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#412191 - 11/27/08 10:33 AM Cross training for MMA
creative Offline
Member

Registered: 04/26/04
Posts: 401
Loc: UK
Hey! Haven't posted in a while. Thought I'd bring up the topic of cross training in(for) MMA.
As MMA is a relatively new sport, most accept that we have not seen it anywhere near its fully developed state. Looking at the top athletes in the sport, most have a well rounded game, but most have a strong base in a 'single range' MA e.g. Wrestling, bjj or boxing. These athletes only later added what was missing to become well rounded. Obvious examples are BJ starting with BJJ, Couture/Hughes with wrestling and so on.
Now that MMA has reached a higher level than in the early days, people have seen the need to teach students at all ranges.* Therefore we now have many gyms that are teaching MMA as a 'complete' package. In my experience, MMA gyms I have trained at have a particular strength, be it wrestling/boxing/ground fighting, and have added the other dimensions, BUT nowhere near to the standard of their 'base range'. Sometimes the added dimensions are taught/performed very poorly.

*edit. (Fighers are coming into the sport with 'MMA' being their first art.)

I thought the thread could discuss the following:

Can MMA be taught as a compete package FROM scratch, or must there first be a focus on a given range?

Should ones training environment mostly MMA or mostly individual disciplines? - I believe for example that GSP spends most of his time BEFORE preparing for a fight training in separated disciplines. I believe he trained with the Canadian Olympic Wrestling team also has recently been awarded his BB in BJJ.

Can the non elite but dedicated MAist be 'very well rounded' or will they end up being 'jack of all, master of none'? - How good does your wrestling/boxing/jj need to be when fighting in a complete system?

Finally, is MMA still to young and undeveloped to be taught as a complete system, therefore is cross training inevitable/essential at this point in time? Will this change?

Start where you like!!


Edited by creative (11/27/08 10:36 AM)
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#412192 - 11/27/08 11:34 AM Re: Cross training for MMA [Re: creative]
Kimo2007 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/31/07
Posts: 1057
Quote:

most accept that we have not seen it anywhere near its fully developed state




I agree very much with this statement, and I think this is an excellent post.

The best in the MMA world for the most part up until now have come from other disciplines and adapted for the MMA game. Most, with some exceptions are not very skillful,at least not in more then one aspect, and often us strength and endurance to counter a refinement of skill.

That's not a knock one the sport, thats just the state of it today as it is still evolving.

To the direct question, I think absolutely, if an athlete looks at the sport of MMA and the endgame, they could most certainly train in all areas, and by doing that from a young age you will see the overall full package fighters that will make the fighters of today look the same as we see the black&white athletes of other major sports.

To the question, jack of all trades...I think so, it's like a Decathalon, the people that compete in that are not the best in the world at any individual event, but they are elite in many and not to shabby at others.

I don't expect a MMA athlete to out boxer a pure boxer (all things being equal) or out grapple the top BJJ/Wrestlers.

But who cares, that isn't the sport or the rule set. When you have a truly developed and refined sport, the difference between the middle of the pack and the top, is a micro thin layer.

Think about Phelps, how much faster is he then the next 5 swimmers the world has never herd of? The blink of an eye, maybe 2...and he is the best there has ever been, as best as we can tell.

When MMA develops into a mature sport, they will have to have same laser focus on the game, skill and training that other more developed sports do.

The Lesnars of the world won't happen then, because then for every freak like him, there will be 10 who have trained their whole life for this sport and they are just as big and fast as he is.

Recap YES you can train all aspects (how you do it is an interesting question, personally I would start in BJJ/Wrestling as youngsters then slowly add striking as the body matures and eventually work into a round robin schedule of training with emphasis changing on intervals.
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#412193 - 11/27/08 11:44 AM Re: Cross training for MMA [Re: creative]
Dereck Offline
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Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
I think it comes down to the individual. You are correct in how GSP trains and it works for him. Rich Franklin on the other hand came from no discipline so MMA would be his foundation.

I don't think it will matter too greatly because whether you come from a school that is based on a foundation or not, they both will be breaking down the skills so that certain days will be geared more towards ground work, stand-up, take-downs, etc.

I came from a TKD school that had a huge influence of BJJ and we blended in MMA; in fact had a MMA fight team though they also trained above what we did in normal class. The school I'm currently at trains Muay Thai, BJJ and MMA separate but is most certainly a positive to take them all so that when you do get to the MMA class you have a better understanding; MMA just puts it all together nicely. They also have a fight team; a very successful one that trains separate.

The thing is like myself, everybody is going to have their strong points. I'm better on the ground then stand-up and so that is more of my focus; as will others. This may be what would be considered my foundation then; even though I came from a TKD background. A person going into MMA with no background once finds his strong point then that will be his foundation. The thing is to work from that foundation and expand it to encompass the other aspects of the fight game.

