1. They walk in to the gym, and ask if they can train UFC. Just. Don’t. UFC is to MMA, what FIFA is to football. Would you go to your local park and ask if you could play some FIFA? Of course not, that would be ridiculous. Do your research before you walk in to that particular gym. What do they specialise in? Mixed martial arts – the clue is in the name. A mixture of different martial arts. However, not every gym is great at every aspect. Find out what this gym is best at, and make sure it’s what you want to learn too. 2. They walk in to the gym, and call out the coach. Why have I seen this happen so many times? The lack of respect here is quite frankly disgusting. Surely, like anything, you should aim to work your way up to the top of the class! Training with the coach is one of the biggest honours you can get in each gym. There is a reason that they are the coach, they have likely been through hell and back just to get to that point in the first place. Don’t disrespect them by assuming that it’s your right to train with them. It’s a privilege! 3. They think that it’s going to be just like the movies. You are not Bruce lee. Most of the cool stuff you see performed in films is done by highly trained stunt men and women. The camera angles and the stunt persons skill make it look incredible. However, the likelihood of it actually working in a real fight is very slim (at least not against anyone with any fighting experience). Work on the basics, instead of face planting when you try and spinning kick someone on your first session. 4. They use strength over technique. When you are learning something new, power is not the answer. Even in the discipline of power lifting, the movement is performed with a light weight, until you have the technique correct. Only then, can you move on to the heavy stuff. MMA is no different. Learn the movements, learn why it works, and when it works. If you just rush in, guns blazing, you are probably going to get knocked out. 5. They think every sparring session is a UFC championship. You are not in the UFC, you are not fighting for a championship belt. Work on the basics: keep your hands up, chin down, and focus on your footwork. There is no such thing as a good fighter with bad footwork! 6. They don’t listen to their coach. Your coach is there for a reason. It’s not because they have nothing better to do on a Tuesday evening. It’s because they have been through hundreds, upon thousands, of training sessions themselves, and they want to give back. They are sure as hell not doing it for the money. Listen to what they have to say, they know what they are talking about! Everyone is there to learn, to grow and progress. Listening to your coach, and acting upon what they have to say is a sure-fire way to accelerate your progression. 7. They aren’t a good training partner. The saying goes, “Play with your toys, don’t break them”. If you start throwing your training partner around as though you are auditioning for Wrestlemania, they aren’t going to want to train with you for much longer. That is, if they escape uninjured. Treat your training partner as though you wish to be treated yourself - seems simple enough, but apparently, it’s harder than it looks. Most MMA gyms are, in fact, quite friendly. It’s is always good to contact the head coach, prior to turning up – just to ensure that you go to the correct session for your standard. Every gym worth its salt has an online presence too, so you can always check it out. See what the standard looks like – perhaps even contact students (not in a creepy way) prior to joining, to see if it is the right gym for you. My 8-week course takes you through everything you will need to know before joining an MMA gym, so whatever your goals are, from hobbyist to potential champion, there will be something to help you. What’s more, if, after the 8-week course, you decide you want to take it up a notch and approach a gym, I will help you to find one in your area.
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