I love to remember that in sports like MMA or for example Japanese ju-jitsu, you’re good nowhere. One day, one of my coaches said to me laughing “in our sport, we know everything, but we do not know how to do anything”. At first I did not really take it seriously, but over time I noticed how true it is. If you want to progress in MMA, keep that in mind “we’re good nowhere”.
Jack of All Trades
Let me explain. In this kind of martial arts, we practice karate, boxing, wrestling, judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and so on … that’s actually a lot of discipline. So, try to fight against a free wrestling Olympic champion, go boxing against a K1 champion, ride against a Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion. You will be beaten flat. Why ? Just because they practice only this discipline, they are “specialists”. We are “generalists”.
It’s a question of choice. Personally, I love novelty and versatility.
So keep in mind that there is always someone better than you in a field, you will only get better.
Be a good loser
This ties in with the previous point and also a mandatory mentality in all sports. If we want to progress, we must accept and integrate a defeat. Do not find excuses, but rather what solutions I need to put in place to prevent this from happening again.
Specifically in a sport like MMA where we will be constantly confronted with practitioners better than us in certain disciplines. We must accept to be beaten. Here, pride will not get you anywhere.
Look in all styles of martial arts
That’s my opinion, and I’ve always worked that way.
Do not limit yourself to your simple and unique practice if you want to progress in MMA. Invite practitioners from other disciplines, other clubs, competitors, coaches, older, younger, etc. You will always have something to learn, a different approach, a more precise perception, more adapted techniques; or simply to comfort you in the idea that your way of doing things is more appropriate.
That’s what will enrich your game and your combat strategy. This will also allow you to surprise your opponent.
Strategy, strategy, and still strategy
I chose Georges St-Pierre to symbolize the 10 indispensable notions, it’s above all because I have always appreciated and admired his combat intelligence.
No matter who he was fighting against, he always found a way to dominate his adversary where he was weak; whether it’s soil specialists, wrestling or boxing. The strategy is what will allow someone apparently less strong physically and technically to win a fight. What you need to keep in mind is where I am going to fight my opponent?
I’ll box him remotely? Or on the contrary nearby? Keep it at bay and hit it with your legs? Rather squeeze it at the clinch? Bring him to the ground and look for the keystrokes? Bring it to the ground and seek submission? I’m going to juggle all these areas? Seeking to tire her? To intimidate him? To make him lose confidence?
In conclusion, there are an infinity of areas to work on.
Distance is the control of safety
If you want to see a specialist in distance, watch Conor McGregor’s fights. He has also incorporated karate and taekwondo practices to adjust his distance work when he boxing.
In general, in forms of boxing, the one who controls the distance will touch his opponent more often. It is not necessarily a sign of assured victory, but it can strongly contribute to it.
The notion of distance is constantly being worked on in percussion sports. You just have to keep it in mind when you practice. Do I feel that he can touch me? Or can I easily hit him? Am I too far? On the contrary, too ready?
If you have big gaps, work your distance to the punching bag (different weights). Try to assimilate the different distances of strikes (legs, fists, elbows).
But above all, your combat distance will depend on your opponent.
BJJ is King
Look at the first UFC and you will understand why Brazilian jiu-jitsu must be your basic domain. Of course, some of you will come out of boxing sports, so with a very different basic sport. But that does not change the fact that jiu-jitsu, or at least grappling (jiu-jitsu without kimono) is to practice constantly.
The MMA oriented grappling is slightly different, we also take the strokes into account, so there are certain jiu-jitsu positions that are less suitable in MMA. But the defenses against the submissions, the finalizations as well as the control of the positions are to work as often as possible!
It’s very simple, if you do not know how to defend ground leads and submissions, you will lose the fight in less than 5 minutes without being able to show what you are capable of.
Knowing how to get up
First, two points to deal with: getting up physically and psychologically.
Psychologically, it is never to give up during hard knocks. In relation to the point 1, in MMA one is good nowhere, so you will inevitably fall on someone who will put you the misery in a precise field. Learn not to get discouraged, but take that as a lesson to get up stronger. I have often seen very talented practitioners in boxing or on the ground take a beating in the field they love less, and then never come back to training. If you want to progress in MMA, you must learn not to be discouraged in defeat.
Knowing how to get up physically is therefore a very specific aspect of MMA. When we are brought to the ground and the adversary tries to keep us there, we must absolutely know how to get up to fight standing if we wish. As mentioned in point 4, choosing where to fight is the key to victory.
Never forget the basics
I agree, this point is specific to all sports on earth. But you must never miss it.
Whether expert, beginner, competitor or professional, working the basics daily is mandatory. Working the basics will allow you to master the smallest details of your techniques and especially to properly develop the rest of your arsenal. We do not put the roof before the walls.
This is what will differentiate the professional amateur and this is what will make you progress properly in MMA.
Creativity to surprise
Train alone, do free exercises, flexible sparring without resistance. Seek to develop techniques specific to your morphology, and also to your way of thinking. It is often said that one recognizes the character of a person when he fights. Try to surprise and stay intangible.
Read my article on personal training for more details and further progress in MMA.
Conditioning and Fitness
Again a specific point to a lot of sports, but so important. Good physical condition (endurance, strength, speed, flexibility) will make your life so much easier during your workouts.
The core is fundamental (strength of the trunk) to facilitate the practice of your techniques and therefore progress in MMA. It allows the transmission of power from the lower limbs to the upper limbs, and vice versa. It will also allow you to easily explode on the ground, to hit harder in feet-fists, and to better cash the shots. Think about front, back, side sheathing. Never neglect this point!