Are you a fan of mixed martial arts? Have you always wanted to test yourself by trying this tough and entertaining sport?
As a fan of the sport, you know that where fighters train is important. The best fighters have the best trainers and training partners. So, if you want to start training, finding the right gym is crucial.
But how do you choose a good place to train? Here are some things you should look for in an MMA gym.
What Martial Arts Do They Specialize In?
These days there are many gyms out there that say they teach “MMA.” But MMA isn’t really a martial art. It’s the combination of multiple forms of martial arts. MMA can involve techniques from wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Boxing, Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, and many other martial arts.
While some trainers believe that teaching MMA as its own sport is beneficial, most combat sports professionals suggest training in the individual martial arts first. Most people who want to train MMA start with a grappling martial art and a striking martial art. This builds the basis for a ground game and a stand up game in MMA.
Training these martial arts separately allows you to focus on the techniques of each of them before you think about combining them for MMA training. Once you’re proficient in the specific martial arts you’re training, then you can start to combine those skills for use in MMA.
So, choosing a gym that trains “MMA” is probably not the best choice. Look for a gym that offers programs for multiple styles of martial arts. A good MMA gym should at least offer classes in Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Boxing. Gyms that also offer Judo, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai are excellent choices. Click here for more information about which classes a good MMA gym should offer.
They should also offer an MMA class that teaches you how to combine techniques from the individual martial arts into a comprehensive MMA game.
If you’re looking to get an amateur fight at some point, you should choose a gym that offers personal training. You’ll need to work one on one with a trainer to develop your own MMA game.
What Are the Instructors’ Qualifications?
The most important thing to look for in a martial arts gym is the qualifications of the instructors. Learning the right techniques the right way is essential for progression within a martial art and for safety. So, you want to make sure that your trainers have the best qualifications possible.
Many martial arts have their own ranking systems, which show how far an athlete has progressed in their training. Look up the ranking systems for each martial art you want to train then look up the ranks of the gym’s instructors. Each instructor should have a bio on the website that lists their qualifications. They should be high-ranked within their martial art if they’re teaching classes.
If the martial art you want to train doesn’t have a structured ranking system, check the instructor’s bio and see how long they’ve been training. To be an instructor, they should have multiple years of experience training in their martial art. They should also list where they received their training. Check and see if they received their training from a qualified athlete.
If you can’t find information about the instructors’ qualifications, don’t train at that gym. You can easily injure yourself if the instructor isn’t teaching techniques properly or providing adequate supervision in class.
Making sure that you’re learning from well-trained instructors is the single most important aspect of choosing where to train.
What Are the Rules About Sparring?
Most people who want to train MMA want to get in the ring or the cage with another person and actually fight. Many don’t want to put in the time hitting the bags and training on the mats before they spar.
But becoming proficient at each technique before you spar is essential for safety. And any good MMA gym knows and enforces this.
When you’re researching places to train, ask them about their sparring policy. They should have a rule in place that requires you to take a certain amount of classes before you’re allowed to spar. They should not allow anyone to come in off the street and spar immediately.
Any gym that doesn’t require you to take some classes before you spar isn’t as concerned with your safety as they should be. Even if sparring is your primary reason for training, you shouldn’t jump into it before you’re ready—for your safety and the safety of others. And you shouldn’t go to a gym that would let you spar before you’re ready.
Does Their Schedule Work for You?
Training Mixed Martial Arts takes a lot of time and dedication. Even if you never plan on taking an amateur fight, you’ll need to train multiple times a week to make progress. So, you’ll need to find a gym that offers multiple classes in multiple martial arts styles each week.
Depending on your schedule, you should be training 2-5 times a week. At the very least, you should start with 2 classes a week. One should be a grappling class—Wrestling or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu—and one should be a striking class—Boxing, Kickboxing, or Muay Thai.
Ideally, you would go to three classes a week—a grappling class, a striking class, and an MMA class. With this training schedule, you’ll be able to work on grappling and striking techniques separately and specifically once a week and work on combining these skills in MMA class once a week.
So, find a gym that offers these classes when you can attend them. Almost all gyms have evening classes that are easy to get to after work. Many gyms also have morning classes you can attend before work. Whether you train in the morning or evening doesn’t matter. It just matters that you can get there consistently each week.
Picking the Best MMA Gym for You
If you’re serious about training Mixed Martial Arts, choosing the right MMA gym is crucial. Picking a gym that offers multiple styles of martial arts, taught by qualified trainers, with a schedule that fits your life will help you succeed in your training.
For more information about picking health and fitness services that help you perform your best, check out the Health and Fitness section of our website.