Archive for MMA Training Tips

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After watching a few videos of guys getting knocked  out when their cowardly opponents threw cheap shots while they were touching gloves, I decided to make this video.

Remember to protect yourself at all times once the referee starts the fight but if you do want to touch gloves with your opponent, following the 3 simple tips in this video will keep you from getting knocked unconscious in seconds.

Shadowboxing can be difficult, frustrating and awkward  for new students to perform. It can be very tough for a beginner to fire their  punches in the right places or stay in a strong fighting stance because their lack of experience makes it very difficult for them to properly visualize an opponent in front of them.

Shadowboxing –or shadowfighting which I sometimes call it because of the kicks, take down entries, sprawls that I execute in addition to the punching– is one of the most useful training drills in a fighters –for both beginners and advanced students– workout routine. It promotes technical proficiency, is excellent for conditioning and is an efficient way for a fighter to perfect their attacks before entering the heat of battle that sparring or actual competition is.

One way that I find will help you feel more comfortable shadowboxing is by doing the exercise with a partner. In this article I’ll show you how to do this and I’ll also share a few drill variations for any advanced martial artists that are looking to add more challenge, effectiveness and excitement to their workouts.

Here we go!

1) Stand facing one another in your fighting stances with a decent amount of distance between each of you. Ideally you and your partner should be able to punch, knee and kick with no chance of connecting with any part of the others body. This is very important! A collision of fists or legs could cause serious injury to one or both of you so be sure to  maintain around an eight foot separation between you both at all times.

2) Set the timer –usually for 2,3,4 or 5 minutes depending on your skill and endurance levels- and start the round. At first remain in place and work your techniques from one spot on the floor using your partner’s position to help you visualize your targets. Avoid the urge to move forward as you strike and make sure your partner does the same. Simply run through the variety of techniques you know well or any new ones that you have been working on. Repeat the drill for a minimum of three rounds using the same duration for each and give yourself a 30 seconds to 1 minute rest between each round.

3) Once your comfortable with #2, do the exact same drill except add some footwork this time. Each of you should move from left to right or vice versa as you fire off punches, kicks and knee strikes. Continue to avoid moving forward because that will only put you in danger of colliding with your partner’s fist, foot or knee.  As your partner moves around be sure to maintain a solid fighting stance that’s angled as if you were actually fighting against them.

4) Alright, so now you’ve gotten comfortable with the drill both while standing still and with some footwork added in. Next, incorporate some defensive techniques in reaction to your partner’s attacks. If they jab, pick it. If they low kick, check it and so on. Remember that it’s never a real block because your partner should still be standing more than 8 feet away from you. It’s really just you timing your shadow fighting defensive move with their shadow fighting offensive attack. Be sure to throw a follow up combination after your defensive maneuver so that your chances of doing so in actual sparring will be much greater over time as you continue to practice this drill.

5) Lastly, lets make this drill a little more MMA styled. Anytime you or your partner touches the ground with you back knee –and holds it there– the other person must perform a sprawl motion as if someone had just shot in for a take down on them. If it’s you that dropped the knee, wait until your partners sprawl is complete before standing up again to resume your shadow fighting. Be sure that you have your partner sprawl regularly throughout the rounds, often at times when they are in the midst of an striking combination so that they can hone their reaction skills in a very realistic way.

Okay, so now you have it, the partner shadow boxing drill. It’s up to you to get in the gym and put it into action. I wouldn’t do it all the time because it’s still very important to develop your solo shadow boxing ability but it’s a great way to change things up whenever you feel like it.  Be sure to share to share the drill with others you think might benefit and enjoy it.

Have fun and good luck!

Sparring Tips For Beginners

When I was reading one of the many mixed martial arts forums today I came across a question regarding striking sparring. The person asking was completely new to sparring and like many beginners found his first rounds versus a moving, striking opponent extremely challenging.

Off the top of my head I quickly came up with a few things that I thought might help him in his quest to get hit less while doing more hitting himself inside the ring.

I’ll share them, and a few more, to help you make your sparring experience more enjoyable and…less painful. Here we go!:

1. Throw your punches with speed, relaxation and technique, never try for power.

2. You don’t have to always see the opening for a specific punch. Just throw you combo sharply and quick and often the opening comes in the middle of your combo.

3. After your done punching, move away to either side. Your even better to stand your ground than backing straight up.

4. When you think you’re jabbing a lot, jab twice as much.

5. If you get into trouble, place both gloves on your temples, covering your face and jaw with the forearms and move, move, move.

6. When blocking strikes try not to tense your arms. Simply raise your arms up to protect yourself. This is easier said then done.

7. Keep you chin down at all times.

8. Mix up your attacks, try to be as unpredictable as you can with your combinations.

9. Pace yourself.  Use your defensive and offensive techniques instead of just attacking the entire time.

10. Focus on keeping yourself in a good balanced  stance before attacking, while attacking, and after your attack. This is very important!

