Do or Die!
Mixed martial arts competitions such
as the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Pride, and many other similar
events are becoming increasingly popular at an alarming rate.
Even though it is a relatively new fighting sport to most people,
it is beginning to establish itself among the full contact giants
such as boxing and wrestling, which have been around for years.
Mixed martial arts is catching on for numerous reasons. For one,
it is a much more dynamic sport than its cousins, boxing,
kickboxing, and wrestling. It combines attributes of all of these
sports, and due to its multi-dimensional appeal is , in my opinion,
a bit more exciting to watch. MMA events are on the way out of
their infancy and headed towards center stage!
One important aspect of achieving this
will be to get the training methods up to par with those of other
popular sports. In this day and age we have a myriad of trainers
who are under the notion that traditional training, which has
in fact worked for many years, is worthless, and should be avoided
when training athletes. For example, I have met dozens of trainers
working with athletes who think that doing cleans
to develop explosive power is too dangerous. Instead they stick
solely to limited range of motion exercises that dont teach
the body to work as a whole unit as well in addition to overusing
stability balls and bands (which Arik discussed this week several
times). The main question that comes to my mind is, who is spreading
this propaganda to trainers and teaching this crap? Unfortunately
the bulk of the educational community for trainers is directly
responsible for these ill-conceived training philosophies. I can
attest to this personally as I have witnessed this time and time
again while earning my Exercise Physiology degree at a well known
university. Many instructors I have encountered are either 1)
informationally outdated or 2) dont have the practical experience
to truly comprehend what they are trying to teach. These things
do have a time and a place, but so do traditional training techniques
and exercises. The mission is to put it all together to create
the most effective training regimen for the sport in question,
in this case mixed martial arts training.
For those who are not yet familiar
(say, if youve been in a cave for the last five years),
MMA or mixed martial arts is a true blend of techniques from wrestling
(freestyle, Greco-roman, folk style, and catch-as-catch can),
boxing, kickboxing, and other grappling sports such as judo, and
jiu-jitsu. What most people tend to consider martial arts such
as karate or kung fu often times arent very prevalent in
reality combat or mixed martial arts training. Mixed martial arts
was actually invented or brought to life in ancient Greek Olympics
and games. It was first called Pankration and was a combination
of two most exciting combat sports in those days, boxing and wrestling.
Pankration was the most popular sport in the ancient Greek Olympics.
Many other events have managed to carry through into today Olympics,
but after all these years, Pankration is finally making a comeback
through No Holds Barred and MMA competitions. In ancient Greece,
Pankration experts truly practiced both boxing and wrestling.
Today it has become much more complex, as there are so many new
fighting styles that have come along since those days. To be truly
competitive in MMA one must have an understanding of all of these
aspects of fighting.
So what does this mean to the trainee?
It really must be dissected, examined and put back together as
a whole. How do boxers train? How do collegiate or Olympic wrestlers
train? What do judo practitioners do to train for the Olympics?
What does a world class kickboxer do to come in on top of his
game? Since all of these different sports are represented in one,
does that mean a person has to apply all of the training techniques
from each individual sport? That would be ridiculous. There are
however aspects of each that will be applied.
The sport today is lacking a good formatted
and regimented training protocol, especially in the weight training
department. These athletes need to be hit the perfect training
routine for strength, conditioning, and preservation. What do
I mean by preservation? This sport is very demanding and if a
person doesnt do some conditioning in a lower impact way
they will put their body out of commission very early in their
career. It is as simple as picking out proper exercises and drills,
and putting them into a routine that gradually builds the intensity
leading up to a fight or competition. But, it has to make sense
and be done correctly. Just as Tiger Woods is not doing 1-3 rep
max bench presses to failure to improve his golf swing, a mixed
martial arts competitor really has no business doing concentration
curls to improve the peak on his biceps. A fighter is only as
good as his technique, his strength, and his conditioning. Improving
all of these aspects in a fighter while staying healthy and injury
free is the name of the game.
In part two of this series we will
break down the individual aspects of mixed martial arts training
and start putting together an intelligent training schedule that
makes sense. We will examine the pieces that are involved to muster
up this sort of training regimen and will help create the ideal
athlete for this sport. This will also be a great workout routine
for the average person who wants to improve in traditional martial
arts and simply increase their general level of fitness. Until
next time, keep training hard, on the mat and in the weight room!