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Finding the Right MMA Training Schools

p> One never just starts competing in MMA out of the blue. Typically, a fighter will train several years before he ever steps into the MMA ring.

The most important aspect of starting out in MMA is locating the right place to train. First, conduct a web search and or look in the yellow pages for MMA schools in the area. If you can't find that, search for quality Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools or Muay Thai schools. You can learn some very good fighting skills to start out with. Even a season of wrestling can get you in shape and provide some critical combat experience.

If you are very serious about training in MMA, you may have to join a few different schools like myself to get the complete range of skills you need to compete. I currently train at one school for BJJ, another for Muay Thai, and another for boxing. It is up to me and my trainers to put the skills all together for MMA. At these different schools you will meet other people with various backgrounds in striking and wrestling. Seek out their advice and utilize them as training partners.

When you find a place, make sure the instructor is reputable and knowledgeable about MMA. Ask for their credentials and review their background. Also, speak and train with their students.

Right now, the MMA, BJJ or Muay Thai community is small enough so that an instructor's lineage can always be verified. If after conducting your research, you are still unsure about your potential instructor's credentials, ask for their instructor's information.

Get on the Internet and ask questions in forums found on or They can be very helpful in finding the right school or providing you other relevant information.

You want to join a MMA school that teaches you how to effectively fight from all ranges of combat. That means you will need to know how to proficiently strike, wrestle and grapple on the ground. Also, you must learn the rules of the event you are competing in.

Since getting beat is all part of the training process, a fertile learning environment where people are willing to help improve your overall skills and answer your questions is strongly recommended.

Championship belts or trophies are not a reliable indicator of whether the school is good or not. Great champions and great teachers can be two different things. It has been in my experience that schools with "tough guy" attitudes or the traditional martial arts schools who do not train for real MMA fights, are places where relevant skills are lacking. Those with big egos or people who teach old school and impractical self-defense techniques are often kidding themselves into thinking they know how to fight.

You want to be around fighters who have been in the ring and know what it is like to compete against another skilled MMA fighter. Don't be fooled by wild claims of death touches and ranks. Today's MMA champions are not concerned with black belts or ranking in martial arts systems. They are focused on earning championship belts and sport rankings.

Safety and training smart is a prime consideration when practicing techniques or sparring. Your training sessions, especially your sparring sessions should always be monitored - so nobody gets out of control or gets out of hand. Knowing how to train is just as important as learning the techniques.

Drilling is an important component of training sessions. Practicing the basics and fundamentals can be boring, but this makes the difference between good fighters and great ones. The great ones execute all the little thing perfect where the good ones just become a jack of all trades and masters of nothing. It is imperative that you carry out proper technique without having to do it at full speed or muscle your way through the technique for it to work. Nobody should get injured during drilling techniques. Listen to your instructor and know when it is time to tap out. Learn how to fall properly to avoid injuries.

Being a tough guy when it comes to resisting a move will only get you to the hospital or will take you out of training. It is also important that you let your opponent do the move on you with resistance, so both you and your partner benefit. Later, you will have your time to spar with full resistance. It is ok to tap when sparring and you should certainly tap when drilling submissions. Watch the more advanced students to see how they train and ask them for advice.

When sparring, you and your partner should be under control. You should be aware of your breathe, conscious of your surroundings and not be moving wildly or carelessly. Grunting, flailing arms or legs or employing "cheap" moves like twisting fingers or other small joints, pinching, biting, striking the groin, hard strikes, holding on to submissions or putting on submissions carelessly have no place in training sessions. As a result, you will most likely get kicked out of the school or can make you a target for retaliation.

Your training goal is to always be technical and under control when sparring. This will make you a better fighter and more aware competitor when it comes to the real thing. If you have a problem with a fellow student, be sure to talk to them about it. If that does not work, ask the advice of one of the senior students or instructors.

Kenny Florian

Republished with permission from
Kenny Florian. Please visit Kenny Florian's web site at