It must have been the climax of The Ultimate Fighter TV show that did it: last week I recieved multiple emails asking me how to go about getting started in MMA. Now I am not an MMA expert, but I have participated in the training of several top-notch MMA fighters, so I have a few ideas on the topic.
To succeed in today’s MMA environment you need courage, determination, speed, strength, endurance and skills. Today’s topic is the last requirement: skills. Your MMA techniques will generally come from one of 3 fields:
- Boxing and/or kickboxing
- Wrestling (freestyle and/or Greco)
- Brazilian jiu-jitsu and/or submission grappling
For a more detailed discussion of these 3 areas you might want to read about the MMA Formula of striking, wrestling and ground fighting.
In an ideal world you would be able to train all 3 fields at the same school or training facility. Almost all MMA fighters that I know, however, started with a strong background in one of these areas and then pursued additional training to round out their skills.
If you are an aspiring MMA fighter and don’t have access to an MMA training facility don’t despair.You can probably find a boxing club, a wrestling team, or a jiu-jitsu school initially and start developing at least one of the 3 skill areas.
Start your search by looking in your local yellow pages and in my online grappling school database.
It is important to train these 3 areas separately and in combination.Below are some general examples of the types of sparring you might want to do:
- Boxing only
- Kickboxing only
- Takedown wrestling only
- Clinching only
- Submission grappling only
- Standup striking with takedowns, but no groundwork
- Wrestling and submission grappling, but no striking
- Grappling with controlled strikes on the ground
- Full Vale Tudo (striking, takedowns, grappling)
As you can see, properly preparing for MMA is a lot of work!
If you’re starting out from scratch it might seem a little overwhelming. Start with acquiring skills in one area and then branch out.Be intelligent and methodical in your training and you might get a chance compete on one of the future seasons of The Ultimate Fighter.