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This past weekend I attended the Resurrection Fighting Alliance card in Milwaukee. If you’re unfamiliar with the organization, they have a number of aims, but one of their major foci is to showcase some great up and coming talent. As I watched a lot of young fighters compete that night, I realized that the future of the sport is bright. The fighters coming up now are much further ahead in terms of skill set than those with the same experience even of five years ago. Despite all positives, once glaring error made itself apparent. In this edition of the Draft Board we’ll analyze one of the most common MMA training mistakes.
We all know that the era of the one dimensional fighter is over. If you’re serious about having success in the sport, you need to train all the different aspects (boxing, jiu jitsu, wrestling etc.) Just because you train all the different disciplines, though, doesn’t mean you’re training right. What do I mean? Well, as I watched those fights, I noticed a lack of fluidity in the transitions. Mixed Martial Arts should be treated as its own sport, not a sum of its parts. Just because you divide the day into muay thai, jiu jitsu and wrestling practices, it doesn’t mean that you’ve suddenly learned how to utilize all of them together. If you only learn striking without adding the grappling element, you’ve only learned how to be a kickboxer, not an MMA striker.
I’ll use an example to make things clearer. One of the fights featured a guy with a clear wrestling advantage. His striking had no obvious faults, but it did nothing to help him fulfill his gameplan. There was an obvious disconnect between his striking and grappling. When he decided to try to bring the fight to the ground, his stance changed and he telegraphed it. It was like he had two different settings. He eventually secured the win, but it made things much more difficult than it had to be.
Does this mean that I’m advocating the elimination of specialized training sessions? Absolutely not. What you should consider the next time you’re sparring is to make it full rules (excluding elbows and knees to the face). this way, you’ll be able to see how to blend all your techniques together. Even when you’re doing technique drills, combine different elements. With so many things to learn to make it in MMA, it may seem overwhelming. Don’t worry about learning 1000 different techniques. Especially early in your career it’s all about doing a few things well. If you train the transitions and the ability to flow from one discipline to another, you’ll already be miles ahead of your competition.