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So you're starting MMA Training? Listen up.

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Svartorm

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2. START SMALL AND CHEAP

If you're just starting out, you don't need $500 worth of suppliments and a $150 an hour BJJ instructor. You need a can of tunafish and a $10 a lesson karate class. Anything that says "Elite", "Professional Grade", or "Expert" is not something you need right now. Your fight game is a 1976 Dodge Dart, so lets not put ultra premium gasoline and a $5,000 stereosystem in it.

Be honest and realize you're not expert, elite or professional, and stick to cheap things that won't set you back a fortune if you decide you don't like the fight game. Get a cheap GI if you're starting BJJ, use cheap protein shakes or just straight up food if you're doing weight training, start an inexpensive class in an art and see if you like it. The only extravigence I'd recommend is a mouthguard. Spending $40-$60 on a mouth guard is a good investment no matter if you're doing kickboxing or BJJ, as teeth are disconcertingly easy to break and knock loose, and ridiculously expensive to put back.

Once you've been at it a few months, then its safe to pick up heavy bags, decent Gis, kick pads or anything you feel you need to work on your game away from the gym, but don't blow your cash until you know its something you're going to stick with.

3. THINGS TO AVOID.

My brother has been running a martial arts school for over a dozen years, and we've both been and still are students in various areas. You can generally take something good away from any class you take, but there are signs that your instructor might not be up to par, and there are certain things that will potentially ruin you in the fight game.

These are from my personal perspective, but they are things I find to be a constant in the last 17 years of my fight training.

A) No sparring or non-contact sparring.

Some schools do not allow any kind of sparring or free grappling. These, in my opinion, are to be avoided. Some techniques and aspects of combat work well for some people, and some don't. In fact, some techniques don't work AT ALL for some people, whether it be a physical discrepency or simply an inability to get the mechanics right. These are things that need to be discovered and ironed out in a dojo or gym under moderate pressure. Also, if you're taking a class to develop a fight game, you're not going to be able to do this unless you actually fight from time to time. It doesn't have to be a knock-out, drag-out battle, but you do need to be under some amount of pressure to develop instincts and get "comfortable" with having someone trying to harm you. Comfortable is a relative term, but you should at least be working towards not freezing up in situations or being unable to engage an opponent.

Non-contact sparring, in my opinion, is even worse than not sparring at all. Non-contact sparring is when you fight hand-to-hand, but are required to stop about 2"-6" short of actually connecting with your opponent, and is done as a point fighting system. While normal karate point fighting has value, this will RUIN you as a stand-up fighter over time. A huge part of stand-up fighting is being able to find your range, and if you train in this method, when the chips are down, you will naturally regress to what you know. If what you know is throwing a punch that is intentionally 6" short of your target, consider yourself doomed. This is a very difficult mechanic to iron out, and some people literally can't rewire themselves. Don't fall into that trap.

B) Nothing but contact fighting or free rolling.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, schools that do nothing but free rolling and sparrring with a few lessons in between are not going to help you. Down the road, when you've developed a fight game, rolling or sparring under the watchful eye of a decent trainer can help you iron out weaknesses in your game, but if you're just starting out, its a bad move. You're not only risking injury, but your body tends to cement different postures and methods of movement into your fight game when under heavy pressure, such as from free rolling or full-contact sparring. These are difficult to iron out over time, and once again, can ruin you as a fighter. Just look at any pure wrestlers fighting MMA and you'll see the inevitable back arch that puts them from mount or side control into rear mount. Its a natural reaction that their body has programmed itself to do in certain situations. If you're thrown into a full-contact sparring scenario and you spend a lot of time flinching, throwing your hands up, turning your back, and all the things a beginner to the striking game does, you will iron these things into your fight game and they are exceedingly difficult to remove.

C) Your instructor isn't a student.

Once again, this is a personal observation, but I've found that instructors who don't actually compete, take classes, or study about theirs or any other style of combat, tend to be the worst teachers out there. Instructors who are still students tend to refine their own style and pass this knowledge along to their students. Obviously if you're training with a 75 year old judoka, you shouldn't expect him to be fighting full time, but he should at least show an interest in judo. Many people get into martial arts to make money, as its essentially a zero-overhead business, but if someone is disinterested in the very thing they're teaching, I'd take anything they teach with a hearty helping of salt.

D) Your school offers a "black belt program" or allows you to pay for rank.

