Mixed Martial Arts, otherwise known as cage fighting, is an advanced combat sport that extensively utilizes strength, tactics, and skill to achieve dominance over your opponent. Encompassing a diverse set of fighting styles, MMA is highly effective in terms of defensive and offensive aspects. With roughly 451 million fans worldwide, MMA is considered to be the third most-watched sport after basketball and soccer, according to Nielsen Sports DNA.
A glance at a professional Mixed Martial Artist is enough to deduce how beneficial MMA can be as they showcase discipline, excellent physique, and agility. The benefits of practicing the sport are not limited to your physical state, as they extend to mental health as well. Once you delve into training, you will find yourself challenged, cognitively, spiritually, and emotionally. In this blog, we review 10 reasons why you should train MMA.
1) Teaches you Self-Defense:
If trained in MMA, you are able to carry yourself with a sense of confidence knowing you are equipped with a diverse set of combative skills. The influence of fear starts to diminish, and allows you to better handle situations like robbery or burglary.
There have been several reports where MMA has effectively saved the lives of the victims and their families from burglaries or even armed men. One famous incident was when a burglar and career criminal Richard Melville invaded the home of a professional MMA fighter, Dan LaSavage. In an attempt to attack him, Melville charged towards Dan, but his fighter instincts kicked in, and Dan responded by putting the unfortunate criminal in a chokehold until he passed out. Dan not only successfully saved his own life but the life of his 3-year-old daughter, who was asleep in the house.
The potential of using MMA to defend yourself from any unwanted instances is extraordinary. It is worth the time and effort to train MMA to protect yourself and the ones you love if ever required.
2) Reduces Body Fat and Improves Physique:
An MMA workout consists of intense, full-body exercises. There has always been a widespread belief that MMA is best for just cardio. However, that is not true. In fact, it works on all three major types of workouts; metabolic conditioning, cardio training, and strength training. These training routines ensure reduction in body fat, burn a substantial amount of calories, and improve your overall build.
Although the workouts might not be straightforward for most newcomers, it proves fruitful once you start adapting to them. Anyone, whether they have been working out regularly or are trying to get back into shape, can witness an impressive improvement in body physique through MMA’s activities. Such training exercises strengthen both upper and lower parts of the body. Some examples of include the following:
- Clinch pull-ups to improve the strength in your wrist. This allows you to grapple your opponent more effectively.
- Rope Climbs strengthens your upper body, mainly your wrists and biceps
- Push Press is an essential exercise to work on your upper body with the use of dumbbells
- Plyometrics depth jumps is a leg workout, mandatory for stability and balance
MMA workouts have proven to be one of the most effective ways to burn calories. For someone weighing 180 pounds, an MMA workout can burn up to 817 calories an hour. For comparison, that’s equal to running for an hour straight with a speed of 6 mph (10 min mile). After a workout like that, you’re bound to be fit, healthy, and have an impressive body figure.
3) Increases your Stamina and Balance:
Enhanced stamina is considered a priority in MMA, especially if you look to last several 5 minute rounds during a professional bout. Developing the ability to put your body to work for prolonged periods is highly focused on in MMA, not just for professional fights but for sparring, friendly matches, and intense training sessions as well. As you train, your body gradually overcomes fatigue, weathers more intense conditions, and feels more energetic overall.
As a complement to stamina, balancing is a critical factor in MMA; without proper balance your defensive capabilities become extremely limited. Your opponent will exploit such a weakness to knock you out or choke you. This is why MMA training equips you with solid balancing ability, which helps you stand guard more efficiently. Since you have to utilize all your limbs to inflict blows, you learn how to balance your movements according to your body’s kinetic chain.
4) Teaches you Discipline:
Mixed martial arts is more than just punching, kicking, and grappling an opponent. It is a combat sport—and just like all organized games, you are taught to abide by a series of rules and regulations. As you obey these rules to avoid fouls and severe injuries, you simoustanly teach yourself self control, patience, and mindfulness.
Evidence of discipline in MMA would lie no further than Mark Hunt, a top tier New Zealand mixed martial artist and former kickboxer. He had been in and out of jail twice for violent offending. According to him, MMA had saved his life and the choices he made with it as he was able to discipline himself by taking out his aggression through MMA.
The struggle to develop your skill set forces you to be focused and intentional with your interactions. You avoid unhealthy foods, train with consistency, and manage your time better. Moreover, training MMA exposes you to a high degree of commitment to those around you. As a trainee, you can relate to the blood, sweat, and tears fellow athletes have had to contribute towards learning the combative art.
5) A Mind-Relaxing and Stress-Releasing Sport:
There’s no doubt about it; physical activities that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can be remarkably stress relieving. They increase endorphins throughout your body, which are hormones responsible for relieving stress or discomfort. The body is capable of functioning more efficiently once the stress is released.
While hormones increase in your body as you're training MMA, you’re also able to release aggression and relax your brain in the process. Taking your aggression out is necessary for maintaining a calmer and more stable mind; of course this should be released in a controlled environment—for many, that's precisely what an MMA gym offers.
A relaxed mind better maintains concentration during everyday tasks, allowing you to perform your duties more effectively. Moreover, it pushes you towards a better version of yourself, helping you acquire a positive attitude. Tackling all sorts of problems becomes much easier with the patience you gain from training. In the words of Gandhi, "Your body is a temple for your mind, body and soul. So nourish it with only happy thoughts, good health and positive energy."
