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How to Start MMA Training?

Hey, I was wondering how some of you MMA guys got your start. I really would like to learn the sport. I’m not doing it because I’m some UFC wannabe, I probably wouldn’t even compete. I would just like to learn and add a new aspect to my usual weight training. I have an amateur wrestling background, the problem is because of my location, the only place I know where to go is a local boxing club. Any suggestions are appreciated.

If possible, you really want to go find a MMA gym. If you can’t, go to your boxing gym and take BJJ or another submission art and use the two in combination.

In my opinion, you shouldn’t worry about taking an “MMA” class, or taking the standard MMA set (boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, BJJ). I’m not telling you to avoid these, because they’re all effective, combat-proven arts.

I’m just saying that some people I’ve talked to get this tunnel-vision where they think that those are all there is. I’d do some research on various arts, as there are a lot of effective ones that aren’t commonly used in MMA that you might find you like as well or better than the usually recommended arts.

[quote]Ryan555 wrote:
In my opinion, you shouldn’t worry about taking an “MMA” class, or taking the standard MMA set (boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, BJJ). I’m not telling you to avoid these, because they’re all effective, combat-proven arts.

I’m just saying that some people I’ve talked to get this tunnel-vision where they think that those are all there is. I’d do some research on various arts, as there are a lot of effective ones that aren’t commonly used in MMA that you might find you like as well or better than the usually recommended arts.[/quote]

There are many places in life where “one is as good as another” or “your way is no better than my way, my way is no better than yours.”

Sadly, in fighting, this isn’t true at all.

In fighting, there REALLY IS a better way. And this should be no surprise, as physics is the same no matter how you choose to move your body through it.

Yes, if he wants to be good at MMA and wants an art is the viable for self defense he SHOULD look to boxing, brazilian jits, muay thai and greco roman wrestling.

any form of grappling is going to help you on your way, even if its just high school wrestling. but as the guy above said, try to find an MMA gym. MMA boxing isn’t exactly the same as ring boxing - it is adjusted somewhat to deal with a grappler, etc.

Honest, to god, avoid aikido and tae kwon do and karate and all that other shit. Don’t do any kata - ever. Avoid dead patterns.

You can learn a lot reading here:

If you have no MMA schools in your area, look for a judo school. Find the school that is most competitive. Most everyone, bare minimum, has a judo school nearby. Judo is great.

the above advice is pretty good. the two main striking styles and the main grappling styles (bjj, wrestling, and judo).

but it also depends on what you think of the gym and where you’re interests lay. somethings to consider are if you’re not into gi-based grappling, or if the school has a bad atmosphere. judo for the most part should be good no matter where you go, but there can be bad schools too. same with bjj, the teaching style and sparring attitude can really vary by school.

[quote]wires wrote:

Honest, to god, avoid aikido and tae kwon do and karate and all that other shit. Don’t do any kata - ever. Avoid dead patterns.
[/quote]

I was just about to join a tae kwon do class when I read your post. Why did you say that and what is a “dead pattern” in the context of martial arts?

Dead Pattern=without resistance. The idea being that yes, anyone can whack at a partner who isn’t blocking but what happens when the opponent is moving, blocking and actually hitting back?

People don’t like kata and forms because they don’t include feedback and it’s basically just repetitive movement.

Try just the boxing gym. IMO the hands are the most important weapons a fighter has, and nothing trains using them like good old western boxing. Learning how to throw a punch and learning how to take a punch are some of the most fundamental skills of fighting.

Hell, you might even wind up liking boxing more than MMA.

Honestly, if you’re just beginning, just getting out there and doing something is more important than anything else. A lot of people dive in full-go thinking they will become Fedor overnight and burn themselves out. If you like it you have a full lifetime to train, so don’t worry about focusing on building every facet of the sport now. Focusing on one area or two is fine.

I would avoid an “mma school.” If you look at the best mma fighters they all have one art as their base and they have gotten very good at it. Try boxing and some form of grappling (BJJ, wrestling, Judo).

