You’ll often find that its difficult to get to the gym to train. The biggest reason for this is simply that life just gets in the way. The solution my friends is simple. Get your ass to the gym and train. There are many reasons that it’s important to be consistent in training but it’s easier said than done. The thing to understand is this. You may think it’s ok to skip a session here and there and perhaps it is but it really depends on what your goals are. One needs to realise that MMA is not a sport that’s easy to master. If you’re trying to improve and you notice your team mates are getting better faster, there could be a number of facts at play. For one thing, they might be more athletiically gifted. They may just remember things more easily than you but ultimately, if you’re more consistant on the mat, you’ll be amazed at what you can actually do.
I think this point was really brought home to me in training last night. I’ve never been a gifted athlete but I’ve always trained consistently. Towards the later part of last year, I moved to a new house that’s 35 km away from the gym and I know everyone hears the stories of how people have driven hundreds of km’s to train so it may not seem that far away but with working 7 days a week and trying to make time to see family and friends, I have really battled to make it to the gym for the last six weeks and over the last four weeks, I’ve done nothing at all. I went back two days ago and I actually can’t believe how my game has slipped. On the feet, my timing is completely out and on the ground, I was way too tired, way too quickly. I’ve been through this before so I know in a week or two I’ll be back to normal but it’s really frustrating right now.
I really believe that we all go through stages where it’s easier to train and times when it’s more difficult but the trouble is that it’s too way easy to make excuses. The right way to do it is make excuses to train instead of excuses not to train. This year that’s a massive goal for me even though I was pretty consistent last year. Assuming the training is of a high standard, the guys who train the most consistently will usually come out on top. We all have training sessions that go well and others that just don’t but by training consistently, the small incremental improvements we make can lead to drastic improvements over time.
“Continuous effort -not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential” – Winston Churchill
This lesson took me many years to learn and I wonder how much better I would be if I had learned it sooner. What is the lesson?
Ask and ye shall receive. The training you want that is…
Tell your MMA coach what you want to learn and what you enjoy in their class. Compliment them on the parts of the class that you enjoyed and ask for more of what you want.
It sounds like really obvious advice because it is but you’d be shocked at how often people just don’t ask. They assume that the coach knows exactly what it is they want. That’s an assumption that leads to resentment and frustration.
We need to put this in perspective. MMA coaches can be intimidating people. My coach is a professional fighter and a respected BJJ black belt. He’s by no means a heavy weight but he’s not a small guy. Over the nearly 7 years I’ve spent at his gym at the time of writing, I’ve heard all sorts of comments from people in class, both positive and negative about what was or wasn’t taught in class. What we need to take note of, is that as an MMA coach, you’re expected to be many things to many people. An expert fighter, a great teacher, a psychologist, a fitness expert, a mentor and most importantly, a freakin mind reader.
This may be a strange way to look at it. I personally have been in sales for years and one of the things that a trained salesman knows, is how to spot a buying signal. It’s simple, ask questions and when you figure out what the client wants, give it to them and get the contract signed. One wrong word and you’ve lost the sale. Everything hangs on giving the client what they want. Your MMA coach may have many great skills but eliciting what you want is probably not one of them.
What do MMA students want?
Your MMA coach can not smell the answer to that question. You really need to listen to me when I say that. Why is this so important? Is it so that your coach can build a thriving MMA gym? Well, that’s a bonus if you care about him or her but that’s not the point. The point is that if you want to improve in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, then you need to learn certain skills or do more of certain things and less of others. Every person develops at a different rate, has different attributes and learns things in different ways. Your coach probably knows this and wants to help but has very limited time and many people to teach. They think and hope that you’re a happy client but they’re dealing with their coaching and personal issues and often another job at the same time so they do sometimes get it wrong.
If your coach isn’t giving you the kind of coaching you want, the easy thing on the face of it is to leave and find another gym and sometimes that solves the problem but the trouble with that approach is that you may find yourself in a situation where you never find the right place. The most effective thing that I have found is to ask your coach directly but in a very respectful way, if they can please do more of this or more of that in class and to do this often. (Not so often that you become a whiny pain in the ass) .
