Tips for getting started in MMA:
1. Find a credible coach / gym / dojo: As MMA is a combat full-contact sport, it’s vital that the sessions are run in a safe, controlled and structured way. So make sure you do your research and check out as many MMA gyms as you can – most will offer a free trial or session, if not, ask for one.
2. Find your sweet-spot: Not everyone within MMA is looking to kick the crap out of people. You’ll never be forced to compete or spar if you don’t want to, and there’s no shame in avoiding that side of the sport. Just focus on the cardio, conditioning and martial arts technique training, if these are the area’s that interest you the most. In in time you will find your niche within MMA, whether its kickboxing or grappling, you will get there.
3. Leave your inhibitions at the door: MMA is not just for the big boys and bullies of the world – it has become evolved into an increasingly popular sport in recent years among both men and women of all ages and sizes. MMA gyms are often typified by their inclusive, welcoming and social atmospheres with a wonderful sense of community.
4. Learn to breathe properly: Chances are, you’re probably not ready to know how it feels to have someone punch or kick you. You’re probably not ready to have someone lay their body on your chest, taking your breath away. The key is to maintain long, steady breaths. Many people forget to breathe, depriving themselves of the oxygen their body and muscles need to work. Find yourself a good instructor who will take you through the breathing requirements and talk about reactions and expectations before you’re actually subjected to them. Question instructors who do not do this for beginners.
5. The right foods at the right times: The Toughest Opponent You Will Face – Yourself And What You Eat. Be sure to calculate your daily intake of carbs, fats, proteins, sodium, water, and total calorie intake – finding the right balance is key. So do some more research of the best balanced diet specific to MMA training, there’s no end of advice and tips out there. Also try not to eat within the two hours before a session. Even if you’re not sparring, classes involve short, sharp bursts of high intensity fitness training. If your body is still digesting, you’ll feel sick and won’t be able to make the most of your workout.
6. There are no short cuts: There’s no way to cram in the years of hard work, dedication and service into a short space of time. So just train hard and do your best and be prepared to be there for the long haul, if you want to see real results. The world is full of people looking for a short cut or a quick fix, who want something for nothing. Be the person who’s prepared to be part of the lifestyle, the long haul, a lifer. A winner.
7. No pain no gain: There are many benefits to practising martial arts such as improvement in stamina, building a strong core and improving strength but you won’t get there without hard work, sweat, some bruises and maybe some pain along the way. With any close contact sport you may experience up a few bruises along the way. Tending to bruises is a part of a martial artist’s lifestyle – the benefits you reap physically and mentally from a sports hobby far outshine a few lumps and bumps picked up along the way.
8. Show respect: One of the most important principles of a martial artist is respect. Respect the dojo, your Master or Coach and your training partners. Follow the usual principles, listen to your coaches, focus when training to avoid injury and remember your hygiene. Your clothes should only start to smell once training is finished! Be patient with those who are learning, everyone has to start at the beginning and in return you will also gain a new bunch of friends.
9. Don’t give up. Ever. There will be days when you don’t perform as well as usual or you might feel too tired or lazy to train. Give your body a break when it needs it but putting in that extra effort to go to the gym and perfect your technique will equip you a new skill, multiple health benefits and a great feeling of satisfaction, guaranteed. At the beginning you might feel as though you are drilling the same techniques over and over again. Perfect the details and the techniques will become. Keep a positive attitude and you will succeed.
10. Gear up – get the essential kit: In terms of basic body clothing, men tend to wear shorts and t-shirt, while women wear sports bras and shorts.In terms of protective gear, it is important for men to wear groin protectors, and for all fighters to wear a mouthpiece. It’s very important to properly fit the mouthpiece, so if you’re not sure how, ask someone to help you.
“There’s no talent here, this is hard work. This is an obsession. Talent does not exist, we are all equals as human beings. You could be anyone if you put in the time. You will reach the top, and that’s that. I am not talented, I am obsessed.” – Conor McGregor