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Tips for Mixed Martial Arts Training

Updated on August 25, 2011

Mixed martial arts (also known as MMA) is a combat sport in which two combatants square off in a closed octagon. Any fight style is permitted, from grappling to street fighting to specific martial arts. Despite (or perhaps because of) the violence of the sport, MMA has seen a huge increase of popularity as of late, as more people pay for the pay-per-views to watch headline bouts. MMA has come to challenge boxing and professional wrestling in the battle for the attention of the American consumer. Combining the pageantry of professional wrestling with the brutality of boxing, with its own ferocious spirit, MMA has not been without controversy. Some believe it is too violent and should be restricted. The brutality of the sport has not stopped fans from stepping into the octagon themselves, either to try their hand at fighting or just to get a good workout. To this end, many people are interested in how to get started with Mixed Martial Arts training. This article gives some tips on how to do so.

MMA Physical Fitness

One of the most important parts of training for this sport is developing a base level of fitness. Going for five minutes at a time, full power, against an opponent doing the same can be very draining. A fighter, regardless of style, needs to have well-developed strength, flexibility, and power, as well as solid aerobic and anaerobic conditioning. Don’t forget to add in the proper conditioning necessary to build and maintain the performance gains you’re working so hard to gain.

The first step is to develop a detailed plan of action. You need to know where you are going, what you need to do to get there, and the stepping stones along the way that will mark your progress. Because you will be spending so much time on technique, you cannot afford to waste any time in the gym doing wasted exercises. For example, focus on doing at most two days a week of strength training, such as on Monday and Thursday, to maximize your strength gains with as little time as possible. Similarly, try to streamline your other workouts – flexibility, power, aerobics and anaerobics – to get the most bang for your buck.

One way of doing this is to focus on circuit training. This is when you move from exercise to exercise with little or no rest in between. This will give you both a strength and aerobic/anaerobic workout at the same time, further increasing your efficiency. It will also simulate a fight, especially if you work in five minute blocks.

Overall, the most important thing to do to condition yourself for fights is simply to do a lot of fights. You will get the best workouts by actually participating in the events you are training for. This is why finding sparring partners is so crucial to your development as an MMA fighter.

Mixed Martial Arts Technique

Developing proper and devastating technique will be another crucial aspect of your mixed martial arts training. To work on your actual fighting technique, you first need to do a bit of evaluation. What are your strengths? Are you better at grappling? Do you prefer to brawl, or use your martial arts abilities to surgically strike from a distance? Whatever your style or strength, you will still need to know the fundamentals of each other discipline. If you were a simple brawler who knew nothing about grappling, say, you would have a glaring weakness that an opponent would exploit.

There are many mixed martial arts videos, books, and websites out there that can help you with specific martial arts or fighting styles. At the very least, you should study and train in boxing, wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, grappling, kickboxing, and close quarters combat. You will need to learn the basic strikes, takedowns, grappling techniques, ground fighting, submissions, and defensive moves. The styles and methods that you can learn are endless, and cannot be summarized here. One way to figure out where to take your skills is to watch your favorite fighters perform and analyze their style. What do you like about it? Does it play well into your strengths? What techniques will you need to focus on? Answering these questions will help you develop your own personal style.

Obviously you will specialize in one of the other technique, and perhaps focus more generally on being a striker (knees, kicks, and punches from a distance) or a grappler (holds, takedowns, throws, etc. from close range) but it is not possible in this training environment to be ignorant about the full scope of what your opponent can bring to the octagon. To be successful, especially against solid competition, you need to be a well-rounded fighter.

Mixed Martial Arts Equipment

In order to train effectively, you will need a certain amount of mixed martial arts gear. You will need the gloves and the shorts, as well as training equipment like punching bags, simulated octagons or real octagons (if possible), and, most importantly, a training partner or coach. It is possible to do mixed martial arts training on your own, but the challenge would be that much more difficult. Many MMA gyms are popping up, perhaps one close to you, and joining this gym will probably be the most important thing you do for your training. If there is no MMA gym or training center near you, consider starting a group yourself and renting out time at another fitness facility that will take you.

MMA training is a great choice for people of all ages and fitness levels - you don't necessarily need to fight to see the benefits in fitness and confidence. At the very least, you will gain some self defense moves that will help you in a conflict.


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    • sandeep15r profile image

      Sandeep Rathore 

      3 years ago from New Delhi

      Thanks, It is such an informative hub.

    • Raven Hubbard profile image

      Raven Hubbard 

      6 years ago from USA

      I find myself a little bias and still like my Krav Maga better than any other form of MMA but I did find this article useful.

    • RudeFoodDude profile image


      7 years ago from Maryland

      I love MMA, I practice ju-jitzu and muay-thai regularly and can truly appreciate the light you shine upon the sport as well as what fighters go through physically and mentally.

    • captainchris profile image


      7 years ago

      Mixed martial arts really takes a lot of discipline in following a routine for training. Though, I agree that it can be a powerful tool in self defense. Thanks for sharing this. It's really helpful specially for people who are planning to take on this type of martial arts.


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