The outcome for everyone is positive. You start getting the training you need, your coach gets to know what his clients want and you build a relationship with the fellow human being who is devoting his time to making you a better fighter.
It’s win, win for everyone… and I love to win.
Is Jeff “The inferno’ Joslin for real?
If you’re spent a lot of time reading MMA Pages then you’ll realise there are more than a few Jeff Joslin videos scattered around. The reason is really quite simple. I’m an online affiliate of his MMA Quickstart training program.
Let’s take a look at something that is absolutely crucial to the ongoing success of this website. I don’t intend to promote anything that I don’t believe in. I feel very strongly that the internet is the greatest learning tool we have as MMA fighters and the reason is that it allows us to access high level coaches that know what they’re doing at a fraction of the cost of flying to where they live and training there.
Jeff Joslin’s style
I personally like Jeff’s coaching style but the truth is that I don’t believe that should be the reason that I promote his product. It’s really simple for me. I don’t want to learn my techniques from someone that can’t fight at a high level. I’m not in any way saying that only pro or former pro fighters can coach, I’m just saying that I don’t want to just take it as gospel that if someone is a coach that they are actually good. I want to know that the stuff they’re teaching me actually works in the cage. It’s really that simple. I don’t care if they know fancy Ninja tricks (No offence to people who do). I want to know that the techniques I’m learning will serve me well when I step into the cage. The best way I can see to establish that credibility is to fight. For that reason, I needed to find video evidence of Jeff Joslin actually competing at a high level and I found it. In the video, he actually fights guys like Josh Koscheck which I think speaks for it’s self and I know he’s also fought Jon Fitch which is no easy thing.
The truth is that the man has quite a incredible pedigree in terms of what I guess I could call qualifications. Along with his BJJ Black Belt under Brazilian Jiu Jitsu legend Jacare (Joslin’s a former Pan Am champ), Joslin has an extensive striking back ground and knows what he’s doing standing up. All this of course means nothing if the man can’t fight. So check out the video and decide from there. As for me, I enjoy his videos.
Video by Kruganator
In almost every MMA fight there’s a winner and a loser and there are no guarantees but when your next fight happens, make sure you can check all the boxes on this list and you be well on your way to getting the win. While fights can seem completely random, often this is not the case at all. There will come a time when you face an opponent that is at least as strong and skilled as you, if not more so. When that time comes, you can still win by using the tips outlined in this post. Here’s a recipe to formulate a winning game plan.
Know your strengths and if at all possible, know those of your opponents. Knowing where your opponents weaknesses are is extremely helpful in formulating a strategy. In pro MMA you’ll often be able to watch footage of your opponents previous fights but in the amateur ranks, you’ll normally be totally in the dark and usually, you’ll be in for a surprise. All is not lost however. Even if you know nothing about your opponent, you can build a strategy based on your own strengths and weaknesses. In order to do this, you need to analyse your game and do an honest self assessment. Make a point of sitting down with your coach and discussing where he or she believes you’ll have the biggest advantage in the fight. The more your coach knows your game, the better your chance will be of putting together a strong strategy and getting the W. What makes Greg Jackson for example such an incredible coach is not just his ability to coach but his ability to break down his fighters games and those of his opponents and come up with a well thought out strategy that offers them them the highest chance of success. When they stick to his plans, they do incredibly well and it has shown time and time again in the octagon.
An example of a strategy would be:
You know your opponent is a better striker than you so your strategy is to take the fight to the ground as soon as possible.
You’ve already formulated a strategy based on what you know your strengths are but now you need to know how your going to actually execute it. You need to decide what tactics you’re going to use to get the fight where you want it. Lets say your strategy is to take him down and work for a submission but he is aware of this. The person you’re fighting will not make it easy for you. Your tactics could be to stay safe and not leave yourself open and when he throws a strike, you change levels and shoot in for a takedown.
So your tactics would be: Stay safe and not take risks and sieze any opportunity to change levels and shoot.
Now that you know what your strategy is and have decided what tactics to use, you can focus on specific techniques that you believe will fit into your plan of how the fight will go. Obviously we’re assuming here that you have enough skill to take a fight in the first place and that you already have a good, solid grasp of the fundamentals. You can now really train the techniques required to give your tactics the best chance of succeeding and pushing your over all strategy.