See what you prefer as far as striking v grappling and which one you are more natural doing. Focus on that one but still continue with the other. I believe it’s important to get as good as you can in at least one of the above mentioned arts. You know the old jack of all trades saying.

Something else to consider is your body type and size. With grappling you can overcome physical advantages much easier than with striking. I always find it negligent when I see someone teach women self-defense based upon striking.

Just wanted to say thanks guys for all your feedback, I appreciate it.

[quote]wires wrote:There are many places in life where “one is as good as another” or “your way is no better than my way, my way is no better than yours.”

Sadly, in fighting, this isn’t true at all.

In fighting, there REALLY IS a better way. And this should be no surprise, as physics is the same no matter how you choose to move your body through it.

Yes, if he wants to be good at MMA and wants an art is the viable for self defense he SHOULD look to boxing, brazilian jits, muay thai and greco roman wrestling.

any form of grappling is going to help you on your way, even if its just high school wrestling. but as the guy above said, try to find an MMA gym. MMA boxing isn’t exactly the same as ring boxing - it is adjusted somewhat to deal with a grappler, etc.

Honest, to god, avoid aikido and tae kwon do and karate and all that other shit. Don’t do any kata - ever. Avoid dead patterns.

You can learn a lot reading here:

If you have no MMA schools in your area, look for a judo school. Find the school that is most competitive. Most everyone, bare minimum, has a judo school nearby. Judo is great.

[/quote]

While I somewhat agree with you, if you mean literally, there is ONE best way to fight, then you’re completely wrong. Different people think differently, move differently, have different habits, different body types, etc. If you think all these differences are accounted for with three or four arts then you’re really oversimplifying things.

You sound like the stereotypical “new generation” of MMA fan, who is unaware that there were martial arts before the UFC. Since you recommend that people avoid karate, I take it you’re not familiar with Kyokushin karate? Look it up on YouTube. How about Jeet Kune Do? While not obscure, it’s not a prevalent art amongst MMA fighters. But is it effective? Of course it is. It was arguably the genesis of MMA.

Are you under the strange impression that no one knew how to fight before boxing and BJJ came along? You’re definitely under the equally strange impression that kata are intended for combat. Do you understand that they are merely an art’s “dictionary” of technniques? Have you never slowed a punch or a kick way way down and gone through it step by step to make sure that all your biomechanics were correct (if not you should [especially since, according to you, there is ONE correct way to do it])? It’s the same thing.

I agree that if he has no martial arts training or knowledge whatsoever, then yes, boxing, the various forms of kickboxing, judo, jiujitsu, and wrestling would probably be the most logical place to start, as they are common and effective. But the MOST effective? Only he can answer that.

Bla bla bla traditional bla bla bla body type bla bla bla to each his own bla bla bla.

My grandmother would like to have you over to her place for tea and cookies so she can bask in your lovely estrogen level.

P.S: boxing and wrestling are THE OLDEST martial arts. They are THE TRADITIONAL martial arts.

He said he wants to learn the sport of MMA. MMA is a combination of:

Stand-up: Boxing, Muy Thai
Clinch: Wrestling, Greco Roman, Judo
Ground: BJJ, Submission Grappling, Sambo

Eventually, you have to start combining these arts. MMA sparring gloves are very beneficial because you can work on punching from the clinch or ground and pound techniques without obliterating your opponent.

The best way to learn all of this is to join an MMA gym. They know how to tie it all together. Try to find one in your area. If there aren’t any, start with any of the aforementioned arts.

I went to a bjj school and found it was very good for mma. If the school is big, you will have no-gi guys, gi guys, mma guys and some self defense guys.
So you can kind of direct your own learning by gravitating to the mma guys.

As stated above, grappling and boxing are the real traditional martial arts.
What many people now call traditional martial arts, karate, taekwondo and kung fu are in fact often times practiced in a ‘dead’ way. Meaning the ‘attacker’ does things real people don’t do at unrealistic speeds. Also, it is not mma, and if mma is what you want I think you’ll not like karate type stuff.

