Train for MMA; don't cross-train..

Just a thread I posted on other forums (,, was looking for opinions' of MMAists:

If you want to train for MMA, and you like MMA and want to learn MMA, guess what you should train? MMA.

In which of those single arts are you going to learn ground and pound?

BJJ is with the Gi and you probably won't be taught much No-Gi unless the intructor specializes in No-Gi. Even if the intructor does you aren't going to learn GnP and get used to it - strikes on the ground. Then there's takedowns - they can bypass the guard altogether and stun the person being taken down. If you want to get it to the ground you have got to learn how through wrestling at least, there is very little "pure wrestling" in the UK overall, the most likely place you'll it find is at MMA gyms...

Same goes for kickboxing and wrestling (although I think wrestling is effected the least) - they're both modified in MMA. Kickboxing: - much smaller gloves in MMA (less protection for the head and body, hurts hands more to strike, you might not be able to strike as much), you need to heavily modify for takedowns, get used to not dropping your guard for the takedowns, clinch is modified heavily; you are in it for longer, punching is easier and takedowns and throws are added etc etc. Wrestling - you are going to get striked at if you hold on for more than a few seconds, the clinch game is modified - you can use strikes to help take your opponent to the mat or to a KO etc etc.

Training everything seperately isn't MMA - it's "cross-training"; you need to train in Mixed Martial Arts/NHB to be doing MMA. Even if you do train seperately you are almost definitely going to have to train everything together eventually, plus the MMA specific moves and especially before a match -you need as much training in MMA as possible.

If you're in London there is 11+ MMA gyms now, so there's no excuse. In America there seems to be many gyms per state for the most part.

I was going to go down the BJJ, MT, wrestling and 1x a week MMA route, now I'm deciding on training with ppl who know MMA, who train for it etc...

To reiterate - if you genuinely like and might want to do MMA, why not train in it? Maybe because: 1) You really think training everything seperately is a good idea; you don't want to intergrate, 2) There are no MMA gyms in your area...

About Ground and Pound only being effective for heavier people - Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto? Possibly the best p4p GnPer there is - he's a lightweight (only just.) It's effective for whatever size you are, but like everything in fighting it's better for the heavier ppl. You need to train for and against it though.

Remember also that a lot of ppl entering MMA at first were already BJJ black belts - they were doing BJJ most likely before they even knew what MMA was, or before they wanted to be a MMAist. The same goes for champion kickboxers and wrestlers - they wanted to do kickboxing; wrestling not MMA. If you want to train for MMA the fastest and most effective way is to train in MMA, which is what most the new MMAists (Quinton Jackson etc, and some of the old like Silva) are doing now IMO...

Also I think you'll be conditioned better to fight in MMA if you train specifically in MMA a lot, where you use the combination of arts and MMA-specific/only moves...

yeah that's what I have been doing, but don't teachers at MMA schools usually specialize in at least one aspect? If you really like MMA why train seperately when there are 7 days a week MMA gyms?

None of those first three arts you mentioned are MMA, each is modified in MMA. BJJ is generally with a gi and no striking...Kickboxing the gloves. Wrestling - again striking on the ground and in clinch is a big part of MMA.

So what do you do? Spend time, most the week, on just kickboxing? Just BJJ? Just Wrestling? Once to twice a week on MMA, which is what you really want to do anyway, not the seperate arts...?

I like to use SBGi as an example - they've trained some good MMAists, purely from MMA, even if they train things seperately, they intergrate everythinhg and are essentially doing MMA and/or MMA for the street, I think. Shouldn't you be with a gym who understands and more importantly knows how to train you for MMA, who understands your grappling is going to be used in MMA, for MMA and can show you the best way of going about this?

too long

well, i sure as hell didnt read that whole post but one thing I noticed is that schools that call themselves "MMA" and specialize in getting you 'trained up quick' and 'in the cage fast' don't produce very good fighters.

second, you are wrong in what 'MMA' is!! it IS cross training!! thats what "Mixed Martial Arts" Means!!!

MMA is not an art in itself, it is mixing several martial arts together to form the complete package

IMHO if you want to be really good and have longevity in the fight game you better be really good in one of those fields (wrestle, BJJ, Kick Box) and cross train the rest.

Most MMA schools ive seen do some of everything but don't excel in anything and that wont get you anywhere except past an untrained person in the street.(which would be more than enough for your average Joe looking for self defense... which is most people)

the complete package is is a style when you are fighting MMA, it has become a style within it's self. Cross training - training FOR MMA, not in it.

I like MMA better than all three, so why not train only mma?

Well most I've seen the intructor is usually really good at one thing OR just MMA, the whole game, as the style of MMA.

Which MMA-only gym doesn't produce good fighters? :)

I thought that cross-training was mianly what people USED to do, because there weren't many if any MMA gyms around. Look at Frank shamrock - from what I remember he went straight in Pancrase in 8 months, shortly after entering MMA. Lions Den - if you go there they train you from in MMA,if you're physcially fit enough. All those Japanese GYMs - they're like MMA only, right?

The gym I went to - we had pro MMAists who only trained at MMA oriented gyms...

Thanks for the replies.

Very interesting point. I agree for the most part. Your overall training would be MMA but you could focus on different parts of it (wrestling, BJJ, MT)from time to time depending on your own needs. Face it, everyone is not going to be equally good at standup, ground control, and submissions.

Where I train, we focus on specific points such as ground control for a few weeks (still working submissions and stand up as warm ups and in sparring). The next few weeks might be dedicated to more stand up related drills and training while still doing ground control and subs in warm up exercises and in sparring.

The key is to keep sparring which is where you put it all together. This system is a lot more flexible than 1hr of MT, 1hr of wrestling, & 1hr of BJJ. It caters more towards building up your weaknesses instead of building up your strengths. Kinda goes along the same principle as "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link".

