MMA Beginners Guide

Beginners Guide to MMA and the Gear You Need

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is the fastest-growing sport in the world and with good reason. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has been regularly rising in popularity the last few years thanks to mainstream stars like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey and as a result, more and more people are looking to get into training in MMA.

Whether one wants to legitimately practice it and go on to compete, simply train for recreational purposes or want to be part of a community and make new friends, it can be a very rewarding experience as a whole.

However, it’s not like other sports like soccer or basketball where you can just casually take part. It is a combat sport after all and can be dangerous without the right knowledge, preparation and approach. And as the name suggests, there are multiple martial arts involved.

So with that said, here is a beginner’s guide as well as all the gear you will need to get started on your MMA journey.

What is MMA?

Mixed martial arts is a combat sport that sees fighters utilize three main fighting components which include striking, grappling and ground fighting. Unlike other sports like boxing or kickboxing, which is focused solely on one discipline, mixed martial arts uses a wide range of disciplines. 

That is one of the reasons for its popularity — you can see a karate specialist take on a jiu-jitsu black belt or a judo specialist take on a boxer. Styles make matchups and MMA sees plenty of unique ones.

Only the very best are well-rounded to some degree in all areas and disciplines.

Can you train in MMA without watching the sport?

You can certainly train in MMA without watching promotions like the UFC, Bellator or ONE Championship to name a few. That said, it would certainly help to watch a few fights here and there to get a grasp of how it’s actually fought along with learning all the terminology among other things just to give you a headstart.

Plus it’s just cool to see how the professionals excel and innovate in the sport you’re currently training or will be training in.

What are the main fundamentals/components of MMA?

As previously mentioned, the main fundamentals or components of MMA include striking, grappling and ground fighting. You may think that the latter two are the same but there are differences.

  • Striking → involves attacking your opponent using all the legal parts of your body. That means using your hands, elbows, feet and knees to throw punches and kicks among other techniques. Headbutting is not allowed while kicks or knees to the head of a grounded opponent are also illegal depending on the jurisdiction of the fight.
  • Grappling → involves making contact with your opponent by gripping or seizing them. The main goal of grappling is to get in a better position than your opponent to allow you to have a better chance of inflicting damage or sinking in a submission. It usually includes takedowns and ground control but grappling can be done on the feet as well, particularly when it comes to clinching the opponent.
  • Ground fighting → involves action on the ground where grappling as well as striking techniques can be used. The main discipline used on the ground is Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but there are plenty of others such as wrestling, sambo and judo to name a few.
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Do you need to train in all three major components of MMA?

Technically, you don’t. Unless you’re a professional fighter or are sparring with a partner, it is highly unlikely you will ever train in all aspects of MMA at the same time. However, if you only train in certain disciplines such as boxing, you’re not really training in MMA either. You’re training solely in boxing.

That said, you can certainly have your preferences.

What are some of the disciplines of MMA I can train in?

There are a wide range of disciplines in MMA you can train in. To name just a few:

  • Boxing
  • Muay Thai
  • Kickboxing
  • Judo
  • Wrestling
  • Brazilian jiu-jitsu
  • Sambo
  • Taekwondo
  • Karate

When it comes to MMA today, the four main ones any top-level fighter should be at least be competent in are boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling. But as mentioned before, very few are equally good at all four and it’s certainly possible to succeed even with just two or three of them.

What are the benefits of training in MMA?

There are a number of benefits to training in MMA. For one, it’s exercise and so, will keep you active, release those endorphins and erase your stress or worries. Not to mention, help you lose weight or build muscle. As a result, it will also help instill discipline in yourself.

There’s also the fact that it will help you learn self-defense and make you more confident in general. After all, many of the best fighters today started training because they were getting bullied or were shy. And what better way to get rid of that by actually being able to handle yourself in unarmed combat?

Lastly, training in it will allow you to meet new people in the gym, make friends and truly be part of a community.

What are the steps to get started in training MMA?

You now know the basics of MMA, but what do you do to actually get started training it? Do your research first. Check to see if there are any MMA-focused gyms near your location. If there isn’t, see if there are gyms that focus on certain discipline. Check their rates and timings and see if you can fit it in your budget and schedule. Watch videos online of people training and sparring. See if it’s something you can actually see yourself doing.

It’s one thing to be a fan of MMA or wanting to train in it, but it’s an entirely different thing actually training in it on a consistent basis. There is no point going just for a class or two, unless you simply want to see if you can handle it. The key is consistency.

What gear do I need for MMA?

Once you have done all that, it’s time to get geared up. What gear you specifically need depends on the gym and what courses or disciplines you will be training in initially. But if you are fully focused and set on starting your MMA journey, you will need the following:

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