Have you thought about getting into mixed martial arts but don’t know where to start? You are not alone. MMA is an exciting and adrenaline-packed sport, but it can also be intimidating for most beginners. It’s also one of the fastest growing sports in the world, meaning that more and more gyms have a high demand of opening up and beginners courses in MMA are much more available than before.
With a little preparation and the right mental attitude to achieve what you want to achieve by taking Mixed Martial Arts lessons (as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Kick-boxing, wrestling and other martial arts that have helped influence the sport and its fighters), this could be one of the the most rewarding and exciting things you can do. Whether you’re looking for a new recreation area or are thinking about a future in the sport, here are some tips to help you take your first step into the cage.
Do a reconnaissance
If you are a fan of MMA, you know how much work each fighter puts into each fight, from improving their physical fitness to researching their opponent’s fighting style and drawing up a game plan. This is also how you should prepare to start your first MMA training. Start by researching the martial arts clubs in your area and visiting the ones that look the most promising. Look at the timetable of classe they offer and dedicate yourself to attend those each week. If you are looking for a new hobby, a MMA club that appeals to your personality will probably be your best choice. You will have fun, the first classes tend to warm student up and gradually move them to the next stages. If you are serious about professional MMA coaching, look for a club that works with pro fighters and has a lot of high-level coaches.
Make sure you are ready.
Once you have made up your mind, make sure you are physically prepared to begin training. This doesn’t mean you need to be in combat shape before you even start fighting, but most beginner classes in MMA training are intended for people with little or no experience in MMA and other martial arts that have an impact on the sport. The warm-ups themselves will be more difficult than many other non-martial arts workouts. So having a foundation of strength and conditioning will definitely help you start your new training session in a much safer and more balanced way.
The right pace
Once you’ve started your workout, you may want more. It is an understandable need, you are excited, the adrenaline is rushing through your body. You have a lot to learn, and you want to learn it all right away! But in MMA there are no wrong impressions. It takes time to master mixed martial arts – and if you push too hard, too quickly, you can get injured. Keep practicing at a safe pace, avoid injuries and injuring other students by going too wrecklesly on the mats
Start with a serious workout once or twice a week, combined with cross-sectional training such as jogging or strength training on your days off. And remember to take one day off per week for complete rest. You won’t have adequate progression if your body never gets a chance to recover and repair. As you and your fitness improve, you can change your schedule based on your goals and time concerns.
Don’t be afraid of sparring.
Finding your place in your first MMA training sessions can be difficult at first. As we mentioned above, it’s better not to start too hard, such as jumping into intense full-body contact sparring in the first week and possibly kicking your ass, which can be a risk to both your safety and your self-esteem. Waiting too long to participate in any sparring game can also be detrimental to your progress, as learning to apply new techniques in the heat of battle is a fundamental part of your MMA education. So while you shouldn’t head straight into the cage when you start your lessons, you can almost immediately start participating in grappling and “technical sparring” (slow pace, no hard punches) sparring.
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 for training.
Do not give up.
MMA is fun and rewarding, but it’s also DIFFICULT. Preparing to fight for up to 25 minutes in a cage (which is the amount of time in the championship 5-round long-range fight, 5 minutes per each round) is physically exhausting. There are days when brutal warm-ups alone will make you want to quit. And the mental demands may be even higher. Mastering the techniques from the many martial arts that affect MMA and learning to adapt them to sparring and MMA competitions takes a lot of mental work – and putting them all together against another person will also be a challenge for your psyche.
There will be times where you will be angry at the sport, you will lose, get submitted by other student. But it’s all part of the process. Make those mistakes and learn from them. Polish over and over the solutions to those mistakes. And as any dedicated martial artist knows, you learn more by failing than by winning. So when you have a bad day, remember: It gets better, too.