MMA style training is truly one of the best styles of workouts anyone can do. Of course a huge part of it is because MMA will get you into the best shape of your life. Guaranteed. From fantastic cardio to superb strength, to great flexibility to impeccable technique and true skill.
I’ve recently been watching one of the really good “feel good movies” in the past decade with the great Jack Black in “The School of Rock.” There is a hilarious quote in this film where he looks at his “students” – I say this facetiously because Black has basically “forged” his way into a substitute teaching position at the best elementary school in the state.
He looks at them, completely serious, and says that rock & roll is not at all easy. He says, “nothing can be harder…it will test your brain, your head, and your mind, too.” A great line when all three “testing grounds” regard, in fact, your thinking.
MMA, though testing literally every muscle you can imagine, and blowing up your lungs to superior cardio resistance, it, too, will completely test your thinking. Because of the many forms of martial arts you practice, you must put together your own “game.” To do this requires consistent practice, attending seminars, and even studying tapes of actual fights, and tapes of technique training.
So how can MMA help you in your everyday life? I propose the following ways. MMA will help you in these areas:
- Thought Processing
- Planning and Strategies
We live in a world where sometimes it seems like you need the speed of light to keep up with everything in your life. Just drive down any major freeway in any major city, and try and look at the thousands of billboards of advertisements. Try listening to all the major talk radio programs. How about television? And these are just media. How about relationships? Husbands? Wives? Girlfriends and boyfriends? Children – for real – children? Grandparents? Uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces, and on it goes? How about your work? How about traffic? Unbearable summer heat? Unbearable cold winters?
No wonder so many of us see psychologists. No wonder so many of us are on some kind of anti-anxiety or depression medication. It’s been said more than half the nation of adults older than 18 are taking some kind of anti-anxiety or anti-depression medication.
I propose MMA as an effective way someone can help with issues when it comes to patience. You see, as a mixed martial artist, you must have patience. Especially when first starting, and especially when getting ready for a fight or a tournament. You have to be patient with each move. You have to be patient with each training session – because trust me, there are going to be many days when you just do not want to hit the mat or the weights or the track.
Technique. Perhaps nothing tests your patience in MMA as correct technique. According to Clark Gracie, it takes literally 10,000 times of practicing a particular move before it becomes as second nature as breathing or brushing your teeth. If you do, in fact, brush your teeth! But consider that statement – 10,000 times! If you are even a Black-Belt ranked martial artist, how many of you have practiced your own game 10,000 times? Most certainly high-level fighters have done so with many chokes, arm bars, sweeps, and throws. But there is so much to MMA.
It is an endless learning process. As an instructor myself, I never stop learning, and I find, many times, my patience being tested. But after every class I walk away just a little better, and when daily life events hit me, as I mentioned above, I truly deal with them better. I’m more patient, and I have never been a patient man. Just ask my family! But MMA helps – it helps a lot. Try it. You have everything to gain.
Let me be very clear right now regarding this subject, because such discussions can easily become arguments about “religion.” This is not that. You can easily be a spiritual man or woman and not even claim a religion.
Spirituality is something bigger. It is something deeper. It is something inside of you that allows you to believe there really is something out there bigger than you. It allows you to believe you are even being “taken care of” if you will.
I think MMA requires a certain amount of spirituality. MMA is not ballet. It is not swimming. It is not running. It’s a tough, grueling sport that pushes your body and mind in more ways than I can cover here. If you are a spiritual person, and if you do know in your own heart and mind that there is something greater out there, you will have an inner peace that others may not have. To have a spiritual nature about yourself as a mixed martial artist, you will tend to have a more peaceful nature about yourself, a greater confidence (NOT ARROGANCE), and simply a better demeanor in your overall attitude. This will certainly increase your training in MMA, and make you a better athlete, and a better person.
- Arm bars.
- Dominant Positions.
This is a small list for any MMA fighter, for any mixed martial artist. You absolutely must think through each of these when you practice and train, when you fight, and when you prepare for a tournament. You have to think through your opponent’s moves. Like a chess match, many times you have to consider, or think through what your opponent is going to do, before he or she makes the next move.
How do you find an opening for finishing an arm bar? How do get into position for a finishing choke? When is the right time to make that throw, or complete that sweep and move into a solid ground game? What is your own method of increasing your speed? Your strength? How do come to a point where you are in control of “your” game?
Thought processing. MMA is like chess. So is life. Parents have to figure out what their children will do next – there is no manual for parenting. Every driver has to prepare for stops, for turns, for exits, for maneuvers that will eliminate accidents. At work you have to determine what your boss really wants, and if you are the boss, you have to determine how to manage your employees as well as delegate authority to those best to make things happen.
MMA will help you. And that reason is simple: you have to think through so many aspects in your own game. When doing that, you will leave the gym and school with a better “head on your shoulders.” Try it. You’ll see what I mean.
Planning and Strategies
Let me use the chess analogy again with MMA. Does any mixed martial artist doubt that a plan and a strategy is needed to beat your opponent in your next fight, or win match after match in any given tournament?
Absolutely. This is where your own game comes into play. This is where control takes place. This is where patience takes place. This is where thought processing takes place. And even spirituality – everything discussed here is part of your MMA training and your MMA game.
It takes real strategy to master the variety of arm bars. Think about the effective Komura Trap, or forcing your opponent into an Oma Plada. It takes real planning to move into a position for a take down, or even an effective strike – and even, perhaps, move so with a nicely placed kick.
Does your life require planning strategy? And do I even have to answer that question?
Consider giving a solid, effective, sales-oriented presentation in front of a large audience. To begin even drafting such a presentation, you have to plan what to say, plan the best way to reach your specific audience, and then plan how to present it. Do you speak “off the cuff?” Do you use slides and have your audience take notes? Do you use spectacular and eye-catching graphics? All part of planning.
Then there is the strategy. How are you going to approach your audience? What are you going to do immediately to capture their attention so they KNOW they’ll not be bored?
It’s the same thing in every other aspect of your life. You have to plan it. Again, take being a parent. You have to have some kind of plan for each day. And you have to create a certain amount of strategy to complete that plan – even if it doesn’t work.
MMA is a great tool for planning and creating strategies. Take a look again at the basic list I wrote in the Thought Processing section. Every MMA athlete has to plan for each of these moves. And then to make that plan happen, you have to truly work a proven strategy for real success. Win or lose in any match, and having a strong or weak performance in class or practice, you are going to leave the school or gym better, because you will have learned something new, something you need to make your game better.
In life it is the same way. Win or lose on any given day – you will, truly, become better as time goes on. You will learn to be a better driver. You will learn to be a better parent, a better student in school, a better friend, a better colleague, boss, or beginning employee.
If you currently and consistently practice MMA, trust me, using each of these approaches discussed here will better your life.
See you on the mat!
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