What once was considered a “blood sport” to be avoided, Mixed Martial Arts is now an admirable and respectable show of strength, stamina and skills in the arts of boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai (kickboxing), Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and more.
On the other side of the ropes, young adults are lining up to see if they have what it takes to fight it out in the octagon. If you’re one of those looking to show your stuff then there are some foundational steps you need to follow before tackling tough contenders. Here’s some advice to get you prepped and ready to enter the cage of cruelty.
Find Your Niche
Although you’ll end up learning fight techniques from several styles, you will want to concentrate on one specific niche. Trying to take on too much too quick will only stretch yourself too thin and result in defeat.
If you haven’t already started training at a martial arts skill then you may want to find someone or someplace where you can try out various techniques. It’s not always the style that you think you are good at that’s your strong niche.
However, if you are already established in a particular fighting style, don’t shy away from grappling with fighters of other styles. Sooner or later you’re going to face those styles in the cage so you need to learn to identify and even perform other techniques. It’s better to take a licking in the practice ring learning new moves than in the octagon during a fight.
Find a Good Gym
Another important aspect for a beginner MMA fighter is to find a good gym where you can train. When considering a gym, make sure it has several important qualities. The first is the attitude of the trainers and other attending fighters. You need an atmosphere where those around you with more skill are willing to share information and assist with techniques.
It’s also best if you can find a place that is well versed in several fighting styles. Remember, you want to focus on one style, but as you become ready to move into other disciplines, instructors assisting you will be better able to strengthen you weaknesses if they have been working with you along the way. If you can’t find such a gym, at least enroll in some mixed martial arts classes so you can learn various techniques.
Price is always a factor. However, don’t just choose the cheapest place. If you’re serious about contending in MMA then an investment in your gym is an investment in your career. If the gym you’re considering has all of the above qualities then it’s worth paying more to get more.
Work Hard to Get Into Shape
You definitely do not want to jump into a live fight without being in top shape. Competitions are about winning and knowing whoever you’re facing will be out for blood. If you’re not at peak performance to contend, you’ll suffer the consequences.
Your core is key because a great deal of power to both attack and defend come from your midsection. Explosive power is also a determining factor in many MMA matches as is endurance to see you through the grueling match.
Therefore, you should target these areas through strength training, plyometrics and a fast-paced, high-intensity cardio program. Along with intense training, you should also change to a nutritious, high protein and high carb diet and get plenty of rest, all of which will help to build mass, power and energy that will prepare you for MMA competitions.
Stay Focused and Positive
When it comes to sparring and actual cage fighting, you’re going to win some and lose some, especially when you’re just starting out. You need to keep a focused and positive mental attitude, learn from your mistakes, analyze your losses and go back in for the next session with that gleam of victory in your eye.
Also, glean every bit of knowledge you can from coaches, trainers, competitors and training partners. If you carry a positive and respectful attitude, most of your MMA “brothers” will be more than willing to help you achieve a higher level. MMA sports are continually evolving because of the diversity of styles used so nabbing the latest bit of information could give you an edge in your next bout as well as your career.
So, if your goal is to become an MMA fighter, focus on your personal niche, find a good place to train, work hard, stay positive and focused and “keep an ear to the ground”. If you do these things, you will have a good shot at fulfilling your dream in mixed martial arts.