Have you been thinking about taking up mixed martial arts, but you’re not sure where to start? You’re not alone. MMA is a thrilling sport, but it can also be intimidating if you’re not already part of that universe. It’s also the fastest-growing sport in the world, which means that it’s not always easy to determine what gyms will offer you the best training with the most experienced coaches and which ones are just in it to cash in on the latest trend.

That doesn’t mean that MMA isn’t worth trying, though. With a little bit of preparation and a clear head for what you want, taking lessons in mixed martial arts (as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, wrestling, and other combat arts that have helped to influence the sport and its fighters) can be one of the most rewarding and most exciting things that you can do. Whether you’re looking for a new recreational outlet of you’re considering a future in the sport, here are some tips that will help you take that first step into the cage.
MMA training tips

1. Do your research.

If you’re a fan of MMA, then you know how much work each fighter puts into each bout, from improving their physical fitness to researching their opponent’s combat style and drawing up a game plan. That’s also how you should prepare for starting MMA training. Start by researching the gyms in your area, and visiting the ones that look most promising to you (most reputable gyms will offer a free or low-cost trial period) . Then select the place that best meets your goals and needs. If you are looking for a new hobby, the gym that appeals to your personality will likely be the best bet. You’re going to have fun, so you should be able to enjoy yourself. If you’re seriously looking into pursuing MMA competitively, then look for a gym that works with professional fighters and has a number of high-level coaches on staff.


2. Make sure you’re ready.

Once that’s done, you should also make sure that you’re physically prepared to start training. This doesn’t mean that you have to be in fighting shape before you even start fighting, but most beginners classes at MMA gyms are for people with little to no experience in MMA and the various martial arts that influence MMA, not for people with a beginner’s level of physical fitness. The warmups alone are going to be harder than many non-martial arts workouts. So having a base in strength and conditioning is definitely going to help you jump into your new training in a much safer and more sustainable way.

MMA training tips

3. Pace yourself

Once you have started training, you might find yourself wanting to go all in right way. It’s an understandable urge. You’re excited. You have so much to learn. And you want to learn it all at once! But there are no overnight sensations in MMA. Mastering mixed martial arts takes time – and it’s going to take you even longer if you push yourself too hard, too fast and wind up sick or injured.

Start by training seriously once or twice a week, mixed with cross-training like running, yoga, or bodyweight strength training on your off days. And make sure to take one day off a week for complete rest. You can’t improve if your body never has a chance to recover and repair. As you and your fitness improve, you can revise your schedule based on your goals and your time concerns.


4. Don’t be afraid to spar.

Finding the sweet spot in your early MMA training can be a bit like Goldilocks trying to find the right porridge. As we mentioned above, you don’t want to start too hard. That goes for what you do in class, too. Jumping into intense, full-body contact sparring in your first week and likely getting your butt kicked, for example, is risky for both your safety and your self-esteem. But waiting too long to participate in any sparring can also be detrimental to your game, too,  because learning how to apply your new techniques in the heat of battle is a fundamental part of your MMA education. So while you shouldn’t head straight to the cage when you start your lessons, you can begin to participate in grappling-based sparring and “technical sparring” (performed at a slow pace with no power behind your strikes) almost immediately.

If you’re not sure what’s right for you, talk to your coaches. Any reputable MMA or martial arts instructor will know where and when to start pushing you in your training.


5. Don’t give up.

As fun and rewarding as MMA can be, it’s also HARD. Preparing to fight for as much as 25 minutes in the cage (which is the amount of time in a championship 5-round fight that goes the distance) is physically taxing. There are days where the brutal warmups alone are going to make you want to quit. And the mental demands might be even higher. Mastering the techniques from the many martial arts that influence MMA and learning to adapt them to mixed martial arts sparring and competition takes a lot of brain power – and putting them all together against another person is also going to challenge your psyche.

You’re going to get frustrated in class and in sparring. You’re going to lose. But that’s all part of the process. And, as any dedicated martial artist knows, you learn more from losing than you do from winning. So when you’re down and out, remember: you’re also getting better.

Basics of MMA Training for Beginners

Mixed martial arts has gained amazing popularity in the last decade. Many people want to learn about the basics of MMA training because of it. It would surprise you to know that the roots of MMA go back thousands of years. The ancient Chinese, the Greeks and other civilizations practiced MMA in sporting arenas and battlefields.

