The ancient and noble sport of boxing is one that has undergone something of a resurgence in recent years. High-profile championship fights involving superstar sportsmen and women have given this technical and skill-orientated sport a new lease of life, although to be fair it was always one that had a hold on the amateur boxers across the world. There is a lot to be gained from boxing that can benefit fighters in all aspects of life, hence its popularity and regard among personal trainers and keep-fit enthusiasts.
Mixed Martial Arts – MMA – takes the concept of boxing and one-on-one fighting to another level, and yet boxers are among the best and most likely people to transit from one discipline to the other. Discipline is a great word here, too, for each of these very exciting and rewarding sports requires a great deal of skill and application, and it needs to come from deep within the fighter.
Let’s assume you’re an experienced boxer looking to make a move towards MMA; what are the skills you need to master if you are to be successful? Well, before you put on your boxing shoes and try your hand, we thought we’d have a look at what you need to know and learn – here’s a list of 5 skills you need to master if you are to get to grips with MMA.
Footwork is, of course, a major part of successful boxing, yet when you move up to MMA you will find that it takes on a more important role. This is because – by its very nature – MMA is a faster sport than boxing. Also, whereas in boxing you rely largely on your hands to block punches, in MMA you have a lot more to get to grips with than mere punches, and evasion is not by blocking but by keeping on the move. Footwork is one of the major points in MMA, and your trainer will be able to help you get it right.
Boxing is about punches – directed, specific punches – whereas MMA is a lot more. You will need to use, and defend against, kicks, elbows, knees and more, and all very quickly and often in the confined space of the cage. It’s a world away from the less varied world of boxing, but it is very similar in many ways. If you have a grounding in boxing you will have excellent reactions, but you need to enhance and improve to get on in MMA.
We talked about footwork above, and that’s part of this one, too. Evasion is everything in defending in MMA; it’s not about blocking – as we said above – but about keeping out of the way of kicks, hits and punches. This is why you need a good trainer to guide you through the many ways in which you can evade the opponent in an MMA situation.
The one thing you need to do in an MMA bout is keep your opponent guessing; you need to be able to feint to the point that you confuse them, so you have the upper hand when it comes to getting in on the attack. This is also true of boxing but much more so in the case of MMA, where the attack could be coming from more than one area. An important part of your training, make sure your trainer teaches you the art of feinting in the cage, it will certainly help.
Is dedication a skill? When it comes to indulging in something as fast, intense and active as MMA, it definitely fits the bill! You need to be fit – that goes without saying – and you need to be alert, but you also need to be dedicated to training, to learning and to giving your best. Naturally, all of this is true of boxing, and as you are experienced in that discipline you will be halfway there. We say halfway as there is so much more to MMA than there is to boxing, not least due to the fact you have a much broader selection of weapons at your disposal. That’s why dedication is important – you need to keep firmly on top of what you can use.
MMA is a great sport that brings far more to the table than boxing, and if you are looking to move on from the regular ring to the MMA cage, we recommend you take a good look at things as nothing will bring you greater satisfaction.