Work combinations of take downs relentlessly in training and ensure that once the fight does hit the floor, you have the ability to pass guard, attain a dominant position and finish the fight.
4: Fitness and conditioning.
Do not assume that just by having faith in your techniques, tactics and strategy that you will win the fight without fitness and conditioning. A fight is chaotic by nature and there are all sorts of factors that cause fights to go in a different direction to what you intended. In order to keep your game plan intact, you need to be extremely fit and well conditioned and know that your opponent will be getting super fit for the fight and if you’re not fit and you gas, he will be in a better position to execute his game plan so make sure you as fit as you can be for the fight.
5: Mental game.
Have a chat to your coach or sports psychologist to get your mind into the right place for the fight. We all have have fears and worries and need to deal with these appropriately in order for our gameplan to work on fight night. It could be a fear of the crowd, a worry about getting hit. A personal issue which is causing distraction. Go into the fight confident and calm and you’ll be in great shape to execute your game plan.
It’s sad but true. If you train in any sport for a few years, you’re bound to run into some politics and MMA gyms are no different. MMA gyms are businesses like any other but they’re also more than that. They’re a fighters home base. If you’re training for a fight, you may wind up spending more time in the gym than you do at home with your wife or girlfriend or family. The training is intense and the emotions run high.
There’s a heck of a lot at stake both emotionally and physically and this causes both incredible bonds of friendship but can also lead to great tension. Between clubs and organisations that usually get along well. Especially in small local communities. Everyone has their own interests at heart when it really comes down to it and this can lead to all sorts of disagreements. As a fighter, it’s really important to remember that everyone is in the sport for a different reason. Some people train MMA to get fit, others just for fun and some want to actually compete.
Remember when politics happen, the further away from it you can be, the better for your training. Keep respectful of all concerned and try not to get involved in the squabbles. Focus on your growth, training and enjoyment of the sport. It’s not high school, it’s MMA. Have fun and keep on training.
Image credit: This lamp
I was quite surprised to walk into my local sports store the other day and see the official UFC range of fight gear. Its awesome for me because it means that the sport I love has finally become big enough in South Africa to make it commercially viable in this country. I must admit it was a total thrill to actually try on the official fight gloves worn in the UFC by the best fighters on the planet. They were made of soft leather and the curve of the leather over the knuckles was awesome. I felt like a champ just wearing them. They weren’t badly priced either considering the that they represent the pinnacle of the sport when it comes to MMA gloves.
The rest of the range was high priced polyurethane which was not really my scene but I hope they do well. I guess they couldn’t bring in all the leather stuff as it would have been too expensive for our market but either way it shows that UFC mania has hit our shores in a massive way. I can’t wait to see the progress of the branded merchandise in my country.
UFC Official Fight Glove – $59.99
Retail Price: $69.99
You Save: $10.00
from: Century MMA
I never intended to get into Mixed Martial arts when I started, let alone become an MMA junkie.
One day many years ago I decided that I needed to get fit. I was fairly ripped from lifting weights but I had no functional strength and my cardio was non-existent. I also had a bit of low self esteem and was really scared of any sort of confrontation. I had heard that martial arts could help. I thought that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start a bit of training for fun but I didn’t really think I’d stick to it as it didn’t look very easy.
I was right and wrong. It was not easy but I stuck to it because I became addicted. The closest martial arts place I could find and afford was a little Muay Thai place up the road from where I lived. I trained there for 4 months and it was great fun. We didn’t do much sparring but the people were nice and I got really fit. I enjoyed it but my girlfriend at the time had started training with me and she had a bit of an issue with one of the guys training there and it was causing me to feel a bit uncomfortable. Besides this, I’d heard about this grappling sport called BJJ and thought it would be cool to add that to my Muay Thai. I found a gym, not too far away that offered BJJ and also incorporated it into ‘this wierd MMA stuff’. The gym was bigger than what I was used to and had some pretty hard core looking guys so I was kind of nervous but signed up anyway.
An MMA junkie is born.