This is an obvious one. If you have the option to buy a black belt, the school obviously puts very little effort into its students, or their reputation of turning out "fighters". Belts and rank should be given on no other timetable than that of the student and their ability. If you find a school where someone has been a blue belt for a year and half and they suck at fighting, believe it or not, thats a great school, as they're not willing to sully their reputation by promoting someone who hasn't earned it.

E) Your school observes a strict hierarchy.

A school shouldn't allow someone off the street to go full-contact with one of their senior students, but by the same token, a school should allow a begineer student to roll with or spar with a higher level student. Some schools will disallow this, and to me, thats reeks of a lack of confidence in their product. A white belt of equal size should be smoked by a higher ranking student in any system. If these situations are strictly forbidden, go elsewhere.

On a side note, there is something that I've found to be universally positive in my perspective of martial arts and thats an instructor that will actually spar with students. That speaks highly of their confidence in what they teach, and is something I've always looked for. Its not neccessarily a bad thing if a teacher will not spar but it goes hand in hand with your teacher being a student, in that they should want to test themselves as well as you.

_______________________________________
All brave men with hearts of war, ride the path of mighty Thor.

DREAM 1 - 2nd in Pts
Cage Rage 23 - 6th in Pts
Secondary League Season 3 - 12th in Pts
Secondary League Season 7 - 16th in Wagers
Primary League Season 7 - 26th in Wagers
Secondary League Season 6 - 30th in Pts
Secondary League Season 1 - 31st in Pts
Primary League Season 6 - 39th in Wagers
Secondary League Season 7 - 41st in Pts

Post #16   12/16/07 1:34:40AM   

Svartorm

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4. BUILD A BASE, AND WORK OFF OF IT

This has been mentioned before, but I'll mention it again. It will take years until you're ready to actually compete at any level, so dont rush it. Find an art that suits you, and develop a good working knowledge of it. You don't need to master it, but you should have a firm grasp of the fundamentals of the art before moving onto something else. A person with 2 months of muay thai, bjj and greco isn't half the fighter as someone with 6 months of one of those arts. It takes time to develop a familiarity of an art to the point you can use what you know reliably in a combat situation. Once you're comfortable, its safe to take other classes and branch off into areas you feel you exceled at. Some people are naturally built for certain arts and its a matter of figuring out what that is and making it your A game. Well-rounded can come later.

5. DONT GET AHEAD OF YOURSELF

When I started training for my first amatuer NHB fight, I was 260lbs. When I fought a year and half later, I was 195lbs, when I fought the year after that I was 215lbs. Your body will go through ridiculous changes as you work on your fight game, conditioning and strength, and things like weight class are next to useless to consider until its actually near fight time. Things like organizations, rule-sets, entrance music and the like, while fun to think about, really have no bearing on your initial training. I see a lot of questions about paticular moves, weight classes, and game plans on here, and this is really something that should be considered WAY down the road from where most guys on this forum are. Concentrate on the basics and sweat the details later.

_______________________________________
All brave men with hearts of war, ride the path of mighty Thor.

DREAM 1 - 2nd in Pts
Cage Rage 23 - 6th in Pts
Secondary League Season 3 - 12th in Pts
Secondary League Season 7 - 16th in Wagers
Primary League Season 7 - 26th in Wagers
Secondary League Season 6 - 30th in Pts
Secondary League Season 1 - 31st in Pts
Primary League Season 6 - 39th in Wagers
Secondary League Season 7 - 41st in Pts

Post #17   12/16/07 1:55:12AM   

box111574

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I am a boxer wanting to get into mma later in life i have been boxing for 1 year now and hope to do it for 2-4 more years do you think that boxing is a strong base to have?

And also if im mainly a boxer fighting in mma what kind of other styles would i have to look out for fighting in an mma fight?

Post #18   12/17/07 8:47:57PM   

Omega

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Posted by box111574

I am a boxer wanting to get into mma later in life i have been boxing for 1 year now and hope to do it for 2-4 more years do you think that boxing is a strong base to have?

And also if im mainly a boxer fighting in mma what kind of other styles would i have to look out for fighting in an mma fight?



It's actually quite simple, boxing gives you a basic striking foundation. Where do you want to go now. You need takedowns, a ground game, a clinch game and something for kicks. You tell me, it all depends upon what's around you.

