A growing number of people worldwide want to learn MMA because of its popularity and effectiveness. This fighting style combines multiple martial arts, such as boxing, judo, wrestling, and BJJ, into one. Hence the name mixed martial arts. Due to its effectiveness, it is an excellent self-defense system suited for real-life confrontations, and learning MMA is a great way to get in shape and learn how to fight. In addition, many individuals believe that learning mixed martial arts is a great way to increase their confidence and improve their mental health. If you believe mixed martial arts training can benefit you, you’ve come to the right place. This article aims to provide you with crucial insights that beginners need to know when learning MMA and deliver valuable information that can help you succeed.
What Is MMA?
MMA is a combat sport that combines multiple martial arts into one effective and efficient fighting style with the elements of grappling, striking and wrestling. Mixed martial arts started to develop in the 90s when no-holds-barred tournaments were organized to determine the best martial art. During these tournaments, multiple fighting styles were pitted against each other in an event known as The Ultimate Fighting Championship (today known as the UFC). In the beginning, combat sports such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling, judo, kickboxing, and boxing were the most effective. Throughout time, these martial arts have merged into what is known today as mixed martial arts.
In an MMA fight, you can strike your opponent with fists, knees, elbows, and legs. Additionally, you can use takedowns to put your opponent down on the ground and strike from there or make him submit with a joint lock or choke. Due to the vast number of techniques, mixed martial arts can be quite complex. Therefore, many believe that before starting MMA, you should have a strong background in one of the previously mentioned martial arts, such as BJJ, boxing, judo, sambo, or muay thai. Nonetheless, this is not always the case, and many excellent MMA fighters don’t have a background. MMA for beginners programs are available in many gyms worldwide for people without combat experience, making it possible for anyone to learn mixed martial arts.
Why Should You Learn MMA?
Investing time and money into MMA can have many benefits for you, as it is a rewarding activity. The main reasons you might enroll in MMA are to learn self-defense and improve your physical condition. Additionally, training in a demanding sport like this will have many benefits for your mental health. MMA will build discipline and fortitude into your character, and you will learn how to deal with problems and face them head-on.
A Proven Method of Self-Defense
The initial reason why most people start training in martial arts is to learn self-defense. This concept is crucial to martial arts, and most revolve around it. The importance of self-defense skills cannot be overstated since you never know when you might need them, and training in mixed martial arts is a great way to learn these skills. The reason for this is that MMA incorporates all important aspects of fighting. Mixed martial arts training involves punching, kicking, wrestling, and submissions which can all happen in a real fighting scenario. Also, regular training will condition you for fighting, so if you ever find yourself in a self-defense situation, you will not panic and will not gas out quickly.
It’s a Fun and Exciting Way to Get Fit
When you first enter an MMA gym or watch a live MMA event, you will see that most competitors and practitioners are in great shape. This is because participating in a high-intensity activity like mixed martial arts burns many calories and reduces your body fat. On top of that, practicing different activities such as striking, grappling, and wrestling is incredibly fun. In the beginning, you will learn new things every training session and improve rapidly. Once you learn the fundamentals of MMA, you can start sparring with your teammates and add a new element to your training. There is always something new to learn in MMA, which keeps people engaged.
It Will Improve Your Strength and Endurance
A great benefit of training mixed martial arts, especially grappling and wrestling, is that it will drastically improve your strength and endurance. This is because these aspects of fighting require you to hold your opponent and move him around to get to a takedown or submission. It’s true that you can get strong by lifting weights at the gym, but wrestling and grappling build functional strength on a deeper level. You will constantly face an opponent that is moving and trying to get away from you, and you will have to control him and get to a dominant position. You will also need great endurance, which will gradually build as time goes on. You will lose energy very fast at first, but you will adapt after a couple of months.
You Will Gain Confidence and Improve Your Mental Health
Training in MMA is a great way to improve mental health and confidence. As you develop the skills to defend yourself and the fortitude to endure long and hard workouts, you will eventually become more confident. This is because you must learn how to face your fears head-on, which will develop your character over time. Moreover, when you train, you can forget about your problems and focus on improving yourself. Mixed martial arts training will also build your discipline and improve your problem-solving, positively affecting your mental health.
Elements of MMA
We previously mentioned that MMA comprises three elements: striking, wrestling, and grappling. A good MMA fighter must be versed in all of these. Each of these elements is a martial art on its own, and MMA is the combination of the most effective aspects of each. We will now look at each of these and examine them further.