I found the guys at this hardcore looking gym to be much friendlier than they appeared and the camaraderie was something I would never have expected. I started doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and incorporated skills from Boxing, Wrestling and Muay Thai. The things I wanted to learn just got more and more and the sport became totally addictive. It’s been more than 6 years now that I’ve been training MMA and you’d think I’d be bored but it’s hard to become bored in a sport that is not only physically fun to do but completely mentally engaging. There’s never a time when there’s nothing new to learn and I’m completely hooked. The more I learn, the more I realise there is to learn and it’s helped me not only to conquer my fears in the sport it’s-self but also to beat the fears I have in business and life in general.
The crazy thing is that I’m sick with a cold and wasn’t able to train last night and I’m going totally nuts. I feel the need to train like it’s a drug and even though I’m battling to breathe a bit right now and have a sore throat, I’m thinking of going to my MMA class tonight which I realise is stupid. Who would have thought that a sport where you get hit in the face would become such a core part of life. At some point I became a total MMA junkie. Very strange indeed.
This article will probably be timed a bit poorly for the bulk of my readers who are in the Northern hemisphere and are currently going into summer but for those of us down South, I thought I’d mention something that’s really helped me over the years to keep up with my MMA training routine when the cold hits. Now I must admit, our winters here in South Africa are a lot milder than most of you will experience but by the same token, we’re not as geared for the cold in terms of central heating etc. I personally can’t stand the cold and winter is always when I wind up sick and injured if I’m not careful. When the cold really hits, the MMA gym that I train at feels like the fridge in a butchery. It’s like a giant meat locker. We’re in a basement on the edge of a lake and the cold howls through. Once I’m warmed up with a bit of skipping etc, I’m generally OK but the hard part of getting a good MMA workout in winter is not the actual training it’s self but actually lies in getting to the gym. After a hard days work I get home and make a quick cup of coffee, grab my MMA gear and dash off to the gym. What’s really difficult is when I start making excuses for myself. My ankle’s sore, my nose is running, I can sort of feel a chest infection coming on, I’m 15 minutes late already so it even worth going?
It’s important to remember to keep your MMA training routine just that, a routine.
Like the Nike Ads say… Just do it!
The way I get through winter is just to do it. Instead of looking for excuses for why you shouldn’t go to your training session, think of reasons why you should go. Make a point of changing your mental state into one where you’re actively reasoning why it will hurt you if you don’t go. Make these reasons relevant and important to you and feed into both your own fears and goals. Some ideas that work well for me is I say stuff to myself like:
If I don’t go tonight, all the other guys will get better technique and I won’t so they’ll know stuff that I don’t. Eg, They’ll learn a submission that I don’t know and use it on me when I train with them again.
There are many variations that can work for you.
If you don’t go tonight, You’ll get a bit fatter while the other guys you train with get leaner and more ripped.
If you don’t go tonight, the guys you train with will be a bit stronger and you’ll be a bit weaker.
If you don’t go tonight, the guys you train with will be a bit fitter than you and you won’t cope so well in the next training session and you’ll fall further behind.
You can translate the same idea towards an upcoming MMA fight or grappling competition etc.
If you skip tonight’s session and your opponent sticks to his MMA training routine and has a good session tonight then he won’t just be one training night ahead of you, he’ll actually be two ahead because he did a session and you didn’t, so he’ll be fitter and you’ll be fatter. This means that missing a session actually multiplies it’s negative effect as you’re not going to be fighting yourself. You’re fighting an opponent who improved when you didn’t because he had the the discipline to stick to his training schedule.
Also think about one simple thing. The guy who is hungrier will often win the fight because he stuck to his MMA training routine better and that gives him an edge over the slacker in a crucial way. He’ll have more mat time which translates into better cardio, better technique, more sparring time, more rolling time, more time to drill and plug the holes in his game.
Bottom line, one person is going to get fitter, stronger and become a better fighter this winter and if that person isn’t you then don’t whine when you’re getting your ass kicked by the guy who stuck to his MMA training routine like glue.
The choice is yours. Kick back and relax in front of the TV with a bag of snacks or get your lazy butt to the gym and train. You’ll feel better because you’ll be better and best of all, you’ll dominate the lazy guy that slacked last night while you were training and he’ll be wondering why.
