Martial Arts for Beginners Tips from the Top 3 Day Series / Day 3
No matter which Martial Art or Combat Sport you want to start training in, Martial Arts for beginners tips may help it not feel as daunting. This is especially helpful for adult beginners. The very nature of these disciplines is physical and from the outside they can often appear intimidating. It is very common to feel clumsy, inadequate or even downright stupid when first starting out. However, the old cliche is true, every black belt was once a white belt.
As hard as it might be, you have to go through a period of being terrible at it before you can ever be great at it. This obviously can feel more difficult in Martial Arts as the resistance based training (such as sparring, grappling or wrestling) can often see you pitted against those with more experience in a one Vs one context, where you can often feel poor in comparison.
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..
Greg Wootton - Muay Thai World Champion and Coach at Stars Gym
Consistency. Keep training regularly throughout holiday seasons, busy work periods and after fights. It’s doesn’t have to be hard sessions but consistency will 100% pay off.
Learn from everyone. Every coach, training partner and pad holder can teach you something. Don’t be too arrogant to think you know better. Stay humble and learn at every opportunity.
Be Objective. When learning techniques or strategies try to stay objective about yourself. Will these techniques work for your build and size? Realistically do you have the physical attributes to pull off these techniques? Some can be worked on, sometimes you need to develop your physical attributes in order to make the techniques effective and sometimes the technique isn’t right for your style of fighting/size. Bear this in mind early on in training to help form your style.
Don’t skimp on your body. Injuries don’t always disappear. Sometimes you might need to see someone (doctor, Physio, Osteopath, masseuse etc) or ask sometime who knows more or research how to fix your body. If not muscular imbalances, lack of mobility, damage can catch up with you preventing you from training/fighting and ultimately improving.
George Mann - World Champion and renowned Muay Thai Talent
1. Find a gym that you can call home, a positive vibe and energy will always help. This doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or seasoned pro.
2. Look into the tradition of the sport. It shows a lot of fighters express respect & gratitude to their opponents, team mates and coaching team.
3. Most importantly, have fun. Whether you are doing basic training, sparring, interclubs or fights, if you enjoy yourself it doesn’t seem so hard!
4. Every day is a learning day. Sometimes you will feel on top of the world, and others you will feel deflated. Keep pushing and you will seek the rewards in the end. We all have different things that motivate us, losing weight can be one!
5. I feel that we all have our own experiences, Muay Thai has and will give me wonderful opportunities. Go find yours!
6. Muay Thai teaches discipline. Waking up early on the weekends or going to the gym after work can be a challenge however it will build your mental attributes without you realising it!
7. 100% recommend Muay Thai for kids. I started as a 7 year old kid who just wanted to play. 13 years later I am in love with the sport. If you have a son or daughter, get them involved. It may change their life without you realising just yet!
8. Understand you don’t need to be fit before you join. All trainers are specialised and their job is to get you fit!
9. Put a trip to Thailand on the bucket list. Experiencing Muay Thai over there will enhance your skills from beginner to intermediate within a very short time span.
10. Go to a fight show and watch your team mates perform. This helps with morale within the team and is also a great night out for all!
Dean Reilly - Pro MMA Fighter, BJJ brown belt and coach at the Griphouse
1 - Jiu Jitsu - Be prepared to be confused for most of the next year. And even after that, there’s always someone who can make you confused.
2 - Long term consistency trumps short term enthusiasm. I’ve seen the most unathletic people get better just through sheer determination to turn up and train every day
3 - You don’t need all the kit to start but if you find you’re enjoying your new hobby then get your own kit asap. Don’t be the guy still borrowing the smelly gym kit 2 years into training.
4 - Connected to the last point... You buy cheap, you buy twice. All the main Thai brands equipment will last the average social trainer years. Stick to sandee/twins etc Everlast....that shit nEverlasts!
Bruno Amorim - BJJ black belt and Head coach of the Gracie Barra South Jakarta
I guess I’d say I wish I’d known to focus more on the journey and less on the destination.
Simon McGovern - BJJ black belt and Head Coach of McGovern Academy
1. Enjoy being a white belt. There is no pressure, so embrace the failures and lessons that come with it.
2. Appreciate the value of fundamentals and principles. These will be the things that will carry through for the rest of your journey and everything from there will be based on the work you do now.
3. Don’t worry or concern yourself with what everyone is doing around you, concentrate on yourself and your own journey.
4. There are no secrets, all you have to do is just keep turning up, put in the work, and the rewards will follow. Never undervalue the importance of the simple things done well.
5. When you think about quitting, and every Black Belt has at some point, remember the reasons why you started.
Sari G - Kyokushin Champion and coach at Elite Martial Arts Richmond
The best advice I give to all the new guys that I train is, you're not going to learn how to fight over night, it needs patience, and more importantly, consistency. Repetition is also extremely important and it takes a long time, champions are simply beginners who never gave up.
Martial Arts is not a hobby, it's a way of life and because of this, it's not for everyone. There aren't many people who pay money to go through pain and push their limits, but those who do, become different, they grow as a result of the self imposed hardships they choose to face in training/competing.
The word average is an ugly word, be exceptional and always give it 100%.
If you can do 1 more you can do 10 more. If you dont work for it, your opponent will.
Tom Breese - UFC Fighter and Head Coach at Renegade Jiu Jitsu
My advice is be passionate about what you do and out work everyone. You can have all the talent in the world but without work ethic you will limit yourself.
When you’re not motivated you have to be disciplined to show up to practice. That includes being switched on outside of the gym. Using the internet to research, watch fight footage and study the best fighters.
Jimmy Johnstone - BJJ black belt and Head Coach of Phoenix BJJ
I was chatting to Remco Pardoel (legendary fighter from UFC 1) a while ago and asked him a similar question. He said... "if you are a white belt, keep your mouth shut and train. If you are a blue belt, keep your mouth shut and train. If you are a purple belt, keep your mouth shut and train. If you're a brown belt you teach 1 class per month but apart from that keep your mouth shut and train"
There are lots of little things that would be useful in helping students know what to do early on. I started competing almost straight away which is something I would recommend. Some people leave it too long and they put pressure and expectation on themselves making it harder to commit and far less enjoyable.
Don't talk when the coach is teaching. I'm not down at all with the whole sensei is God thing but from a practical point of view, if the coach doesn't like you, you will have an uphill battle. The more respectful and enthusiastic you are, the more he will be willing to help and guide you above and beyond what is covered generically in class.
Andrew Holland - Judo black belt and Owner/Founder of theselfdefenceexpert.com
"Mirror What You Want To Be"
My top tip on training in Martial Arts is to look for someone who is the top in your discipline and mirror them.
To do this go and get a notebook, next start to find out all you can about them.
Read about their journey and try and find out what you can about their
What do they eat, what time do they rise.
Next, study their footage, both training and competition.
Make notes about their fights, what techniques they used.
If they have instructional DVD'S buy them, if they have seminars go to them.
Your goal throughout is to try and replicate their moves, their style and become good at the same techniques they excel at. You can alter your style later on.
Why this works. You focus on one task. Knowledge is everywhere online, video after video, blog after blog.
It becomes overwhelming. Instead focus on one person you think is amazing and analyse their game inside and out! This will help you no end.
I hope you have enjoyed Day 3 of this mini series on Martial Arts for Beginners! If you have not read it yet, see Day 1 here, day 2 here!! Let me know what you think in the comments below!!
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