MMA might be missing things but again is new. However many of the older MA are missing things to; so perhaps that is not the right analogy.

When it all boils down I think it will depend on two main factors; (1) the person training and (2) the person training him/her.
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#412194 - 11/27/08 12:14 PM Re: Cross training for MMA [Re: creative]
JKogas Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
creative wrote:
Quote:


Can MMA be taught as a compete package FROM scratch, or must there first be a focus on a given range?





Who knows anymore. The longer I train, the more I've changed my mind on things. Just confirms that ultimately, I don't know squat, lol.

However, IMO, anyone wanting to be reach the highest level should have a mastery over a given range. His game plan should be to acquire/impose that specific range. Mastery simply means depth of knowledge, obtained through almost singular focus on a specific range, as opposed to being a "jack of all ranges", so to speak.

Naturally, the more game you have in the other ranges, the better. But perhaps you use these other ranges/phases to simply facilitate acquiring and imposing your mastered range.

Anymore though, you are having to "game-plan" for specific opponents. You may have to change your given game up according the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent. That said, to reach the pinnacle of MMA, I believe you have to have a mastered range.

Quote:


Should ones training environment mostly MMA or mostly individual disciplines?





Can we use the term "integrated" disciplines instead of MMA? Perhaps that's subtle difference here. In other words, if your chosen range is "stand-up", I believe you have to train that stand-up with the allowance for clinch and ground during those sessions. But, your own objectives may be to stay out of the clinch and off the ground, if you catch my meaning (and vise-versa). I think that perhaps the sessions should be focused, but integrated - having clear objectives.

I've seen people traing with no rhyme or reason. They would start out striking and then abandon the plan and go to the ground. Maybe it's better not to fix what isn't broken, until it breaks. Sometimes jumping around can lead to confusion - which is not a good thing in the middle of a fight (you fight like you train).

Just know what you want to do. Do you want to stand or do you want to take it down? Its probably a good idea to have a clear idea of your prefered style.


Quote:


Can the non elite but dedicated MAist be 'very well rounded' or will they end up being 'jack of all, master of none'? - How good does your wrestling/boxing/jj need to be when fighting in a complete system?





Depends on your goals. If the objective is just self-defense, there's nothing wrong with being a "jack". Still, having a focus based upon natural physiological factors and temperament - while integrating the other ranges - might be the way to go.


Quote:


Finally, is MMA still to young and undeveloped to be taught as a complete system, therefore is cross training inevitable/essential at this point in time? Will this change?






We've seen the complete evolution of things over the history of the UFC. I think the single greatest jump in terms of the next evolution will be coming from the guys who are still in middle and high school who are wrestling and doing jits simultaneously or in the off-season. These guys are going to have a truly high level of submission grappling ability. I think that in the future, you'll see even more submissions (instead of less, as has been mentioned by some) and a greater level of integrated striking.

But that's just trying to look into the magic 8 ball and figure it out. Having a singular purpose or preferred range will always be a critical part of anyone's game, imo.

It's changed with me over the years, based upon whom I've trained with. I started out heavily into grappling and then slowly began to add more stand-up and clinch.

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#412195 - 11/27/08 01:14 PM Re: Cross training for MMA [Re: creative]
matxtx Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 700
Loc: england
It can be taught from scatch though it depends on the instructor and his experiemce ,I think, most of all.Its still evolving and I have not personaly come across too many who could teach it that way but they are out there.I think more will come.
The next generation could be 'pure' MMA I think.The only flaw could be ,like is mentioned ,that if you put the 'pure' MMA fighter under boxing rules and he might get owned.Put him in Sub wrestling and he might get owned.That can be overcome though just realising that could happen and keeping an eye on it and good training.I guess its down to the calibre of the gym and determination of the fighter.
Where I train we kind of seperate at times but keep an eye still on that its NHB.Going further that could,maybe even should,include weapons and surroundings,like a wall to bounce their head off or a table to dump them on etc etc.

Some fighters can specialise and seperate ground and striking and still do it.I think the personality of the fighter comes into it alot.
I have been reading Fedors book and his striking is unorthodox and some of his grappling ideas too.If I posted them as mine Id get jumped on as being wrong haha.But Fedor can do it.Its the same for others.Mindset is important I think.

Idealy your Boxing should be great and BJJ great and I think that should be an aim.Though as MMA they are one.It is striking with the idea of grappling yet also grappling with the idea of striking.Its like a zen puzzle haha.Its actualy one and not seperate.Yet it kind of is seperate.

Where I train we aim very high so defintly aim to be master of all.Dont even worry just aim for it.