Striking is legal in MMA, meaning you can hit your opponent with fists, legs, elbows, and knees. Nonetheless, some strikes are illegal, such as kicking a grounded opponent, hits to the groin, or punching the back of the head. The striking part of MMA is quite different than in other combat sports, and there are a few reasons for this. The first reason is the apparent threat of a takedown, which means that MMA fighters must adjust their striking stance. In addition, MMA uses small 4oz gloves, making punches more dangerous. Thus, it is essential to adapt striking to the rules of MMA in order to succeed. The best martial arts used to develop striking for MMA are boxing, kickboxing, and muay thai.
Undoubtedly the most important part of MMA is wrestling. Wrestling allows MMA fighters to dictate whether the fight will stay on feet or go to the ground. This ability is vital when facing a specialist, such as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu or kickboxing world champion. In this case, the ability to wrestle and decide where the fight will take place is crucial. Wrestling is usually paired up with grappling, and good wrestlers quickly adapt to other similar martial arts and mix them pretty well. Additionally, wrestlers are strong and well-conditioned, which allows them to generate a lot of force and have tremendous punching power. Regarding the wrestling element of MMA, freestyle wrestling is the obvious choice, but other styles, such as greco-roman wrestling, judo, and sambo, are also acceptable options.
Throughout its history, good grapplers have dominated the MMA world. In the beginning, it was Royce Gracie, and most recently, superstars like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev have demonstrated that good grappling skills can often win matches. Grappling focuses on controlling an opponent after a takedown and getting to a dominant position in order to end the fight with strikes or submission. Over the years, Brazilian jiu-jitsu was the leading grappling martial art, but recently grappling has evolved and become a sport on its own. On top of that, grappling arts like luta livre and sambo have also proven to be good in MMA.
One element that is crucial to almost all sports is physical preparation. Although technique is essential in MMA, it is also vital to maintain good physical condition. MMA fighters should always aim to be as fit as possible, as this will prevent injuries and make them stronger and better conditioned. Regular gym exercise can be an excellent complement to MMA training and be highly beneficial in the long run.
MMA Equipment: What Is Needed?
If you are interested in learning MMA, there is some necessary equipment you will need to protect yourself and train properly. Because MMA incorporates different combat sports, you will need gear well-suited for every style. Equipment such as gloves, rashguards, shorts, and a mouthguard is necessary, and you will need to have that.
Rashguard and Shorts
A rashguard is a fitted spandex used in MMA and grappling training. This clothing protects you from rashes, scratches, and infections you might get during training. Rashguards are made of fabrics such as polyester, lycra, and scuba. They dry quickly, so you can wash them after every training session, and they fit the body perfectly. In addition to having a rashguard, you should also have a regular board or MMA shorts when training. These should be comfortable and allow you to move around the mat.
Boxing and MMA Gloves
Practicing your punches will require getting yourself a pair of boxing gloves. Hitting pads and drilling combinations will be much safer when you have boxing gloves, and you can put more power into your punches. However, when doing MMA sparring, you must combine grappling and striking, which is why you need to have MMA gloves. These are smaller than regular boxing gloves, and you can open your hands freely.
MMA involves a lot of kicking, and not protecting your shins can be very dangerous. For this reason, you should always spar with shin guards, as they will allow you to kick freely and not be afraid of dangerous leg kicks.
Damage to your jaw and teeth is one of the dangers of combat sports. Because of this, you should always wear a mouthguard while sparring. A mouthguard will protect your upper jaw and teeth and help you absorb punches with a much smaller risk of getting knocked out. Additionally, during activities such as grappling or wrestling, it can protect you from accidental strikes that may occur.
What to Look for When Choosing an MMA Gym
Choosing where to learn MMA is quite an important part of your journey. You want to pick a gym that will help you grow and develop and that will be affordable. You should avoid gyms that are not welcoming and don’t have MMA for beginners’ classes. Here are some tips when choosing where to learn MMA.
Google Maps Reviews
When looking for mixed martial arts training, Google can be your best friend. You can easily find local gyms by searching for phrases such as “MMA gyms near me” or “MMA training for beginners.” Once Google has provided you with your search results, you can see which nearby school fits you and give them a call to schedule your first training.
Ask Your Friends
If you have friends who have previously trained in MMA or know someone who did, you can ask them to suggest you an MMA gym. This is a great thing because you can train with a friend, and the academy may have a referral program to get you discounts.
Search on Social Media
Social media can help you learn about MMA gyms near you and their culture. Most gyms have an online Instagram or Facebook profile where you can find information about them and see whether the gym will fit you. Additionally, you can search for their websites and see where they are located, the prices, and the training schedule.
In this article, we discussed what MMA is and why you should learn it. We covered the essential elements of this sport and what equipment is required for you to train it. Additionally, we gave some tips on finding the perfect MMA gym for you and beginning your MMA journey. I hope you enjoyed and I wish you success on your MMA journey!