Post #19   12/17/07 8:56:39PM   

paddy260

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this sport is IMO the toughest sport today... i am 16 years old and i went on a field trip to a mma gym called team revoutlion it was the best thing in i have ever done i trained with this guy named tim thurston he said he was impressed with my flexability and said my style looked like bj penn just now have i found what i am meant to do

Post #20   1/25/08 11:07:51AM   

roger

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i've been training for almost a year now in bjj and kick boxing

Post #21   1/30/08 8:48:15PM   

Cdellorso

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The wrestling team for the young guy was right on- It will help you get in great shape and train you for the takedown and takedown defense. Best of all its free- other than EXTREME hard work and some blood- I wrestled the last 3 years in High school and then coached some youth wrestling..... anyway I digress- I too decided to try some MMA before I got to old..... I ran into an old wrestling opponent and he was doing well in some Ameture competitions.
I decided to give it a whirl after watching some Pathetic fights at a local event...
Here is what I advise from a regular guy who likes competition and likes to rough house.

1. Get in shape- Most Ameture (SP?) fights are 3-3 minute rounds- Running is not really enough to prepare you for 3-3minute rounds... Only thing you can do is run AND roll/spar for 5 minutes straight or more to get the cardio.

2. As a wrestler, I will say this easily...... wrestling is a nice start but why take a guy down only to have him submit you from the bottom- BJJ is by far the "Foundation" Of MMA

3. Can you take a punch?? If you cant - Get out... If you dont want or cant stand to be punched then dont bothert- Or just do shoot/wrestling or submission wrestling tourneys they are more popular than i would have imagined...

4. There are alot of clubs and upstarts and most will let you train even if you only want to learn and are not interested in actually fighting.

Lastly- find a local event - walk around and talk to some fighters/trainers and find someone you feel comfortable with. $60-$80 a month for "organized " trainning seems right - any local schools that have wrestling usually has "Youth clubs" and alot of these MMA guys that have kids are there.. you can probably find a group to roll with for free...


Post #22   3/6/08 1:02:50PM   

The-Don

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I have a question I have not seen answered anywhere else... I have been training a couple of fighters and I have one who I feel is ready to at least start competing amature level fights. my problem is I do not know how to locate them. How does one find these small shows.. espically when I am in Middle TN where most counties do not allow MMA competition.

Post #23   3/21/08 7:45:00PM   

Omega

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Posted by The-Don

I have a question I have not seen answered anywhere else... I have been training a couple of fighters and I have one who I feel is ready to at least start competing amature level fights. my problem is I do not know how to locate them. How does one find these small shows.. espically when I am in Middle TN where most counties do not allow MMA competition.



You've got to do some travelling. MO is the nearest neighboring state I know that has an ongoing amateur circuit.

Also go here:

http://mmarecruiter.com/

Post #24   3/21/08 8:18:29PM   

bigscoots

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hello,

my question is that i would like to get into mma fighting and training but i work in the automotive world and right now it is really slow.

So i am wondering if it is worthwhile to train at home with a dvd or video of some sort and which one would be a good one to start with????

thanx
scott

Post #25   3/24/08 4:26:44PM   

Svartorm

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Hey dude! Good question on instructional dvds.

There are TONS of these out there from current champs, former champs, C-class fighters, and dudes that have no credentials whatsoever. Anyone with a video camera can make an instructional DVD after all.

If you want to get advice on which ones are good, you'd be best served starting a thread about it, as you'll get a lot more opinions on that in its own thread, than in this thread.

As for what to use instructional videos for, here goes:

If you're just starting out learning to fight, and have no prior experience:
DO NOT TRAIN WITH INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS!!!!

The first several months of training are VERY important to someone whos looking to be a fighter, or even for someone just learning self-defense, as its when you work on your fundamentals above anything. Things like your base, footwork, striking form, etc are the foundation of your fighting ability and need to start as perfect as possible, as these things become much more difficult to iron out later in your training. As such, learning from videos right off the bat is a bad idea, as you need a trained human eye to tell you what you're doing right and wrong in these areas, so you avoid ironing in bad form or habits of movement.

Some people are naturally gifted in priciples of movement and balance, and can pick up an art from videos, but in my experience training and training with people who have done this, they're the exception to the rule. Especially considering what these videos typically cost, you're much better served going to an inexpensive martial arts class or boxing gym for your first few months of training.

