So, you want to be an MMA Fighter?
There are some things you need to know first.
MMA is the modern child of an ancient Greek martial competition art known as Pankration. It rose to popularity in the first Olympics, famously with the Spartans winning. Pankration did not survive as an Olympic sport into the modern age. Instead, the idea of mixed martial arts went dormant for a long time.
In the early nineties, the idea of a martial arts competition which pitted all styles against each other was born. This became the UFC.
Through its first years, the competition was centred around individual arts, such as Karate or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Eventually, the success of the UFC began to inspire a change in the martial arts community. No longer were fighters training individual styles, but instead over the years a completely different, Mixed Martial Arts was born.
Read on to discover how to get into MMA.
What Is MMA?
MMA is short for Mixed Martial Arts.
It is a blend of several different martial arts that are centred around grappling and striking. For striking, the most popular martial arts are Boxing, Muay Thai, and Kickboxing. For grappling, the most popular option is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Russian Sambo, and Judo.
When most people think of MMA they continue to think of the flagship promotion for it, the UFC.
Since 1993, the UFC has been synonymous with Mixed Martial Arts. It features an octagonal cage that has become so popular that even amateur events feature cages.
Sometimes called Cage Fighting, MMA has evolved to a point that now it is a whole new form of martial art.
Beginning Training for MMA
The very first thing you will want to do is find an MMA gym.
This is a gym that does not focus on one art, but where you can receive instruction in all aspects of MMA. Do your research!
Gyms already offering MMA training are the best to look at. The more MMA fighters at a gym, the more likely the gym is to provide you with what you need. Amateur boxing gyms are also a great option.
Do not expect that your MMA experience will be all about fighting.
You can expect to train several hours at a time, several days a week. You will have to hone yourself physically and mentally to master the skills required. Forget about looking like a bodybuilder, you are going to be pushing yourself for functional muscle and strength.
In the UK, there are a growing number of gyms that offer what you are looking for.
Find a place that’s close, get to know coaches and others who are training, and prepare yourself for a long journey. It won’t be what you’re expecting, unless you already have experience.
Don’t Train Only at the Gym
If you intend to be competitive, or even just want to do well in the gym, its not all about punching pads. You are going to have to really buckle down and build yourself up.
Cardio is incredibly important. Running long distances, sprinting, swimming and jump rope are all traditional ways to build cardio. Don’t wait for a coach to tell you that you need better cardio, because trust us, they will eventually.
Being a beginner in MMA is not being a beginner in physical fitness.
You will need to be well-conditioned to start your classes. Many gyms offer conditioning classes and have instructors that can assist you in forming a plan to better your own personal fitness.
Don’t just dive headlong into something and hurt yourself. You must first build yourself up before you start the actual training.
Don’t Be Afraid of Sparring
While you have to work outside the gym, you are going to be doing a lot inside the gym.
Find a sparring partner. Sparring is one of the most common and best ways to improve and test your skills. With your teammates and under the watchful eye of your coaches, you will be able to test out your techniques and help your teammates test themselves.
If you have the time and inclination, if you want to really sink yourself into the culture, look for boxing sparring partner jobs. MMA isn’t just a passion, it’s a way of life.
This is critical to achieving success in MMA. So don’t shy away from sparring, it is the closest thing to a fight you can practice with.
The Mental Side of Getting into MMA
If you’re still asking yourself how to get into MMA, the answer is hard work and preparation.
You must accept you will have aches and pains all over. The key difference between those who make it and those who do not is that you must not quit. Expect long, grueling hours in the gym to learn and master each new skill you are shown.
Due to the fact that there are so many areas in which you must study, there is no “natural” at MMA.
Do not get discouraged by those who have been doing it longer. Their bodies have grown accustomed to the expectations of hard training. They have pushed themselves past their breaking point and found new strength.
As long as you don’t give up, you will too eventually.
Why Do All of This?
The reason why mixed martial arts is so popular is hard to pin down.
Competitively, it is the purest expression of human combat prowess, and many find it enjoyable to watch. As an athletic endeavour, it is the most comprehensive challenge you can offer yourself, pushing you in all areas. Looking at it as a health tool, you will easily be in the best shape of your life.
Remember, it’s not about just being tough, strong, or able to defend yourself. Martial Arts is a journey that you will take with you wherever you go, and you will build your entire life around what you learn. That is the true power of beginning to train Mixed Martial Arts.
Now that you know how to get into MMA, contact us at Spartner today for help finding a gym, sparring mates, coaches, and more.