Was asked a question at training today about what I reckon the future of MMA was. Would people no longer be “specialists”, preferring instead to be just good enough at everything to win fights? The short answer is no. I don’t think so. What I think is hard to put in one post but I’ll try, and it comes back to why I teach kids so I might be answering another question I got during the week too.
In the future in MMA, I think that every single guy who walks into the ring or cage will be a superb grappler, wrestler and stand up fighter. What they prefer in their game will not depend on what they specialised in before they started MMA, but what body type they have, how fast or slow they are or even just their opponent’s abilities. You don’t have to go too far to find a black belt in BJJ with superb Muay Thai (Anderson Silva) or someone with great skills in all ranges (George St. Pierre) but I think fighters like that will be the norm, not the exceptions in the future. I helped out with an athletics coach a while back and he was involved in a ground up programme. The club took in kids at age 5 and they all did the same training until they hit puberty and began to develop into adults, only then was there specialisation. Rugby has the same system, and those two sports are the only two I can think of that would have different positions or events for different body types. I believe martial arts for kids should be the same, especially for MMA.
What this doesn’t mean is that we can “adapt” or “include” different martial arts systems into one sort of hybrid style. Nothing irritates me more than seeing someone saying that their club “style” includes “elements” of BJJ, or “techniques” of Muay Thai. What does that mean exactly? I’ve rolled, wrestled and kickboxed with a lot of different people from lots of different backgrounds and one thing all the good ones had was a really defined game. I’ve never seen a good Thai boxer switch to a boxing stance just for the sake of throwing an overhand right a slightly different way because he “adapted” some techniques. What I mean when I say fighters will have top skills in all ranges is that they will all be, for example, black belts in BJJ, accomplished boxers, and good wrestlers. Not because they adapted a few techniques, but because they trained in PURE BJJ, PURE BOXING, PURE WRESTLING. Or pure sambo, muay thai or whatever. Saying that because you’ve got some judo you can “adapt BJJ” is just fucking offensive to the BJJ players out there who eek out every inch of improvement with hours upon hours of mat time. Saying because you can do Taekwondo or whatever, that you can “adapt” the kneeing of Muay Thai is offensive to the millions of thaiboxers who have spent years perfecting their stances, their knees, their padwork just for the sake of 1 extra pound of force.
That’s why I train kids. My kid’s classes make a loss, you heard it here first. I don’t care, I’d like them to break even but they don’t. I don’t train them for money I train them because in a few years time those kids may or may not fight, but they won’t think about fighting as stand-up, clinch or ground, they’ll just think of fighting and be able to do it, win, lose or draw.
So that’s the future, here’s the very recent past. Today we did some conditioning followed by some sparring. Here was the set-up:
The kick out rounds were max power efforts. In other words not like repeat kicking on the thai pads. Less reps, more power in each one. The punch outs were for as many fast, hard punches as possible in a minute, trying to keep the same strike rate as your power deteriorated.
I really have to start remembering to take my decent camera along to training. These are pretty blurry and short but they’re just to give you an idea.
Max Effort Kicks. Just 10 secs cos I was on my back doing hamstring curls