Martial Arts for Beginners - Tips from the Top 3 Day Series / Day 1
I have been to countless gyms in lots of different countries through my work on the Warrior Collective. I am also in touch with a lot more because of the digital age we now live in. I can tell you that most of the problems faced by beginners are exactly the same everywhere.
This common issue however has enabled coaches from every discipline to gain a huge amount of experience in seeing what works best for new starters and what doesn't. Couple this with the fact that each of these individuals has also been in the position of being a beginner and you have the perfect combination of factors that allow a real understanding to be developed in this arena.
This short 5 day series is about speaking to a large number of the world's best coaches, fighters and athletes across a wide range of different martial arts/combat sports disciplines in order to pick their brains and see just what advice they would offer in the context of Martial Arts for beginners..
Panicos Yusuf - World Muay Thai Champion and Head Coach of All Powers Gym
Danny Mitchell - UFC Vet, BJJ black belt and Head coach of AVT MMA
Life is short, try different gyms, travel and train abroad, meet other likeminded people, don’t be held back by coaches who try to make you feel bad, coaches who encourage you to go out and learn more are the ones you will benefit from.
After all, martial arts is fun, so go enjoy it and die happy.
Rosi Sexton - UFC Vet and Combat Sports Osteopath
Steve Campbell - BJJ black belt and Head coach of Stealth BJJ
2. Don’t train if you’re not well
3. Start in a class at or below your level. Basics are important
4. Learn the gym etiquette
5. Know the sparring rules
6. Don’t overtrain at the start, it won’t do you any favours
7. Tap early!!
8. Enjoy yourself and skills will come with time.
9. Use YouTube wisely. Too much info can be overwhelming.
10. Higher grades will probably help you more if you don’t try to kill them in sparring (especially when you’re starting off).
Sean Fagan - Champion Muay Thai Fighter and Internationally renowned Blogger
Lucien Carbin - Former Multiple times World Champion and Head coach of Carbin All Styles
Craig Ewers - Judo/BJJ black belt and Head coach of Craig Ewers Academy
A problem for new students is the amount of information available; often it can be tempting to try & study a large number of techniques.
Try to build your game around a central threat; in Japanese Judo this is termed ‘tokui-waza’ it should typically be a major throw such as ‘Osoto-Gari or Uchimata’ in BJJ/Grappling again this should be a high percentage tournament move that can be executed from a number of positions; and perhaps suits your body type or you have had some success with already in training i.e triangle, armbar, guillotine etc.
Try and then base your game around that central technique; entrances into the position; finishing details; countering opponents defensive reactions with secondary techniques etc.
Royston Wee - UFC Vet and coach at Impact MMA
It's important to find a good coach. A coach who is truly a good person, genuinely knows his stuff, and teaches a person based on what he/she is weak at as well as developing strengths. Rather following a cookie cutter "one technique fits all students" kind of approach.
Also, it is very important for beginners to understand the importance of slow. Enjoy the process of movements by slowing it down, making it flow. Fighting, combat/contact sports are not about speed and power all the time. Too many people focus on working on what is least important.
Focus on taking it slow, understanding balance, weight transfer, precision, timing, accuracy, relaxation, proper form. Good technique will get you far, without that, being fit will just make you that, it won't make you a successful fighter.
Casey Jones - BJJ black belt and Head coach of SBG Shropshire
The best people train the most often, period! Sort your life out so you can train as often as possible. Don’t blame work or relationships. People that go in early and work hard generally get given a bit of slack to leave early by their bosses to train.
People that make the effort to support their partners and do what’s important for them generally don’t have a problem spending evenings in the gym because their partners understand and appreciate the efforts they make.
Eli Knight - BJJ black belt and Head coach of Knight BJJ
Breathe. It’s the easiest thing and the hardest thing. Being new to training, or anything for that matter, is stressful physically and psychologically. You’ll be told to relax or be patient or some variation of this. Take that time to focus on your breath.Whenever you can replace an abstract concept with an actionable one, such as focusing on your breath when you’re told to relax, it is a good thing. So if you want to relax, focus on your breath. If you want to attack, focus on your defense first. If you want to win, first figure out how not to lose. Learn how to maintain motivation and direction while not being too emotionally invested in the outcome.
Even at the height of competition or fighting, recognize you have work ahead of you and go to it. The more present you can be in the moment, not excessively stressed about the future or regretful to the past, the more focused and ultimately successful you will be.
I hope you have enjoyed Day 1 of this mini series on Martial Arts for Beginners! Make sure you check back for Day 2 tomorrow!! Let me know what you think in the comments below!!
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