That is the one possible bad aspect - becomming a jack-of-all trades, but there are top-class BJJers who get KTFO in MMA on the ground, due to the different rules, kickboxers who get KTFO by wrestlers because they're scared of the grappling - maybe you should get used to everything asap?

Again - I don't want to trian for a BJJ, MT or wrestling competion, but for MMA - why not train in MMA, at an MMA gym?

SIlva and jackson have their prefered areas - but was silva ever a champion kickboxers? These Jack-of-all trades guys seem to be some of the best...AGain, didn;t most Japanese fighters start off in MMA gyms?

Mixing kickboxing, wrestling and BJJ will not fully cut it. Since BJJ is generally a limited style for submissions. BJJ is not the be all end all of ground work and submissions. If you are lucky you will find a place that trains full submission wrestling without a Gi, not just jiujitsu withoput a Gi. There is a difference.

You need to train all aspects sepretly and than together. You dont always train all three at once or you will never excel. At FFA we have very high level kickboxing, wrestling, and jiujitsu. We mostly train each aspect sepretly and than we bring it all together in training. It is the best way to get good at each individual art.

It is my understanding that the grappling at the FFA is far more than just jiujitsu without a Gi. I am told that it is complete submission training over there. It is one of the few places in Florida to get that type of training. There are a few others out there however, but Florida is dominantly a pure jiujitsu state.

kansetsuwaza: We do both gi and no-gi jiujitsu. We train in everything that works. Leg locks, takedowns, armlocks, chokes, topgame, bottom game, everything. I wouldnt say we are far from bjj personally but than again almost every bjj'er has his or her own style.

It's funny, I see matches sometimes where the guy will take someone down with a high crotch takedown and then finish the opponent with a heelhook and then stand up and scream "JIUJITSU! JIUJITSU!" but he didn't actually use any jiujitsu. There is a difference between jiujitsu without a Gi and Submission Wrestling. I know that Mike Cardoso teaches jiujitsu with a Gi, and teaches Submission Wrestling (without a GI). This is different than some jiujitsu schools that have a no-Gi jiujitsu night. It is the same thing as the Gi night but without a Gi on. Where Submission Wrestling is more complete, like you said-takedowns, full leg submissions, neck stuff, etc, etc, etc.

ZIlla200 agreed. kansetsuwaza agreed. CharlesFFA/AFA - I was kind of suggesting that - if you train everything together very regularly you are being trained specifically for MMA. Practising everything seperately with the intention of goign to MMA, under the supervision of an MMA intructor.
kansetsuwaza - interesting about FFA, Charles said they train everything together as well, so everything trained seperately is MMA-specific, trained in an MMA-specific way...?

"Nothing you said above is untrue BUT the best fighters in the world usually excel at one thing." Yes but most of them started in their art WITHOUT the intention of doing MMA, then went onto MMA training. If you are training for MMA, train MMA from the beggining. They're obviously just using what they have done to their advantage. Some may have done, say BJJ, with the intention of going to MMA, because that's all there was at that time, now however there are MMA schools...

"Silva - added BJJ to his Muay Thai" I thought Silva started in MMA? His style just had more of an emphasis of MT...

well for instance when we train takedowns we always train to end up in sidemount off a takedown.

That's definitely more MMA/no-gi specific, no?

BigKiller - OK, but I don't think he was a champ or anything? H elearnt basica MT, and learnt pure MMA training was necessary 0 since then he's only trained MMA (albeit very MT oriented) and has only improved as a fighter, right?

Maybe he just trains in a gi for fun..

Ideally maybe. I realize you're not disagreeing with me, I'm just asking question really.

Couture had to modify his clinch game some what I should think, but the fact that he was excellent at Greco helped tremendously yes, of course.

"Couture learning to kickbox like Crocop wouldn't do much for him." Although he has got good at kickboxing recently...

Wouldn't you want to just train MMA, given the option if you liked MMA best? wanted to train MMA etc?

cm81: they exist but you cant get to an elite level of either particular sport without dedicating all your time to it.

FFA, ATT, MFS, AMC all have champion grapplers, wrestlers, and kickboxers.

cm81 - but if you're training for MMA, from the beggining, why would you want to become a world-class wrestler, kickboxer BJJer first? They did it out of circumstance - they didn't want to fight MMA. If you start of with 0-minimal experience surely you'll want to start in MMA straight away.

Just because the teaching is world class doesn't mean you'll be world class. You'd have to train for years and years in just one style...but you want to do MMA, not just wrestling etc...

CharlesFFA exactly, I didn't read your post before I wrote the above. Agreed.

"champion grapplers, wrestlers, and kickboxers." Eaxctly, most MMA gyms have people that specialize in things and as importantly understand MMA and how to train for they have actual MMA fighters and coaches teaching...

BigKiller - Quinton Jackson? Silva (don't think he even competed in MT much)? "Kid" Yamamoto? Heath Herring? Genki Sudo? I know Sudo started in BJJ, but didn't he then stop and go to an MMA gym? He didn't become an ADCC grappler until after he stopped BJJ, did he? He was training MMA in Japan by then, right?

An intructor I know went to Japan to improve his MMA game, he train at an MMA gym...

ok thanks for the info on Sudo, interesting about Jackson.

Specialize in something yes, what you like best but do it in MMA training. :)
You have to dedicate a lot of time to one art to truely "specialize" in it though. What 4-8 years in BJJ? 5 in wrestling, 5 in kickboxing. MMA will be banned for good by then :P

its best to specialise and learn the skill properly, mma clubs tend to do it all but not as well, unless u find a really good mma club that is