Also with MMA we are free to look at runners,gymnasts and any athlete under the sun.Plus any area of mental science.Any area of physiology or biology.ANY area of ANYTHING that could make us just a bit better.Thats why its exciting I think.
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#412196 - 11/28/08 08:45 AM Re: Cross training for MMA [Re: Dereck]
creative Offline
Member

Registered: 04/26/04
Posts: 401
Loc: UK
Cheers for all your replies.
Quote:

I don't think it will matter too greatly because whether you come from a school that is based on a foundation or not, they both will be breaking down the skills so that certain days will be geared more towards ground work, stand-up, take-downs, etc




Yes. My thinking is that in the school with a foundation, BJJ for arguments sake, might be teaching all ranges, BUT teaching the other ranges at a substantially lower level than the BJJ.
Likewise the pure MMA class will likely have a coach who was originally BJJ/Wrestling/Box as the current crop of teachers perhaps did not have the benefit we have now of this exposure to MMA.

This surely makes it difficult for students to gain a higher level in each range. So cross training in a system you may want to improve in may be the easiest answer?

Quote:

The thing is like myself, everybody is going to have their strong points. I'm better on the ground then stand-up and so that is more of my focus; as will others. This may be what would be considered my foundation then; even though I came from a TKD background.




I wonder if you feel your strength is ground work as a result of your training environment. If you dont mind me asking, do you feel wrestling is your weakest area? If you wanted to dramatically improve your wrestling, would you do this solely through your school or cross train with wrestlers/Wrestling based MMA school?
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#412197 - 11/28/08 09:03 AM Re: Cross training for MMA [Re: JKogas]
creative Offline
Member

Registered: 04/26/04
Posts: 401
Loc: UK
Quote:

Quote:


Can MMA be taught as a compete package FROM scratch, or must there first be a focus on a given range?




Who knows anymore. The longer I train, the more I've changed my mind on things. Just confirms that ultimately, I don't know squat, lol




lol. This is why I thought id bring the topic up. If you want to compete MMA you need to train MMA, ofcourse. But things do tend to come full circle and we all started training in one style!!! Seriously though, always interested in training methods and improving them.

Quote:

However, IMO, anyone wanting to be reach the highest level should have a mastery over a given range. His game plan should be to acquire/impose that specific range. Mastery simply means depth of knowledge, obtained through almost singular focus on a specific range, as opposed to being a "jack of all ranges", so to speak.




I can't disagree with you. There are a few points I'd like to bring up though. Mastery of wrestling and mastery of wrestling for MMA are two different things. If the your oppinion is true, should we be striving for mastery in wrestling or wrestling for mma? - and where might cross training come into this?

secondly can mastery only come from 'singular focus on a specific range'? I agree with you when you said:

Quote:

I think the single greatest jump in terms of the next evolution will be coming from the guys who are still in middle and high school who are wrestling and doing jits simultaneously or in the off-season. These guys are going to have a truly high level of submission grappling ability




Which suggests it is possible to gain mastery over more than one range 'from scratch'. Isn't the above cross training!!

lol, I know i'm in the 'what if' domain.

How many f you guys cross train out of interest?
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#412198 - 11/28/08 09:10 AM Re: Cross training for MMA [Re: Kimo2007]
creative Offline
Member

Registered: 04/26/04
Posts: 401
Loc: UK
Quote:

To the question, jack of all trades...I think so, it's like a Decathalon, the people that compete in that are not the best in the world at any individual event, but they are elite in many and not to shabby at others.




most mmaist are elite at one. Some are begining to be elite at 2 ranges, as the competition continues to improve could this begin to be the norm? or is this reserved only for a lucky few!?
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#412199 - 11/28/08 09:17 AM Re: Cross training for MMA [Re: creative]
Dereck Offline
Prolific

Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
Quote:

Quote:

The thing is like myself, everybody is going to have their strong points. I'm better on the ground then stand-up and so that is more of my focus; as will others. This may be what would be considered my foundation then; even though I came from a TKD background.




I wonder if you feel your strength is ground work as a result of your training environment. If you dont mind me asking, do you feel wrestling is your weakest area? If you wanted to dramatically improve your wrestling, would you do this solely through your school or cross train with wrestlers/Wrestling based MMA school?




I was a wrestler in high school and joining TKD I always felt like a fish out of water. While I gained many skills, with BJJ being highly influenced in this program, this gave me something I liked more and what my focus was. So no, wrestling I do not think is my weakest point.

Now if I was to become a MMA fighter I may start with this school but to truly excel I would seek out many sources and train with many people. I would train with wrestlers, boxers, and the like. I would work all areas plus continue to lift weights and improve my conditioning. I would probably seek out a condition coach as well. But all of that has to start somewhere and it would have been these schools.
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#412200 - 11/28/08 09:22 AM Re: Cross training for MMA [Re: creative]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Quote:

To the question, jack of all trades...I think so, it's like a Decathalon, the people that compete in that are not the best in the world at any individual event, but they are elite in many and not to shabby at others.




I disagree with that. Many MMA pros have Olympic/championship level backgrounds in wrestling/BJJ.
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