So you’ve seen some MMA fights and you’re now interested in trying it for yourself? Great! MMA is one of the fastest growing sports on the planet at the moment, so now is the perfect time to get involved. Whether you just want a hobby or activity to get yourself in shape, or you want to become a professional fighter, there is a gym that would fit your needs perfectly.
The first step in finding the right gym is understanding your requirements. While most MMA gyms have a good balance between striking and grappling instruction, others focus more on one style or the other. If you just want to learn muay thai and boxing, there may be a pure striking school nearby with top-quality boxing instructors. Similarly, if you’re more interested in grappling or submission wrestling, there is likely a school nearby which focuses more on ground technique and has one or two black belts in Brazilian jiu jitsu as instructors. Typically, a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu will be a top-level competitor and will know the ins and outs of every ground technique. A black belt in jiu jitsu is far more difficult to obtain than a black belt in a traditional karate art. Where someone may be able to receive a black belt in tae kwon do within a year or two, a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt often takes 10 years or more to obtain. This leads me to my next point.
The quality of instruction at a school is mostly dependent on the instructor’s lineage. The instructor’s lineage is essentially who he learned his technique from, and who his teacher learned from. For example, someone may be a black belt under Rickson Gracie, who was a black belt under Helio Gracie, who was a black belt under Carlos Gracie, Sr., etc.. You should research the instructors at all the nearby BJJ gyms to determine their lineage, then research THEIR teachers and see just how impressive each instructor’s resume is. This will generally show the quality of instruction at each gym.
The third and often overlooked factor of choosing the right MMA gym is the gym’s atmosphere. Do you want to train at a gym where you are pushed to your limit in order to be the most competitive and successful that you can be, or would you prefer to train at a gym where everyone is more laid back and relaxed about training, focusing more on having fun? Often the more competitive and impressive gyms will be both more expensive and more serious in their training. You should always visit a gym and try out a class or two there before signing up for paid classes. You don’t want to end up hating your classes and abandoning your training altogether.
The final factor in choosing a gym should be cost. Many gyms can be very expensive month-to-month, up to and often exceeding $100-$120 per month, depending on the quality of instruction and nearby competition. For this reason, many people prefer a more frugal approach of learning material independently through online or DVD instructionals. This is not only cheaper, but can offer some of the best instruction available, as many top-level practitioners have released video tutorials demonstrating the intricacies of their techniques. This material is beneficial for newcomers and experienced practitioners alike, and can take your understanding of the sport to a whole new level. As an experienced martial artist myself, I can attest that DVD instructionals have significantly improved my abilities, and without them I would not be nearly as accomplished as I am today.
Well, I hope this article has helped you in your search for the perfect MMA gym. If this was helpful, you should check out my profile and blog for more tips and articles regarding MMA. Have fun!
I have a passion for learning and teaching martial arts. I currently have a brown belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu and have been studying the art for 6 years. I’ve also been training boxing and muay thai for 3 years. Please visit my blog and feel free to leave comments or ask me any questions you might have.