I have been approached by several media outlets over the past year asking if the popularity of MMA, bred by reality shows like, The Ultimate Fighter ( on SPIKE http://www.spike.com/show/22307 ) and Fight Science (on The National Geographic channel http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/fight-science ) has driven more students to train MMA. The answer is Yes! Every couple of years there is some form of media attention that creates a frenzy that drives people into martial arts schools. It started with the Karate Kid, then it was The Teenage Mutant NInja Turtles, then Kung Fu theatre, then Krav Maga's presence in movies like Enough and Tomb Raider, and even Kung Fu Panda. The martial arts business model on some level relies on cyclical media exposure to inspire and motivate.
Beyond the actual studying of various arts and combat sports that you get to do in MMA, is the integration of athletic training concepts which really makes modern martial arts and MMA the best workout ever. It is well-rounded, comprehensive and rewarding. If you really do it right - you will have the most balanced workout regiment out there. Examples of some of my MMA training classes that cater to a non-contact crowd are below. I do not believe that everyone should have to spar if they practice. There has to be a controlled level of contact drills however, no different than a boxing mitt class (I hold for you, you hold for me) or using a partner to aim and practice ground positions and basic submissions. But with rock solid instructors who have a strong background in the various sports and understand the responsibility you have to a student-body, you can do MMA training without the exposure of injury that is unavoidable when fighting.
Although my school (http://www.powkickboxing.com
) has been a MMA training center for 9 years, the popularity has been great for me because it has justified a program I believed in 10 years ago. I have always cross-trained within the martial arts instead of sticking to only one style. My path in the martial arts has lead me down the traditional, loyal experience as well - I have remained committed to styles like karate, kung fu, tae kwon do and jiu jitsu; but I think I have been the happiest in the martial arts since I practiced and trained them all side by side.
Although the traditional martial arts are not represented in MMA, they have and will continue to give me an edge in appreciating how things evolve and give me a solid foundation for understanding several methods of training. I have given you a slide show of various exercises and drills that are incorporated in most MMA training or conditioning classes. Of course, each instructor puts their personal twist on things and focuses on their favorite aspects of conditioning. Personally, I love doing ground training drills like, arm bar abs, bear crawls, four point base, and striking the ground dummies; and I'll take mitt drills and jump rope any day of the week over conventional exercise. But some of my co-workers love the sprawl training and clinch work and put a lot more of that in their classes than I do - it is all good. That is why several of us teach the same class so in the course of a week a student experiences all areas of the training regiment. Additionally, the classes include all the supportive sport-specific exercises that use, climbing ropes, stairs, peg walls, medicine walls, kettle bells, functional cable machines and flexibility stretches. There are so many areas of training, technique and conditioning required for MMA athletes that you can experience the sport without the sparring.
Enjoy these 12 exercises. Do not forget to add stretching, jump rope, explosive squats or lunges, thai pad drills, defensive drills and sprawl training. But this is a good sample of how comprehensive an MMA training class can be.
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