I normally stick to the old school Vale tudo style grappling shorts but I saw this video ad for the ‘Tatami Multi Flex NO GI Fight Shorts‘ and I have to say they that they look really cool. Seem like great quality. Strong, nice and stretchy and allow for lots range of motion. I’d love to get some feedback from anyone who has a pair of these MMA shorts.
Tatami Multi Flex NO GI Fight Shorts – $55.99
Retail Price: $65.99
You Save: $10.00
The write up on the fight shorts.
The write up on them says:
They represent the new range of Shorts specifically for No Gi grappling from Tatami Fightware. Most MMA or NO-GI shorts have only got a Lycra stretch panel in the crotch area, the TFW Multiflex fight shorts have Lycra 4-way stretch panels that allow you to move better and still be comfortable.
These fight shorts feature:
A secure over lap waist band closure (So they should stay on which is always a plus, especially in front of a crowd )
Stretchy fourway lycra panels positioned around the body of the shorts (Which I would guess would help stop them from restricting movement)
Internal drawstring closure (I can’t decide if I like that or not)
Inside gum shield pocket (That would be very cool, My gum guard often just floats about in my shorts)
Mesh lining on the interior of the shorts for maximum comfort (Sounds good)
Side vents for a complete range of movement (This is vital for me. Nothing more irritating than shorts restricting my movement)
Plus…They just look awesome!
Tatami Multi Flex NO GI Fight Shorts video
I’m a sucker for strong fight shorts that don’t restrict my movement. I had a look at the video for these mma shorts and thought I had to share this. I’m keen to get them and try them out.
There are a great many factors that determine the effectiveness of one’s MMA training workouts but one for me stands out more than most. Live sparring. I’m not just talking about striking sparring but rolling and wrestling as well. I value technique almost above all but there is a real reason why certain combat sports and martial arts forms have risen to the top in modern Mixed Martial Arts competition and that reason is live sparring. It’s a primary reason why sports like Boxing and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu form such a fundamental part of the skill set of most MMA fighters today.
Your MMA training workouts can be greatly improved by sparring for a variety of reasons.
You can gain enormous benefits from Drilling and Katas but at the end of the day, if you don’t do any live sparring, you’ll never develop the timing, conditioning or reflexes you need in the chaos of a fight or know if you’re doing things right. Now don’t get me wrong. If you’re just doing the sport to get fit, have fun and meet people. There’s no reason to do sparring if you don’t enjoy it and there’s nothing wrong with that. I train with professional lawyers and accountants and so on who can not afford to go to work with even occasional black eyes and I still believe they can gain enormously from training MMA but if you’re doing MMA training to actually compete in the cage then there really is no option here. You have to include sparring in your MMA training workouts. There are many Martial Arts where you can compete at a high level without sparring but Mixed Martial Arts is not one of them. The reason for this is simple. Despite the subjectiveness of judging, at the end of the day MMA is not a subjective sport. When you fight in cage, ultimately you will be fighting a real live human being with Ego, emotions, skills and determination and if you have not included sparring in your MMA training workouts then there is just no way you’ll be prepared for a skilled opponent who has done a lot of sparring. Now, you don’t have to spar hard to succeed. On the contrary, the majority of the time you should not be sparring at a full contact level. In most of your MMA training workouts, you should actually just be sparring lightly with all your focus on perfecting your techniques. If you can beat your training partners consistantly without going all out, just imagine what you’ll be able to to do in the cage. This training philosophy will ensure that you have a long career without constantly risking injuries. You’ll always have sparring partners as they won’t fear being hurt by you and as their skills and your own improve in a fear free environment, you’ll all become better fighters.
Sparring in MMA training workouts during fight camp.
I always advocate sparring with a focus on technique but I make one exception and that’s when you have a fight coming up. if you’re training for a fight, your sparring intensity needs to elevate constantly. You need to push yourself as hard as you can in sparring by slowly increasing the intensity of your MMA training with each workout so that by the time you fight, you’re ready for the intensity, adrenaline and emotions of a fight.
Spar to build skills and develop the right fitness and conditioning and get the most out of your MMA training workouts.