Thoughts on whether an MMA instructor has to be a successful fighter » MMA General » MMA Training » Thoughts on whether an MMA instructor has to be a successful fighter
1/2/08 10:56:12AM
Do you feel that an instructor for MMA should have an impressive fight pedigree? Many of the top instructors/trainers in sports like boxing and Japanese jiu jitsu would not have this while it would be very rare to find a top level wrestling coach or BJJ instructor who did not have competition credentials.

So how open would you be to taking classes from someone who seemed knowledgable and ran a good class but did not have much (or any) fight experience?

1/2/08 12:01:49PM
Personally, my friend trains at a place where the instructor has no fighting experince or formal training in BJJ. the guy is a black belt in tai kwon do and he teaches it for a living (my buddy pays way more a month to train there then I do to train with the lauzons in bridgewater) i tried his place out and the lack of experience showed in the guys that where there.. he's really the only guy looking to fight anytime soon, and its going to take him twice as long to be ready then if he was training somewhere that has an astablished fight team along with instructors that know what they are doing.
1/2/08 12:44:55PM
Interesting question... I actually just started training with my friends older brother whose 26 and has competed in martial arts competitions. He can kick an apple off the top of a sword if you hold it right, he isin't the most physically imtimidating guy but he has a lot of knowledge and theories that I am intrigued by. He's never faught MMA but trains for situations that would actually happen like in street fighting. He has the confidence and tells me I can only be as good as I desire to be therefore it's really up to the person training to become skilled since the instructor can only push you so hard and do so much.
1/2/08 1:00:46PM
I'd be more concerned that they can teach you the proper techniques. Not everyone is physically gifted, so if they have proper training, good techniques and teaching then I don't care what they've done. Don't choose a teacher based on their MMA record, who would you rather be taught by Tim Sylvia at 26-3, or Greg Jackson?
1/2/08 1:02:36PM
Well would you want to be trained by sylvia after what hughes said about him?
1/2/08 1:24:16PM
Those that know, do; those that understand, teach.

In other words

Good fighters are not necessarily good teachers and good teachers are not always great fighters.

If you want to learn techniques, then you want a teacher that understands the techniques and knows how to convey that information to his/her students.

I the knowledge you are looking for is related to the actual fighting experience, then you probably would be better off with someone with more/better fighting experience.
1/2/08 4:19:28PM
No. Theres some guys that are simply better teachers than fighters. Some guys might have all the skill in the world, but are just not tough, or lack a fighting instinct. The one that came to the top of my head by was Jorge Gurgel. Of course he is successful(after all he is in the UFC), however, he isn't nearly a top contender in the division, but apparently a great teacher. Another, Dean Lister, etc.
1/2/08 6:04:59PM
I don't think it matters whether or not an MMA instructor is a successful fighter, some of the best trainers, Tompkins, Juanito (Rampage's trainer) are not MMA fighters (Tompkins was, but he did horrible). Like others have said sometimes someone is a better trainer than they are a fighter and sometimes someone is a better fighter than they are a trainer.
1/2/08 7:43:20PM
Good answers so far. I'll give my take.

Ideally, an MMA instructor should have a pedigree of either fighting himself or (even better) having trained people who've competed. Given that this is a new sport, however, I see some "trainers" popping up who are basically 25-30 year old mediocre fighters with mediocre technique who boast about having "octagon experience". They are inferior IMO to even traditional martial arts instructors and certainly worse than 40-60 year old guys who have competed in feeder sports like Muay Thia, boxing and BJJ. I'm sure that will change in a decade or so and the best MMA trainers will all come with an MMA background, but right now I'm not sure that's the case. Maybe this is because no one can boast 20-30 years of MMA experience the way guys in other sports can.

There is a difference between grappling and striking. The common injuries for grappling are superficial compared to those that can occur from getting punched and kicked too much. There are plenty of good reasons for a guy who loves and understands boxing not to become a professional boxer, but there is no good reason I can think of for someone who loves and understands wrestling not to compete in the high school/university competitions. Another way of putting it is that I would expect my grappling instructor to be able to tap me out (unless he was much older or lighter), but I don't expect my/MT trainer to be able to beat me up sparring (although its possible, just not a requirement).
1/3/08 9:59:08AM
This may be coming from a swimming point of view but i feel it still applies.

Where i come from we often have coaches who have little more than provinical expericne who coach swimmers into being national level swimmers. These coaches Know the Techinques and conditioning needed to be the best and they bestow their knowledge on their teams.

Coaches dont need to be able to do as much as teach.
1/7/08 2:43:07AM
I think Rush nailed it.

I personally like an instructor that has fought before but the record doesn't matter so much as the willingness to mix it up a bit, and I think a fight camps product (the fighters) are a much better bellweather of a teachers ability to teach, than that teachers fight record.
1/8/08 3:17:39PM
I think Rush answered this the best,but I will elaborate on it a little more.

Teaching is an art in itself.the "art" of teaching,takes someone with a lot of patience,and a lot of knowledge.Everybody learns differently as well.It's very likely that two students will take the same technique their teacher shows them and will apply them,and use them differently.How the teacher uses a certain move,or how he sets up a certain combination might not work as well for someone else,and his students will learn to apply these things differently.A good teacher will recognize this,and watch how his students progress,and how they modify techniques to their advantage,and make them work for them.This shouldn't be mistaken for poor form ,or an inability to apply a move though.A teacher must have a good eye,and will do as much listening as they do talking.It's a very difficult job to be a teacher,and not everyone can do it.

While I do believe,that going to a teacher that's a proven fighter,will prove to have great advantages,if that instructer can not apply the art of teaching to his in ring experince,you will not get all you can out of the experinece.
1/10/08 10:42:39AM
I guess I got it lucky, I don't have to worry about this.
I train BJJ under a blackbelt, and train MMA under him as well, his mma record is 2-0-0. He's an excelent teacher.

also I train muay thai, under a guy who graduated fairtex, so i gots it good there too.

SORRY in my original post I didn't give any feedback, I don't think it will matter to much about their experience. As long as they have a certified trainer, training them their techniques. You don't want to learn bad habbits, or the wrong ways of doing stuff.
2/4/08 9:21:42PM
Greg Jackson.

That's all that needs to be said, really.

A successful MMA pedigree sure helps, but it's not 100% necessary.
6/10/08 6:00:37PM
AS smeone who is just starting to train fighters. I don't feel I can give a fighter everything yet... So for me I more work with beginers and getting the basics down ... But see.. I know this so I have sought out trainers for myself to improve my own skill. THough I do understand how the body works and I have trained in various tradational styles most of my life. I also plan on getting into teh ring to compete to get some experience to better help prepare my own fighters. I am also surrounding myself with people who excel in thier own chosen styles. I have contact with a Mauy Thai Instructor, who also teaches Jeet Kun Do and Kali, He has an associate he works with in Brazilian Jujitsu, I have a friend who is an instructor in Tang Soo Do and Ishnryu. I am also bring in a boxing coah and will be looking for a wrestling coach once I am closer to opening my actual school... If I can't teach a certian skill myself I will get someone who can...
6/10/08 10:10:45PM
Add another name to the list- Mark Delagrotte. Who admits himself that he is not the best fighter but has proven himself to be a great standup coach.

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