More and more gyms are offering MMA classes for beginners. It isn’t really surprising since the UFC made MMA one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. Believe it or not, though, mixed martial arts or MMA has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks. Interesting to find that people of old have the same sense of entertainment we do today… except perhaps with more gore.
It’s exciting to see fighters compete in rings or cages using a combination of different moves. Plus, colourful personalities like Conor McGregor and Nick Diaz add plenty of appeal and reasons to watch.
It might appeal to you so much that you actually end up searching for MMA classes for beginners in your area. But then you might also be wondering: is it better to take up various martial arts instead of focusing on one? And what if you want to experience the training but not necessarily fight in the ring?
Well, not to worry. In this article, we’ll discuss why taking up MMA is good for you. We’ll also talk about what will actually happen during MMA classes for beginners.
Let’s get to it!
What to expect
If you’re still on the fence about taking up MMA, let’s put your apprehensions to rest. Here’s what you will really experience in MMA beginner classes:
You won’t fight right away.
Don’t worry! there won’t be any sparring immediately. Your MMA coach will not throw you into the ring right away with a more experienced opponent. In fact, they won’t let you spar at all on your first day!
Instead, coaches will first assess your fitness level. That means you don’t have to be super athletic to start MMA. Your coaches will give you drills and exercises you can handle and even allow you to modify if you find them too tough.
They will definitely push you to become better at MMA but at a safe pace. After all, if you get injured, it might take a long time for you to come back. That will reset any progress you might have made.
Make sure to tell your coach if you have any old injuries or mobility issues. Also, don’t forget to let them know if you’re in for fitness or in to fight. While the exercises may be mostly the same, the fighters’ program will be more in depth at a higher intensity.
You’ll burn a lot of calories.
MMA classes can be very tough, especially if you have a low fitness level or you have no martial arts background. But don’t stress: you’ll be burning plenty of calories in the process! That’s good news if you’re getting into MMA to be healthier by losing weight.
Of course, make sure you eat properly to keep your energy levels up. If you cut too many calories, you might not have enough fuel to keep doing the drills, and that’s not something you want to happen.
You will feel plenty of pain the day after.
You should expect to feel sore the day after training, especially after your first few sessions! Remember, you will be using muscles you’ve never used before. Plus, MMA training is quite intense.
Expect to feel some aching muscles when you wake up. If they’re not too bad, by all means you’re good to go again. Otherwise, there’s no shame in taking a day off to recover. Make sure you replenish with the right amount of food and water to speed up your recovery.
What you will learn
There is a learning curve in MMA since there’s a lot of ground to cover. You can expect that in your MMA classes for beginners, you’ll likely cover mostly striking and grappling. As you progress, your coaches will start to put the two together. Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you can transition from striking to grappling (and back again) seamlessly.
When we say striking, we don’t mean just throwing punches. Striking in MMA classes for beginners also includes kicks, elbows, knees, and even shoulder strikes. If you’ve watched Conor McGregor’s fight against “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone, you know what we’re talking about.
You won’t be throwing strikes randomly either. Trainers will train you through hitting pads, body pads, and bags. Not only will you learn to aim at a moving target, but you’ll also learn the best ways to hit using your entire body.
And, of course, not only should you learn how to strike, but you should also learn how to defend. You’ll duck, bob, weave, and cover up if you can’t get out of the way. And after that – counterattack!
Grappling from a standing position
Mixed martial arts mean that you won’t just learn striking. Since the goal is for you to be a well-rounded fighter, you’ll also learn grappling or wrestling. Grappling is usually done on the ground, but if your MMA gym uses Muay Thai as a base, then you’ll likely learn the clinch as well.
The Muay Thai clinch is basically upright grappling. Unlike striking, where you can train against the bag, grappling requires you to pair up. Upright grappling is less to get a submission and more to get you in a position to throw close strikes.
Then you’ll also learn how to take the fight to the ground. The transition is usually through takedowns, sweeps, or throws. You’ll also learn the explosiveness needed to execute them, as well as how to evade or defend against them.
Grappling from a down position
Fights in real life don’t often continue once they go to the ground, but knowing how to fight from there can help you defend yourself against single aggressors. While people don’t necessarily want to fight from the ground, it’s definitely an advantage!
This aspect will teach you concepts like submissions and controls from different positions. You’ll also learn how to dominate larger opponents. And, probably the most important, the various escapes if ever you find yourself on the receiving end of these controlling maneuvers.
Even if you prefer striking over grappling as a fighter or practitioner, it’s important to know them, especially if your goal is just to escape so you can stand up and start throwing strikes again.
You’ll learn to manipulate limbs or joints to cause pain and render anyone basically helpless. Submission holds are important because they end fights quickly!
Choke holds, for example, can render your opponent unconscious. Armbars and leg locks can prevent your opponent from fighting back. And if they don’t tap while you’re bending their joints the wrong way… kudos to them for resilience, but hopefully, they don’t wait too long before conceding defeat.
So if you want to practice MMA but you’re not up to the concussive nature of striking, level up your grappling and dominate the cage that way.
Why take up mixed martial arts
There are plenty of advantages to taking up MMA, such as:
It’s a great introduction to find out what type of martial arts you like.
MMA classes for beginners will introduce you to various styles of martial arts. As you progress, you’ll further learn to grapple, make people submit, and strike with different parts of your body.
As you progress, you’ll eventually lean towards a fighting style of your own. For example, you might find yourself grappling more instead of striking. You might eventually want to take Wrestling, Judo, or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes.
In short, taking up MMA will expose you to all styles of martial arts and help you pick what you really prefer.
You’ll end up being fitter and stronger.
MMA training is far from easy. But because you’re working your entire body, you’ll eventually get stronger and have more endurance. You’ll also become more fit, more flexible, and develop better coordination.
You’ll learn to defend yourself.
Each punch or kick you throw during training isn’t just for show. You’ll learn the proper way of doing them. That is to say that in time, you’ll develop your efficiency with the techniques which will equal more power. That gets in handy in case you find yourself in any situation that you have to fight your way out of.
The same goes for all the grappling training you’ll do. If you don’t want to hit someone, you can easily hold them and control them. You’ll also learn to escape in case anyone tries to choke or pin you.
You’ll have an outlet for releasing stress.
If ever you feel any stress, a visit to your MMA gym will quickly help you free those feelings. Every pad you punch and every kick you throw helps you release any pent-up anger. And with grappling training, you’ll end up being too tired (in a good way) to be stressed.
You’ll meet people with the same interests.
You’re not the only one who’s going to be a beginner in class, especially if you make a point to join MMA classes for beginners. You’ll meet plenty of people with mutual interests. Who knows, you might make a friend or two!
And of course, there are plenty of advanced students as well as the coaches themselves, who welcome people wanting to learn MMA. You might end up with a second family – and wouldn’t that be a great thing?
Mixed martial arts are an excellent way to stay fit and have fun!
You know what to expect, you know what you’ll learn, and you know the benefits of MMA classes. The only thing left to do is try one of the many MMA classes for beginners out there. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s nothing compared to the feeling of accomplishment you’ll feel when you achieve your long-term goals.