Those who don a martial arts gi and pursue the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) discipline do so for many reasons. Some are attracted to Mixed Martial Arts as a means of getting fit or to develop discipline in their daily lives. Others see appeal in its capacity for bringing the body and mind into healthy harmony. Many are drawn to MMA by the chance to compete, while still others simply wish to learn self-defense. Some feel the allure of prestige which comes from rising through the ranks of the Mixed Martial Arts discipline and becoming a true master of the martial arts. It is important to understand your motives, so that you can make realistic goals for yourself before you even first put on your martial arts gi.
Getting Ready for MMA
There are some preliminary steps you should take as a precursor to studying Mixed Martial Arts. Begin by taking time to visit the martial arts schools in your area. Most gyms will allow you to observe a class before making up your mind – take advantage of this and audit any schools you are considering. Never just pick one at random out of the phone book or an online listing. Even schools that teach the same martial arts styles can vary widely in approach, atmosphere, and even cleanliness. Martial arts instructors, themselves, vary in personality and approach to teaching. Take the time to shop around and find a school that feels right to you.
Once you settle on a gym and instructor that suit you, try to schedule a time to talk one-on-one with the coach before you enroll. Talk to you teacher about what supplies you will need (such as your martial arts gi) and ask him or her to help you set some healthy, realistic goals for your progress. Having goals will help keep you focused and reduce the risk of early burn-out. At times, the progress between belts may seem slow, so having smaller, intermediate goals is a great way to keep your motivation high.
There is some basic gear you will need, regardless of what gym you end up at. You will definitely need to purchase a uniform (an MMA gi). Most MMA schools require students to wear a traditional white (or possibly black) martial arts gi. Check with your instructor before purchasing a martial arts gi, because there can be some variation in uniforms. Any patches worn by students of the gym and belts, as your advance in degree, should be provided by the school (with cost covered by your tuition).
When you do purchase your martial arts gi, invest in a high quality uniform. A good martial arts gi should be constructed of sturdy fabric and have strong stitching. A MMA gi needs to be flexible, yet durable to withstand the rigors of MMA.
Besides your MMA gi, you are also likely to need several types of gloves and other protective gear eventually. Gloves can be of several types: MMA, boxing (usually 16 oz.), bag, and focus mitts. Other safety gear includes: a mouthpiece, shin and rash guards, Thai pads, head gear, a sports cup, and fight shorts. Of these items, the mouthpiece, head gear, and boxing glove are the most immediately important for beginners. Other equipment can be picked up as you advance. As with your MMA gi, treat this equipment as an investment and get the best quality gear that you can.
The MMA Lifestyle
To be successful in MMA you have to approach it as a lifestyle, not a hobby or simple pastime. Be consistent in your class attendance. Practice on your own and make personal practice time and class time fixed items on your regular schedule. The more consistent you are, the easier it becomes to stay on track. The more you stay on track, the more quickly you develop your skills. Whatever your reason for taking up Mixed Martial Arts, if you take it seriously, make smart goals, and stay consistent, you will succeed. You will find yourself wanting to do more and to stretch yourself to the limit. Even more, you will find that you are filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment every time you slip into your martial arts gi.