December 2010

How to Become a Successful MMA Fighter

One of the fastest growing and most exciting sports in the world today is Mixed Martial Arts. People all over the world are learning how this modern day evolution of the Martial Arts can benefit them with fitness, confidence building, balance, coordination and self defense.

Some students want to take it to a higher level and compete. If you are one of these and are serious about becoming a successful Mixed Martial Arts fighter then the best strategy is to look at what other successful Mixed Martial Arts fighters are doing and model them, here are some guidelines that you must follow:

1) Find a good gym: Your gym is your training tool, make sure that it is well equipped with matted areas, bags and pads. Successful schools will utilize a structured curriculum that teaches the skills of MMA starting with a solid core of basics that underpins your fight game.

2) Find a good coach or coaches: Mixed Martial Arts competition, in the modern world, as we know it has been with us now for over 80 years (started in Brazil as Vale Tudo). The evolution that has taken place has placed several fighting systems at the top when it comes to what you must train to become a successful Mixed Martial Arts fighter. The clear standouts are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, Wrestling and Boxing. To insure your success you must seek out a coach or coaches who are proficient and experienced in at least one of the standup striking systems and one of the grappling systems with a preference for coaches who have included aspects of the other systems to cover any weaknesses in their main systems. I would still give the edge to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai as the best combination.

3) Make the commitment to train: If you want to be successful in anything, you have to make the commitment. Develop and follow a routine training schedule and stick to it. If you’re not prepared to make the commitment to train hard and develop your game then you should perhaps just look at taking up Mixed Martial Arts as a pastime, to enjoy for what you get out of it. But if you are serious about your training and want to be successful in competition then you have to make the commitment.

4) Training Partners: You must have consistent and sensible training partners. To become successful you have to be consistent and train regularly. But also at a level that is going to promote your ability. If you train too lightly you will not progress to be able to handle the competition that is getting stronger every day. However, if you train too hard it will also inhibit progress due to injuries.
In addition sparring, which is an essential component of Mixed Martial Arts training, must be performed at a level that is conducive to learning, i.e. approach sparring with a playful, experimental attitude where you are not afraid to try new techniques. Otherwise you will find yourself stuck with a very limited game.

5) Discipline yourself with other training: In addition to training the disciplines, that provide the techniques to fight with, you have to develop your strength with weight training, explosiveness with plyometrics and endurance with the sports specific programs based on High Intensity Interval Training (Tabata Protocol). In a competition between you and a worthy opponent (someone of equal or better ability) it could well come down to who is the strongest and fittest.

6) Develop your mental game: Pay particular attention to your mental game. Develop focus and mental toughness that will keep you on your game whatever the opponent throws at you. You must continually train yourself to get in the “zone” when you both train and fight. This will develop your actual technical ability so that it becomes unconsciously competent and free your mind to concentrate on the strategy of the match.

7) Model other successful fighters: Just repeating the recommendation that we opened this discussion with; one of the best ways to learn and become proficient at any thing is to model others who are successful in the particular pursuit that you wish to engage in. The ways that they train, disciplines that they use and the preparation they undertake to be good at what they do.

Using these guidelines will definitely assist you in becoming a successful Mixed Martial Arts fighter but to be successful you have to really want to be successful and be prepared to train hard.

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The Essential Traditional Disciplines MMA Fighters Should Train In

If you want to be a successful MMA fighter there are two traditional martial art systems that you should know. In addition, dependent on your definition of traditional, there are two other fighting systems that should be trained.

However, even though the first two are originally derived from traditional systems of martial arts they have been heavily modified to suit modern day real fighting conditions. These first two are:

1) Muay Thai: This is by far the best striking system for MMA. The speed, power and economy of motion of Muay Thai techniques make this fighting system second to none in the mixed martial arts cage. Modern Muay Thai is a stripped down version of the traditional Muay Thai as it is trained for fighting in the ring. This is reflected in its' very fast and efficient striking strategies.

2) Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: Once again this system of fighting developed by the Gracie family, in Brazil, from traditional Jiu Jitsu and Judo has proven, by far, to provide the best ground fighting tactics for MMA. So much so that fighters who give their main discipline as Wrestling have incorporated aspects of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, particularly the finishes into their game.

