There are some things you should know before starting to train MMA, in order to make an informed decision and decide if this is really something that you can or should do.
1. Can your body take it?
Before beginning any form of physical activity, you should consult your physician; especially when it is an intense form of activity, such as mixed martial arts training. Even if you feel completely healthy and do not easily tire, you still have to do it. There are lots of serious health problems than can’t be felt until it is too late, and that rigorous training can aggravate.
2. MMA is all about cross-training
In order to be a successful MMA fighter, you have to cross-train. You can’t just be one-dimensional nowadays, as MMA fighting techniques have evolved over the years. If in the 90’s, during the first televised mixed martial arts events, a pure submission grappler such as Royce Gracie was able to dominate other fighters, today you can’t make it if you only know Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Everybody has access to a diverse training and if your game is only based on one dimension, your chances of winning a fight are slim to none. A combination between wrestling (Greco-roman or even freestyle wrestling), Brazilian jiu-jitsu (or another submission grappling art such as catch wrestling or sambo) and muay thai skills is considered to be an ideal blend in MMA and, if you have a background in one of these, you already have a good base to build on.
On the other hand, if you already are a good wrestler, a good submission grappler and a good striker, you won’t necessarily become a good MMA fighter. You still need a specialized MMA trainer to teach you how to combine all of those skills, along with everything else that is specific to the sport.
3. Stay humble
If you have a big ego, think again before joining an MMA gym. You can still do it, but if you can’t be humble in the gym, you will either learn how to do it the hard way, or be forced to leave. Remember that you join a gym to learn something, not to prove the other guys there that you are better than them. That’s not the attitude of a fighter, and not many people tolerate that.
The willingness to learn is probably one the most important attributes of a fighter. You have to learn from your own mistakes, and to remember that sometimes you learn a lot more from a loss that from a win. Do not get mad or discouraged if you always lose during sparring, but try to learn from those experiences until you get better and it is your turn to win.
4. Eat healthy and sleep
Without proper nutrition, training is almost useless. If you decide to begin MMA training, you should know there are some lifestyle adjustments that should be made first. Eating right and drinking lots of water is one of the most important. This will not only allow you to adjust better to training, it will also make you healthier and give you the looks of an athlete.
And you will have to say goodbye to those wild party nights every week. You will need to sleep at least eight hours every night, as proper recovery is the key to not getting injured.
5. Take it easy
Don’t train too much. You have a lot to learn, and that will take a lot of time. There’s the wrestling, the striking, the clinching, the submitting, the conditioning and lots of other aspects that need to be developed. Even if you think you can do it, do not try to take any shortcuts, and train like a mad man from the first week. You will only get injured, and even sick. Three times a week is a charm, until you get used to it and can increase training time.