But in modern times, it was until Bruce Lee who introduced the world to Jeet Kune Do, a mix of boxing and Kung Fu, or Wing Chun namely. ‘A form without a form’; which would result in the ever evolving art of Mixed Martial Arts. Since then many people have started taking part in the sport.

The recent popularity of UFC and superstars like Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, and many others have made MMA a household name, drawing in a fan following of noncombatants and enthusiasts alike.

These great fighters have inspired people to take up the sport and learn the skills, techniques, and endurance that is required for MMA.

But many of these people don’t know where to begin. There is a vast amount of information out there that can overwhelm you. You will end up giving up on the sport or have a greater risk of injuries.

What you need is a filtered down version of the necessary information that doesn’t confuse you and puts you on the right path towards becoming an MMA warrior. We will follow this article with a series of posts about MMA training gear, exercises at home, strength training, diet tips and everything else that you would want to know, so stick with us. For now, we are here to give you the basics.

Three Basics for MMA Training

Every sport in the world requires practice and training, but before you can get to that part you must learn the basics of that sport.

MMA is the same. If you are just looking to get into MMA for fitness, then these basics will be beneficial to you. But if you want to become a competitive MMA fighter then you must live by these basics.

1. Building Endurance for martial arts
You will need good or elite level endurance, depending on your interest in the sport, for MMA. Surviving in the octagon for only 5 minutes can suck out everything you have in you. You need to tap into your stamina reserves to endure the physicality and the punishment. Thankfully you can train for MMA endurance at home as well.

First, you have to build that reserve.

People who are at average fitness level should start with a 2-mile run every other day.
Cardio exercises on the rest of the days are ideal. HIIT can be a good option here.
After a couple of weeks, you can add sprint drills to the endurance workout.
Sprint at full speed for 5 seconds. Rest for 2 minutes and repeat for 6-10 rounds.
People who aren’t as active should start slower, preferably jogging 30 minutes every other day.
Alternate between jogging and walking to keep your heart rate at an optimum level.
This is the earliest step that you need to take. Without it, you will not make it through your first day of training in an MMA gym. The next logical step will be replacing the cardio exercise day with strength training. We will have more on that in a later post.

2. Learn Grappling for MMA
A majority of MMA fights end when one fighter takes advantage of the other while the former is on the ground. You can’t be a good MMA fighter until you have a strong grappling game.

The basics of MMA grappling have to do with positional grappling. You need to get into a dominant position for a submission hold or to deliver hits to stop the match.

Before you can learn grappling, you have to learn the art of the takedown, which comes from Judo and BJJ (Brazilian Ju Jitsu).

When you join a gym you will have to learn wrestling, Judo, and BJJ techniques through drills. You can also get some grappling gloves and bag to practice some moves at home.

The trainers will ease you in so you don’t have to worry about how you have to learn two different kinds of fighting styles.

3. Basic Strikes for MMA
The most fun part of the MMA, the hitting.

You will learn how to throw punches, kicks, elbows, and knees throughout your training.

You have to develop speed in the hits, as well as force; while flexibility in the limbs will be key for high kicks. You will find tips and tricks for regarding these two aspects in our future blogs.

MMA borrows from Boxing, Ju Jitsu, Tae Kwondo, Karate and Muay Thai when it comes to critical striking. You will have to spend a lot of time with a punching bag developing combinations. The trainers will start you off with some basic hitting techniques and teach you combos as your training progresses. Some basic strikes are;

Elbow Strikes
Round Kicks
Leg Kicks
You also have to learn how to defend against all these strikes and how to deliver counter strikes.

Never enter the gym with the aspirations of becoming the greatest fighter of all time in a month.

There are several different types of martial arts that you have to learn and it will be a slow process so you have to remain patient.

More Mental than Physical
You can train your body all you want and still fail as an MMA fighter. Why? Because you haven’t prepared your mind.

It is very difficult to prepare your mind for the environment of an octagon. This ought to be the very first rule – DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED.

To put it simply, you need to bring commitment in the beginning.
You will develop mental toughness and resolve during the training.
Before you enter the ring, you will have focus and fortitude.
You have to be prepared to get hit and grappled to the ground. This is where your training comes into play and the quality of your trainers’ matters.

This why you have to be careful in selecting a gym that can prepare you for what you will be facing.