In addition to these two traditional fighting disciplines there is at least two other systems that should be included. These fighting systems are not considered as traditional from the Asian martial arts perspective but are certainly traditional fighting systems if you look at them from a western perspective. These two are

1) Western boxing: By far the best standup punching system. Although Muay Thai has very strong striking techniques the traditional punching methods are not as developed as Western boxing. Many Thai fighters have incorporated Boxing's punching techniques into their training to produce an extremely effective hybrid form of Muay Thai.

2) Western Wrestling: By incorporating Wrestling takedowns into the standup grappling phase of MMA training and top game maneuvers on the ground together with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu finishes and ground game tactics you will develop a very complete MMA grappling game.

MMA has evolved very rapidly from its' early days and continues to develop into a distinctive fighting discipline. However, it is very clear that to be successful a fighter and coach the fighting systems discussed above are essential traditional disciplines that all MMA fighters should know.

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How to End a Fight Quickly

In this article I am going to look at how to end a fight quickly, particularly an MMA fight. Whether we are competing in the cage or ring or defending ourselves in a real street fight situation the faster we can finish the fight the better.

1) The most important aspect of winning any confrontation is to stay focused and relaxed during the set up stages. Develop an attitude of performing your very best game, not of beating your opponent. You must work on the things that you can control in the fight, not on those things that are out of your control. Thus work on your game and produce the very best example of it.

2) Train and drill the techniques in your MMA game. The footwork, strikes, takedowns, ground control game and the finishes must be second nature. You must drill the techniques so that they happen automatically when the opportunity arises.

3) Attack your opponent's weaknesses and work your strengths. You want to get your opponent off his/her game plan and maintain yours. When the opponent is forced into a fight, that they are not strong in, they make more mistakes and get frustrated and hurt which, in turn, forces them to make more mistakes. By staying calm and sticking to your game plan you will easily end the fight quickly.

4) When developing your MMA fight game concentrate on developing your fundamental techniques to a high level of ability. Then work on dealing with problems when trying to execute them. That is, work on the delivery and execution of a solid core of fundamental techniques.

5) Train evasion and counters so that they are second nature; "Make him miss and make him pay".

6) In your standup, train your footwork to get you in quick so that you beat the opponent to the punch or takedown and either knock him out or bring him down for a quick finish. Most fightys are won or lost in the initial setup, "bridging the gap" phase.

7) In striking, train the straight right, left hook combination as this is a powerful standup knock out combination.

8) Work the knees to the head. This is a very powerful strike that will end a fight quickly if executed at the right time. When holding the head get to the side and/or keep the opponent off balance by changing angles and pulling him/her as you smash the knees in.

9) On the ground, when you get mount or side control, train punching effectively. A very good strategy is to punch in bunches, that is, rather than just pour on the punches take your time to pick the shots and create openings for the next punch. Change the rhythm of your punches and take short rests in between bursts so that you don't burn your arms out.

10) On the ground train getting to the back from every position. This is a very dangerous position for the opponent and difficult to defend. When working the back you can strike effectively, return to the mount if the opponent manages to start getting out and of course you have the back choke, one of the most prolific and effective finishes in MMA. Therefore getting the back should be drilled relentlessly as it is one of the fastest ways to end any fight.

If you start to implement these ideas and ways of thinking into your MMA game you will begin to realize how to end a fight quickly and develop the confidence to take on any opponent, keep in mind that a major factor in learning how to end a fight quickly is in the setups and mind-set. For a great in-depth look at gap bridging strategies, that will compliment your learning in all martial arts fighting systems, check out my very comprehensive resource "Mastering the Danger Zone" DVD series which is packed full of concepts and techniques for set ups and "Bridging the Gap" in Muay Thai, Mixed Martial Arts fighting and the street self defense situation that will put you way ahead of the game when learning mixed martial arts and Muay Thai.

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In addition I often discuss these strategies together with other fight game and self defense tactics in my blog at that will help you develop your knowledge and experience when learning martial arts and Muay Thai or self defense.