The popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) continues to pull in more and more people into training in the sport. Although most go to MMA classes, some individuals choose to train alone in the gym or at home.
Can You Train MMA Alone?
Although training alone is not recommended, anyone who has the discipline and desire can train MMA alone. However, it will take a lot of inner-will as well as some experience in MMA to be able to train effectively.
If an individual plans to train alone, this article will provide some essential tips on doing that. Furthermore, the article will expand on individuals who plan to train in MMA without any experience and if learning to fight on your own is possible.
Can You Start MMA With No Experience?
You can definitely start training MMA without any experience whatsoever. In any type of activity, from painting to Olympic lifting, you will most definitely come across a decent amount of people starting with little to no experience. This is also true for MMA.
What people tend to get worried about, aside from the lack of fighting experience, is their physical attributes. Most are afraid that they cannot keep up. But people tend to overlook that MMA is predominantly a sport that centers around technique, So, even if you lack the physical attributes and the fighting experience, you can still start training MMA.
Although many can begin training MMA without any previous experience, knowledge, and familiarity, an understanding of martial arts, as well as physical fitness, would definitely help in the long run. Previous experience can add on to an individual’s growth in MMA.
However, there will even be cases where individuals with prior-martial arts experience develop slower in MMA than new practitioners. This is because individuals with prior-martial art experience would find it difficult to eliminate old habits from their previous experience. Whereas individuals new to MMA develop their basic techniques without any prior foundation, making it easier for them to follow through.
Can You Learn to Fight On Your Own?
The quickest answer to the question of learning to fight on your own is that learning to fight on your own is not recommended. As much as people love the Kung Fu movies where the hero trains alone at the top of the mountain, this article will demystify that notion.
One of the things that people have to understand is that training MMA consists of more than just throwing hard punches and conditioning an individual’s physical fitness. MMA has to do a lot with acting and reacting properly against an opponent.
Therefore, the key aspect of MMA training has an opponent, or let’s say, a sparring or drilling partner
Why You Might Need a Partner for MMA Training
You can train to improve your physical fitness and work on some drills. There are always several resources out there, such as books and the Internet. Additionally, pieces of equipment such as a heavy bag can help an individual train alone as well. However, learning MMA techniques must require a second pair of eyes in order to make sure that you are executing the techniques correctly.
Additionally, having another partner is crucial for sparring and drilling. Both sparring and drilling are the bread and butter of MMA. You can drill techniques on heavy bags and sand dummies, but against an actual person is an entirely different feeling.
In some cases, you can’t do them properly at all against a partner despite drilling religiously alone.
Having another person helps an individual to progress significantly; it essentially drills yourself in a real-life scenario against an actual person. Additionally, sparring is what makes every fighter effective. Some fighters even go hard in sparring, essentially borderline fighting with 90% – 100% intensity.
Essentially, training with a partner pushes an individual’s physical, technical, and mental capabilities over the limit. Rarely does someone who trains alone pushes themselves past that point. Another person, especially someone experienced in MMA, can help you surpass that point effectively.
MMA Fighter Who Trained Alone
Once you are well-experienced in MMA, you will have the capability to train on your own. One example of an elite fighter training alone is Max Holloway.
Max Holloway is one of the most decorated fighters in the UFC. He had to train by himself for UFC 251 (with the supervision of his coaches through the Zoom video app) in his house while Hawaii was in lockdown.
But again, Max Holloway is one of the most decorated and elite fighters in all of combat sport. His experience alone is more than a decade of fighting experience. If you are able to accumulate enough experience to train alone effectively, then it should not be a problem.
Tips for Learning MMA by Yourself
Once again, learning by yourself in MMA is not recommended. This is because an individual can be highly susceptible to developing bad techniques and habits. By the time they jump into an actual MMA gym, they have to learn from scratch because they drilled incorrectly.
Additionally, you may also be susceptible to injuries. By throwing a strike incorrectly or lifting a sandbag to imitate a wrestling technique differently can cause injuries.
Therefore, you have to be very careful if you plan to learn MMA by yourself. Below are a few tips for those who want to learn MMA by themselves.
Getting the Proper Gear and Equipment
The more prepared you are in your toolsets, the better your experience will be in training alone.
The most essential gears and equipment an individual who trains alone must have are:
- Hand wraps
- Rash guards
- 12oz – 16oz gloves
- Heavy punching bag/wrestling dummies
The hand wraps, as well as the gloves, will be your primary toolkit in your striking regimen. Furthermore, the hand wraps and the gloves will protect you from any injury on the hands as well as the wrist.
The heavy punching bag and the wrestling dummy will also be important equipment. Since you don’t have anyone to drill with, the two pieces of equipment as mentioned above will help you develop your striking, wrestling, and submission techniques.
Research and Develop a Proper Training Plan
When training alone, you have to have a proper training plan. This will help you improve incrementally. If you do not have a proper training plan and are just “winging it” on your training, don’t be surprised that you won’t see significant development.
Therefore, it is imperative to do your research. Make sure to get your drilling setups, strength and conditioning exercises from reliable and reputable sources in the MMA world.
Here are a few reliable instructors who provide online courses and videos:
- Don Heatrick’s Muay Thai Performance Training
- Gracie University
- BJJ Fanatics by John Danaher
The coaches and organizations above are highly reputable in the MMA community and provide great content for those who are trying to improve their MMA without a gym or a partner.
Consistency Is Key
Probably the most important aspect in any discipline-centered activity is consistency. Consistency will be the key to your development. If you do not stick to your training consistently, then forget to develop in the sport.
Training alone will be difficult if no one is supporting you or if there is no competitive environment that pulls you into training. There are more distractions when training at home. Make sure that you keep the discipline and train consistently in order to see any level of development in yourself.
MMA is primarily a sport where you need to train with at least another person to develop the techniques effectively. Although you can train alone, followed by the tips above, it is recommended that you should go to a nearby MMA gym instead. If that is not possible, then at least have your friend or brother, who shares the same interest as you in MMA, to help you out.