Mixed Martial Arts is also known as MMA, and has become a really popular mainstream sporting activity, with the help of the UFC fighting which people are able to watch and be inspired by on television. But if you are starting out for the first time in MMA there are few things to think about.
There are many different styles of martial arts and it’s important to understand the mind-set and to realise that it’s not all about learning to fight – it’s about focusing your mind and fighting fears and should always be within a supervised and professional training environment.
Why is MMA so popular?
One of the reasons that MMA is so popular is that it incorporates such a wide range of martial arts including karate, taekwondo and kickboxing – you don’t have to choose between them all and you can decide to focus on a particular style of fighting, such as striking, rather than which martial art you prefer.
How do I find an instructor?
The best place to start as a beginner is to find a specialist MMA Gym where you can train and where you can learn the techniques safely. Make sure the gym teaches the proper fighting techniques as well as the associated cardio workouts.
There are plenty of gyms and instructors trying to jump on the back of the MMA bandwagon so make sure you go for a really good quality gym with proper qualified instructors. Try looking at online reviews before you commit to a gym, so you can see other people’s experiences.
Will I need specialist equipment?
Starting out in MMA will require some specialist equipment, largely to protect you from getting injured during fighting practice. The type of equipment will depend on the particular martial art you are learning at any one time, but here is a guide to some kit you might need to get:
- A mouth guard to protect your jaw and teeth
- A cup to protect your groin area as it is a full contact sport
- Gloves to protect your hands when boxing
- Hand wrap to protect your wrists when striking
- Fight shorts for better movement and mobility
- Knee pads and shin guards to protect your legs
- Head protection for when you are fighting an opponent
- Tape to hold the wraps in place and it can come in useful
- Appropriate footwear as advised by your gym instructor
- Sports tops which don’t rub or chafe or absorb sweat
- Any other equipment which your gym advises
What should I expect?
New beginners should be looking forward to starting with MMA and seeing it as a long term journey which will be enjoyable and see your skills and strength develop and grow gradually. Unfortunately many starters come in expecting to be able to fight well from day one and end up disappointed.
This is a sport which takes a long time to get good at and when expectations are too high it can lead to frustrations and to people giving up before they’ve given themselves a realistic chance to learn anything.
Unfortunately many people come to MMA after watching the UFC fighters on screen and decide they want to look and fight like that within their first sessions and this is simply an unattainable dream. UFC fighters have dedicated their lives to their sport.
How can I prepare for starting MMA?
It’s important to lower your expectations and to accept that you won’t be very good when you start out but that you are starting out on an exciting journey which will take you to great places, in due course.
Once you have the mind set right, it also helps to prepare your body as if you are very unfit it will take even longer to master the MMA techniques. You should combine your MMA training with a programme to get fit, lose weight and eat well.
Good nutrition and good overall fitness levels will really help to enhance your performance on the practice mat and eventually in the fighting ring as well. If you are willing to put all of the effort required in, then you will see good results.
Managing your expectations, investing in the right equipment and working with a properly qualified MMA instructor are the most important steps anyone can take who wants to get started in Mixed Martial Arts as an activity.
If you do all of these things then MMA will start to take over and you will develop a previously non-existent mental and physical strength as well as making some great new friends and a new hobby that you will feel incredibly passionate about.
MMA, for those who love it and dedicate themselves to it, is way more than a means of physical exercise, it becomes a way of life.