Then there is a huge debate about mma vs. ‘foul’ tactic, reality based self defense systems. Some think biting, eye gouging and groin grabbing type of things are superior to mma for self defense. I don’t agree with that but I don’t think it matters. It sounds like you just want to do mma so I’d go to a bjj or mma school that’s reputable.

If you go to a boxing or wrestling place they often times don’t have groups interested in mma or even care about it. Good mma and bjj schools like to incorporate boxing/wrestling/thai and whatever works making them great for mma training.

MMA is mostly boxing, kickboxing and submission grappling. Go to some events in your area and see who trains the winning fighters.

Joe Lewis, who invented kickboxing has students all over the U.S. who are skilled instructors. Check out JoeLewisfightingsystems.com

[quote]MrCritical wrote:
Joe Lewis, who invented kickboxing [/quote]

What?

Every week or so we get a post saying I want to start learning a martial art and everyone comes back with the same set reply where some art gets talked up or another gets trashed.

I have something different to say that applies to all you guys who ask for getting started suggestions. The thing you want to do is look at a map of your area and decide how far you are willing to travel and maybe draw a circle. Now you want to figure out what schools are actually in that radius around your house. Then take the time to go visit them and look at the classes. Some might even let you take a few lessons for free or a low cost.

To me this makes more sense than just throwing out my favorite styles that may not be available in his area. He is in North Dakota, he might be in a sparsely populated area with very few choices.

Beware of the guys you take advice from because there are some real boneheads on this board, whose only martial arts knowledge is swilling beer while watching TUF on spike.

To sit here and denegrate potential teachers in his area because they are one style while automatically assuming another one is going to be awesome because they teach the buzzword of the year is retarded.

I like watching UFC as much as the next guy. MMA certainly has some good things going for it. However I also get the impression that it sometimes is a martial art for guys who don’t have the self discipline or humility to study a true budo and ended up bouncing from school to school never learning much till they just came up with their own mish mash and opened MMA school.

One thing to realize about MMA is this. Some guys are just natural born crushers like Tank Abbot. You can go a long way on just being tough.

So go look at a lot of schools and don’t rule any out before you actually meet the teacher and see his class. I don’t think much of Tae Kwon Do, but you never know, your local TKD teacher might be a closet MMA freakazoid who doesn’t let too many people know because he’s afraid it will scare off the customers. You could drive past him and end up wasting years with some choad just because he had the right buzzword hanging on his sign.

So go take a look at who is in your area and tell us what you think. You might even end up training in more than one school at the same time.

One other thing don’t look down on a school that uses kata. They do have a use as a means of transmitting knowledge.

Kata can be a demanding self discipline. Some just don’t have the self discipline to stick with them so the denegrate them.

The whole notion that kata isn’t like a “real fight” because you aren’t hitting anything is stupid. In a real fight you aren’t going to connect with everything you throw. If you can’t control your technique after a miss you could be thrown off balance or leave your self open.

Kata also gives you the ability to learn other systems quicker.

Joe Lewis is credited in the MMA world as having invented kickboxing. Before that there was basically only point fighting such as Chuck Norris excelled in.

Don’t confuse Joe Lewis (Grand Master) with Joe Louis the boxer.

[quote]MrCritical wrote:
Joe Lewis is credited in the MMA world as having invented kickboxing. Before that there was basically only point fighting such as Chuck Norris excelled in.

Don’t confuse Joe Lewis (Grand Master) with Joe Louis the boxer. [/quote]

I guess he might have popularized the term “kickboxing” but Muay Thai/Thai boxing had been around for centuries prior.

There was also Savate and I’m sure others I’m not aware of.

Back on the topic though;

Obviously if you live somewhere rural, there might not be a true MMA school nearby, but western boxing training (coupled with your wrestling exp.) is not a bad place to start.

When I was really broke and couldnt afford an MMA school (even though I lived in the mecca of MMA), I just trained where I could.

A dirt cheap Mexican boxing club
A non-profit Judo club
A high school wrestling team

If you’re motivated and look hard enough, you’ll find a way to get the training you desire.

sifu…that was a good post.

Mrcritical…yeah…I was thinking joe loius the boxer…