appropriately when placed in similar situations. Little things like knowing to clinch if you get hurt with a strike can turn the tides in mixed martial arts competitions.
Sparring gives you a chance to try out techniques you’ve learned in MMA classes on a resisting opponent. It is one of the essential aspects of mastering any martial art. You can’t be good at fighting by only running drills against compliant training partners.
Aim to spar a few times a week and do so intelligently. You can go close to 100 percent when rolling (grappling sparring), but you should bring the intensity down to 50 percent or less when exchanging strikes. By sparring often, you also increase your exposure to different MMA styles allowing you to adapt quicker and easier to various opponents.
9) Build Core Muscles
Your core muscles are activated when you perform countless martial arts techniques. Strengthening your core muscles makes you feel stronger against opponents while increasing the explosiveness of your techniques. Training on its own builds your core, but you should also add core exercises to your fitness routine. Who knows, you might end up with a set of visible and developed six-pack abs in the process!
10) Follow A Fitness And Diet Program
Strength, balance, mobility, and flexibility training helps improve your performance inside the cage, so create a fitness routine that complements your MMA training. While strength and conditioning increase muscle mass and strength, dieting helps to remove excess fat on your frame.
Mobility, flexibility, and balance training improve your athletic performance, making your techniques sharper and more explosive. Remember, fighters are well-rounded, without strength, our techniques lack power, without proper nutrition, our bodies would not be able to function at their optimum level when training.
Start Learning MMA
Thinking about giving MMA a try? Feel free to attend one of Evolve MMA’s complimentary introductory classes for more training tips from our world-class instructors.