What instructional videos ARE good for is when you already have your foundation down and want to improve your game in an area. Say you're having trouble with transitioning from bottom half guard, or want to learn a few obscure leglocks for instance. This is where instructional videos shine, as they're full of useful techniques that you can apply to an existing game, as you already have the foundations for grappling, striking, or what-have-you. Obviously you need to run these things with a partner to get the feel for them and see if they'll work for you, but they're a great way to improve your fight game.

Hope that helps.

_______________________________________
All brave men with hearts of war, ride the path of mighty Thor.

DREAM 1 - 2nd in Pts
Cage Rage 23 - 6th in Pts
Secondary League Season 3 - 12th in Pts
Secondary League Season 7 - 16th in Wagers
Primary League Season 7 - 26th in Wagers
Secondary League Season 6 - 30th in Pts
Secondary League Season 1 - 31st in Pts
Primary League Season 6 - 39th in Wagers
Secondary League Season 7 - 41st in Pts

Post #26   3/25/08 1:55:01AM   

fullerene

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Posted by Svartorm
If you're just starting out learning to fight, and have no prior experience:
DO NOT TRAIN WITH INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS!!!!

The first several months of training are VERY important to someone whos looking to be a fighter, or even for someone just learning self-defense, as its when you work on your fundamentals above anything. Things like your base, footwork, striking form, etc are the foundation of your fighting ability and need to start as perfect as possible, as these things become much more difficult to iron out later in your training. As such, learning from videos right off the bat is a bad idea, as you need a trained human eye to tell you what you're doing right and wrong in these areas, so you avoid ironing in bad form or habits of movement.
.




I had a couple of guys who had started training this way come into a grappling class I was teaching. It was the weirdest thing because, unlike most beginners, they were naming all these moves ("are we going to learn an Americana today"...) and when we did a bit of free rolling they actually tried to do offensive techniques. But for guys who could talk about grappling they had absolutely nothing else to offer beyond what anyone else had on their first day. They didn't pivot their hips correctly in the guard, keep weight on their opponents in side control, pinch their legs together doing armbars and had no balance wrestling on their feet. And, when you think about it, how could they be expected to pick up things like that? Those are things that really can't be described well in words when you teach...you pretty much have to grab a guy and adjust his body as well as apply the move correctly on him so he can feel the difference between it being done right and being done wrong.

Post #27   3/25/08 7:56:35AM   

The-Don

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OK I have another question.. I am relitively new to training fighters.. I have roughly 25 years of various martal arts experinece in several different styles... What do I need to look for ina fighter to see if he really is ready to compete?. Also any advice on just training others would be helpful.

Post #28   3/25/08 2:45:45PM   

Omega

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Posted by The-Don

OK I have another question.. I am relitively new to training fighters.. I have roughly 25 years of various martal arts experinece in several different styles... What do I need to look for ina fighter to see if he really is ready to compete?. Also any advice on just training others would be helpful.



As redundant as this may sound I look for guys who want to fight. Not ones that talk about fighting but actually are willing to get in there and get roughed up.

I look for guys who are coachable. I run my neophytes through the ringer to see if they'll keep coming back. When they do I start training them (Come on you saw the old kung-fu movies).

Advice on training? Bwahaaha, where to start can you specify?

Post #29   3/25/08 4:19:04PM   

fullerene

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Posted by The-Don

OK I have another question.. I am relitively new to training fighters.. I have roughly 25 years of various martal arts experinece in several different styles... What do I need to look for ina fighter to see if he really is ready to compete?. Also any advice on just training others would be helpful.


This might sound too simplistic or even condescending, but if you know this already, it might be useful to other people.

The basic progression for fighters is: conditioning/techinique training --> sparring --> amateur fights --> professional fights

And the basic rule would be to move a guy to the next level when he's shown that he has no problem at the current level (i.e. his conditioning and technique are solid he can spar competitively, he is getting the best or holding his own when sparring with the best students at your school, he can go amateur, etc.).

If the sparring to amateur fighting seems like a big jump you could take a couple of other steps to get guys a feel for competition, such as having them enter grappling tournaments or the local golden gloves or maybe have a school tournament where you pair up your own students but have spectators come in and watch and have judges, a timekeeper, etc. to provide an atmosphere closer to what they will see in a real fight.

Post #30   3/26/08 8:21:11AM   
 
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