6) Covers Multiple Fighting Techniques:
When taken to the ground, many people start to panic as the defensive options are limited then. MMA is one of the few fighting styles that covers all aspects of fighting, whether you’re standing or grounded. You learn to defend yourself after you’re knocked down. You're also taught how to counter takedown attempts.
MMA inherits a vast number of combative arts . This allows a well-trained mixed martial artist to counter every other stance and technique. The primary arts used in MMA include:
- Muay Thai is one of the most fundamental fighting styles used in MMA. It is an extremely bountiful striking martial art requiring the combined use of fists, elbows, knees and shins. Muay Thai is easy to learn and is compatible for all ranges in standup fighting. It equips MMA with a diverse set of devastating striking tools leaving your opponents immobilized.
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a combat sport based on ground fighting and forcing submission through joint locks. MMA acquires most of its ground game from BJJ as it is typically more self-defense oriented. In MMA, skillful ground techniques are rewarded with easier submission from choke holds or joint locks, making BJJ an effective tool for MMA
- Boxing is one of the most well-known and most trained combat styles. It mainly focuses on throwing punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time while avoiding your opponents attacks through bobbing and weaving or guarding. MMA attains the attributes of boxing such as head movements and proper footwork techniques which is a useful skill to learn for defense.
- Karate is a type of Japanese martial art which invloves kicking, striking, and defensive blocking with arms and legs. UFC stars like George St-Pierre, Stephen Thompson , Lyoto Machida, and Chuck Liddell all had trained in karate and utilized it in combat. They effectively use their Karate to manage distance and win rounds using sidekicks and hook kicks.
7) Enhances your Reflexes:
A reflex is an action performed in response to a sudden movement without conscious thought. Despite the important role your mind plays, in some instances it's best to leave reaction to muscle memory. This can be achieved through persistent reflex training, and mental exercises. These exercises include action/reaction combination drills, slow sparring, and using reflex balls and color balls.
There's no better way to speed up reaction time than to physically train your body to perform responses at will, which is the essence of MMA training. While enduring MMA exercises, you're firing up the central nervous system just like you would if you were naturally responding to a stimulus. Through such practice, your reflex will improve tremendously and you’ll notice faster reactions in various occasions of your daily life. Over time, you’ll also notice greater footwork speed and agility.
The martial arts discipline enforces mobility, which is another great way to improve your body’s ability to move faster and more efficiently. In the end you will find yourself capable enough to react without much thought, and able to meet desired reflexes in a fraction of time.
8) Builds your Confidence and Self-Morale:
Martial arts for self-defense or as a hobby, becomes much more than just a physical activity. The confidence you feel knowing that you are able to defend yourself in any compromising situation has a morale boosting effect.
This reliance on yourself leads you to have more faith in your abilities and you start dealing with issues more confidently. Intense physical training with a targeted approach on mindfulness, can develop your mental prowess which enhances your process of decision making.
Mixed martial arts success isn’t just about looking great. As we’ve mentioned before, It’s also about developing your ability to focus and think. Makes you more positive in your approach to any situation as a result you feel confident and in control.
9) Coordination of the Entire Body:
Physical coordination undoubtedly influences performance and reflexes in sports and in daily life. MMA increases coordination by making you more conscious about your body and how to better maneuver your anatomy. Workouts that help with coordination include jump roping, target kicking, footwork drills, hitting the speed bag or double-end bag, etc...
MMA is one of the few sports that requires the participation of your entire body. For an offensive approach, both your arms and hands are used to punch, elbow, or grapple your opponent and both your legs for throwing a series of powerful kicks and knee strikes to knock your opponent down or, preferably, knock them out. If they lose balance and fall, you can transition to ground control, where potential submissions require tremendous coordination and balance.
In a defensive play, however, you use your arms to guard your face, particularly your nose and chin, and upper body, while spacing yourself correctly from your opponent through constant movement from your legs. The coordination of your limbs helps immensely, even if you’re in a grounded state and are struggling to defend yourself then.
The collective operations performed from all your body parts enhances your coordination and decision-making skills. You level up your instincts about what combinational strikes will dominate your opponent or what series of movements should be performed to space yourself from them during defensive play. With training MMA, you will develop endurance, muscular strength, and body coordination that only a handful of other sports and physical activities can accomplish.
Furthermore, increased coordination from MMA workouts will help you improve assessing distance, space, speed, timing, concentration and changing angles.
10) Increases body flexibility:
Flexibility is one of the most important aspects of MMA that will improve your performance and increase your resistance to muscle and ligament injuries. MMA athletes are able to attempt moves that athletes cannot, such as a crab-leg takedown.
For getting into positions that require a good level of flexibility such as head kicks and grappling scenarios, MMA athletes practice various flexibility enhancement exercises. Being flexible gives them more edge and less exposure to injury or any physical mishap. On one hand It allows Taekwondo artists to kick high and on the other, it grants Jiu-jitsu artists with greater mobility and speed. It reduces the risk of injuries thereby increasing the chances of great scores and more wins.
There are endless reasons why Mixed Martial Arts is one of the best vehicles to a healthy mind & body, regardless of age or gender, if you’re new to combat sports or already well-experienced in it. You’re bound to develop numerous skills and abilities which any normal sport or exercise is unable to teach you. Although MMA is not easy, it definitely is well worth the end result.
The best part is that there is nothing to lose—with the exception of fat. So why not take the opportunity and invest your time to learn MMA? And make sure to check out our website if you’re looking for equipment and gear to help you out with training.
Thanks for reading!