In the center of the arena stands the octagon. Thousands of roaring fans and spectators are surrounding it. The octagon is closed and within stands only three people. One of which, who is the referee. The other two people are the fighters. If you were to see this for the first time you would think of it as war and the octagon representing the soil in which they are fighting for. The only things that these 2 warriors have in their arsenal are themselves, their knowledge, mouthguard and a pair of leather mixed martial arts gloves. The blood and sweat shed in the middle of the ring is almost barbaric. To some it may seem as if this was just a no holds barred fight. But it’s so much than that. This is mixed martial arts at its finest level. The UFC was the first to debut this sport. Mixed Martial Arts are professional fighters giving it their all in the ring. These fighters aren’t fighting just to win some money; these fighters are fighting for respect and love for the sport. To become a fighter and compete in the sport it takes a lot of dedication and perseverance. Experts agree to a five step program in which we will discuss some of the best approaches and ways to becoming a professional MMA fighter.
1 – Dedicating your time – MMA is a sport which requires much training. Unlike most Martial arts, MMA requires both hand to hand combat and grappling combat. Also there are many different styles of fighting used in MMA. There is Brazilian Jujitsu, Judo, and many other styles used. To learn the requisite moves good enough to use them in a fight requires much of your time. Experts believe it requires daily practice; usually about two to three hours should be sufficient enough to learn and be able to compete. During the workouts and intense training, it is recommended to make sure you mix your physical training along with your technique training to get the best results.
“It’s hard to have a full time job, train full time and have a social life. You have to make sacrifices. “ Justin “The Butcher” Hickey
2 – Training and Conditioning of your body – Just like any other sport, MMA requires much conditioning and stamina to be able to compete. An MMA fight can span anywhere from one second to possibly twenty-five minutes. Although twenty-five minutes may not seem all that long, in a MMA fight it can seem like an eternity. The two combatants use everything they have in their arsenal to try to beat their opponent. As stated by expert Elijah Harshbarger, the president of Gold Metal Grappling; “One day of training is harder then the fight. Our Fighters train to fight a sixty minute fight.” Elijah Harshbarger let us in on some of his secrets to training some of his own MMA fighters. He recommends using a weight circuit that focuses on one muscle group. His fighters usually use low weights and high reps. After that he focuses his fighters on series of minute long sprints, with a few breaks during the course of the hour. Then he ends it with sparring sessions that usually last about several minutes. At last it’s always important to make sure you get a good stretch when done.
3 – Mastering your techniques – Conditioning is a major part of MMA, but right up there as far as importance of what is needed to be successful is learning and mastering your techniques. If you are an amateur in fighting sports, you must learn striking, grappling and everything in between. You must learn how to maneuver and use your moves in any situation. You must learn how to stay calm and focused and not allow emotion to cloud your abilities. To become successful, you must train and learn with an open mind and must also know that training takes time and not to try to learn too much at once. You must set your own pace and perfect each technique, one at a time. You cannot come into a training session thinking you are the best because you are the biggest or strongest. MMA experts can take your strengths and expose them as weaknesses. MMA is all about technique and how well you can perform those techniques. You must know how to perform the techniques in your sleep. You must truly be an expert and master at your game plan and techniques.
4 – Master your moves – MMA is all about improvising on the spot. Although you may walk into a fight with an exact game plan and a good idea of what you want to do. That doesn’t usually happen. In MMA you must know your basic game plan and build on that. In an MMA fight anything can happen. That’s why it’s especially important to master and perfect all of your moves. You must be able to perform your move in the regular position or an awkward position. You must be able to improvise and adapt your techniques and moves to virtually anything. If you truly master your moves, this shouldn’t be a big problem. But that only applies when you really are a master. You must be perfect in your techniques. You must know them in and out. You must be able to turn on someone and use your move at any instant. Also you must know them so good that you can perform them while you are exhausted or while under pressure.
5 – Preparing your mind – The final Step; preparation for your mind. Although you may be in the best physical shape of your life, you may have forgot about possibly the most important aspect; your own self. Your mind plays just as an important role as anything else. You can walk into an MMA fight truly a master of all your moves, techniques, and strategies. All of a sudden, you enter the octagon. Thousands of fans are screaming and going wild. You’re in the spotlight. Next your opponent walks into the octagon and they seal you both in. The bell rings and it’s the beginning of the fight. You are a little nervous because of the spot light being on you. Then your opponent hits you and stuns you, or your strategy isn’t quite working. You start panicking. You begin to lose your focus and confidence. Next thing you know you forgot everything and you lose the fight. This is all because you lost your cool and you lost your focus. Now how do you get over that? Easy, experts recommend studying your opponent and even more important studying yourself. You must compare and contrast everything about you and your opponent, and you must know, not think, but know that your skills are superior and that you are ready. You cannot be intimidated and cannot let emotion get to you.
MMA takes a lot of work. It takes dedication and really takes a lot of perseverance. MMA isn’t just something you can learn in a day or two. It takes hours daily of grueling training and practice. To spectators Mixed Martial Arts may only be entertainment, but those people aren’t the ones competing. To many of the fighters it’s much larger then that. It’s a profession and an art. To most of its competitors, they consider it a way of life.