Can You Train MMA Without Fighting?

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is most likely the most popular combat sport in the world. Additionally, it is also a popular form of workout as well, where many pursue MMA not as a tool to fight but as a means to improve one’s physique and mental attributes.

Can you Train MMA Without Fighting?

There are numerous ways where an individual can learn MMA without throwing a single punch to a person. But you just have to remind yourself that you will not be using MMA as a martial art, but as a tool to improve your mental and physical health.

The article will cover ways that you can train MMA without fighting and ways to learn MMA by yourself when there is not any gym or coaches to go to around you. Further, the article also lists the required equipment in order to do so, especially in terms of striking-based training.

How Do You Train MMA Without Fighting?

If you are someone who is attracted to the sport of MMA but has no desire to fight at all, you can still absolutely do MMA. 

MMA is not always filled with people who want to punch or choke each other out, which is a big misconception about the MMA community. The MMA community is filled with individuals trying to pursue a skill set for fighting and those who use MMA as a tool for a great workout.

If you are an individual who is just fascinated by the sport, thinks it’s a great workout tool, and has no interest in fighting whatsoever, you can definitely do it.

MMA is a technical and drilling-based sport. Although a significant part of MMA is sparring, whether it is light or heavy, another important part is drilling with a partner or on MMA equipment, such as a heavy bag.

So if you want to focus on a great workout, look into drills on MMA equipment as well as with partners. There are millions of ways that you can work on your MMA while improving your physical performance. 

However, will this improve your overall MMA game against other people? Most likely not. This requires a lot of sparring as well as technical drilling with partners. Otherwise, you won’t have any idea how to execute a particular technique on an actual person. 

Can MMA be Self-Taught?

People should know that learning MMA is not just about learning to beat people up and have a good physique while doing it.

Technically, any kind of skill set can be self-taught. Therefore, MMA, just like any other activity out there, can be self-taught. The question is, is it a good idea? Especially if you are starting from scratch? The answer is no; it is not recommended.

On the contrary, MMA relies heavily on reactive training and can only be effective if there are at least two people training. This allows proper drilling and technical training with one another.

But for beginners who want to have an early start before jumping into an actual MMA gym, there are fundamental techniques that one can learn from home from reputable online sources.

Here is an example of a few reputable online sources that beginners can look into:

  • Gracie University
  • Liam Harrison Training
  • FloWrestling
  • BJJ Fanatics by John Danaher
  • Don Heatricks Muay Thai Performance Training

However, if you are a very experienced MMA fighter who is trying to learn new techniques through self-taught methods, you are more welcome to do so.

Experienced MMA fighters will have enough understanding of the basic fundamentals of MMA to learn new techniques on their own without picking up any bad habits. 

Once more, the basics of MMA are key. Once you have mastered them, it should not be too hard to expand your knowledge of the sport.

What Equipment Do You Need for MMA?

Learning MMA means you need to have equipment for striking, wrestling, and BJJ training. Therefore, you need to be properly equipped in order to train in the three areas of MMA. We’ll divide the equipment based on the three main areas of MMA.


In boxing and Muay Thai, the most important equipment is the hand wraps and the gloves to ensure that you do not injure your hand and wrist when striking. If you want to drill and spar, then you will have to have shin guards and mouth guards for proper protection.

Here is what equipment you will need for striking in MMA:

  • Boxing gloves 
  • Hand wraps
  • Shin guards
  • Mouthguard

Having the striking equipment above will ensure that you are training, drilling, and sparring safely with your partners, as well as preventing other types of injuries when training with striking-specific equipment, such as a heavy bag.

Wrestling and No-Gi Jiujitsu

Wrestling or grappling requires less equipment than striking. 

Here is the list of equipment needed for wrestling/no-Gi training:

  • Rashguard
  • Compression pants/comfortable wrestling pants
  • Mouthguard
  • Wrestling ear guards (optional)

Essentially, you would want rash guards as well as compression pants to avoid any mat burns when training. Additionally, baggy shirts or pants may hinder getting caught during training.

When sparring during wrestling and no-Gi, also known as rolling, you need mouthguards. Optionally, you can wear ear guards to avoid cauliflower ears.

Traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (with Gi)

Traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is slightly similar to wrestling and no-Gi Jiujitsu.

 Here is the shortlist of equipment for training BJJ with the Gi:

  • Jiujitsu Gi set
  • Mouthguard
  • Wrestling ear guards (optional)

The only difference is that BJJ requires you to have a Gi, a thick-material kimono-looking uniform traditionally used in Karate and Judo. The Gi includes the top, pants, and a colored belt of your respective rank. Additionally, for safety purposes, mouth guards are required, as well as wrestling ear guards.

How Do You Practice Striking by Yourself?

If you absolutely have no one that can assist you in training boxing, kickboxing, or Muay Thai and that there are no available gyms around your area that you can go to, all hope is not lost. As long as you have the proper training equipment installed in your house, you can train striking by yourself. 

Again, is it recommend it? No, but you do what you can and what is available. 

Here is the list of equipment that is essential to have when training striking at home:

  • Hand wraps
  • Boxing gloves
  • Heavy bag
  • Jump rope
  • Slip rope (optional)
  • Double-end bag (optional)
  • Speed bag (optional)

At this point, having boxing gloves and hand wraps is self-explanatory. You need them to punch comfortably as well as to avoid any injury to your wrist and hands.

Jump ropes are a very popular tool and can be found in every single striking-specific gym, such as boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai. Not only is it a great warm-up tool, but it will improve your footwork, which is incredibly important in striking-based martial arts.

The heavy bag will likely be an essential tool you will have. A proper kickboxing heavy bag allows you to punch as well as kick comfortably. 

Some heavy bags out there are made out of thicker material that will hurt you when you kick. But some are great, especially Muay Thai brand heavy bags, such as Fairtex, which are made of excellent material and comfortable when training kicks.

Finally, other training accessories are great but do not necessarily include the slip rope double-end bag and speed bag.

A slip rope will help in working on your head movements, which is crucial to avoid punches. Double-end bags are great for practicing hitting a target as well as countering and reacting. Finally, the speed bag can help in improving a fighter’s rhythm.


All in all, you do not need to fight when you want to train for MMA. Sure, you can significantly improve your MMA skills when participating in sparring, heavy drilling, and even fighting; however, it is unnecessary, especially if your goal does not center around fighting.

As long as you have the proper equipment as well as proper guidance, you can still train in MMA effectively. If you follow the guide above, you will be able to do so in no time.

Interested in MMA? Check Out My Recommendations

Looking For Gear To Use When You Train?
If you are interested in training MMA, here is some of the gear I recommend:
Best Mouth Guard
Best MMA Gloves
Best Groin Protection
Best Rashguard
Want To Learn To Fight, But Don’t Want To Go In Person?
CoachTube has online training videos for Wrestling, Boxing, MMA and more. And best part is you can do it all from your home allowing you to go at your own pace. Check them out here.
Interested In Training Other MMA Fighters?
Click here to check out the MMA Conditioning Association and see what you need to become an MMA conditioning coach and begin training fighters.

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