11. Never give up. Taking a bit of a beating in the beginning is all part of the learning process. Stick with it and you will slowly become more like a hammer instead of the nail.

Bonus Tip:

Forum poster Zedlepln on reminded me of this important one that beginners often forget to do.


Never hold your breath during your sparring round. Breathe regularly through your nose –with your mouth closed- while making short but not overly strong exhalations through the mouth when you throw each punch. The more well conditioned you are, the better you will be able to control your breath.

These should be a good start.

Let me know how it goes…

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MMA Training Tip – Mindset #6

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MMA Training Tip: Don’t be the Ungrateful One

This is problem that is becoming more common all the time, not only in the world of mixed martial arts but in society in general. It’s about taking and never giving back to those that help you. The way to correct this is very simple. When someone gives you something valuable, show them thanks and be grateful.  This simple gesture of appreciation and kindness can help build strong relationships.

Many martial arts instructors have invested a huge percentage of their lives, sacrificing their time and often their physical health, in the pursuit of becoming the best they can be in their perspective arts. I can guarantee that if you ask them a little about their background, you’ll be amazed at many of the things, both positive and negative, that they have gone through to achieve their successes.

Some students are training everywhere and with anyone that will teach them something, often jumping to another martial arts school without a thought if they hear something good about it. They are taking a lot and rarely giving back to those that help them.

There are times when this approach is absolutely necessary. In the case when a fighter is training at a martial arts school that focuses solely on ground work or just on striking or wrestling,  there’s no doubt that he will need to branch out to complete his MMA skill set.

In other cases, however, I feel that selfishness will ultimately harm a fighter’s progression in the sport. Most instructors will not teach you passionately if you don’t earn their trust, respect and friendship.  This fact will hugely impact your development under them. Without the proper reciprocation of appreciation between you and your instructor you will always be one strike away from having to look for a new place to train.

Whether you train at one or multiple martial arts school, be sure to give as much as you receive and put in the time to develop relationships with your instructor(s). When your career is over and done with, you’ll have a great friend that you can reminisce about old times with. After a career in MMA, believe me you’ll have some great stories to tell.

In the end I believe it’s the journey and the great relationships that we build along the way that mean the most…

Here are other articles in the mindset series:

MMA Mindset #1 (The I Already Know That Type)

MMA Mindset #2 (The Rough Guy)

MMA Mindset #3 (The Lazy Guy)

MMA Mindset #4 – Don’t be the Bragger!
MMA Mindset #5 – Leave Your Ego at the Door

MMA Training Tip – Leave your ego at the door

Ideally you’re reading this before you’ve begun your training. If your quest to become a skilled mixed martial artist is already underway and you are currently enrolled in classes at a quality MMA school you have an idea of what I mean when I say “leave your ego at the door!”

It’s safe for me to say that you’ve been flipped, choked, punched in the nose once or twice and have had your joints hyper extended to the point of submission by people that are a mere fraction of your size! Your ego has been attacked without mercy!

Many beginning students have difficulty dealing with the humbling experiences that I just mentioned. In my many years of experience I’ve also found that the bigger, stronger type students usually have the most trouble in doing so. I’ve seen so many muscle bound guys mentally and physically deflate when they face the abrupt realization that the type of muscle they have spent years building seems to be more of a hindrance than a weapon inside the ring/cage or on the mats.

If this has been your experience so far, don’t panic! It happens to everyone and I literally mean everyone. Realize that you were beaten by solid mixed martial arts technique not by the person who just smacked you around the ring or wiped the mats with you. The good thing is that with some practice, technical proficiency will slowly transform from an adversary into an ally. You have my promise that if you can persevere and push through this challenging time the reward will be great.

Resume your training or begin – if you haven’t yet started– your training without the pressure of feeling you have to do well right away. The amount of fun you’ll have while training will increase multiple times over and soon you will be the one humbling the newest group of students to step on the mats.

One of the best quotes I’ve come across that accurately describes the progression of mixed martial arts training is “You must first be the nail before you can be the hammer.” Keep this in mind and you will one day find out how much fun it is to be the hammer!

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Here are some other mindset tips that will help you maximize your training:

MMA Mindset #1 (The I Already Know That Type)

MMA Mindset #2 (The Rough Guy)

MMA Mindset #3 (The Lazy Guy)

MMA Mindset #4 – Don’t be the Bragger!

Jeff Joslin MMA Live!

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Live BJJ, MMA, Boxing, Kickboxing and Submission Wrestling Technique plus a lot more!

It’ll all be available on a new page I’ve just added to the site and  I’m really excited about it. The page is called Jeff Joslin MMA live! and can be accessed through the Learn-MMA menu tab.

Look for future live streams from my home and workplace at Joslin’s Mixed Martial Arts. Content will include live group classes, private lessons, live special events, a weekly MMA show and anything else that will help provide MMA technique, info and entertainment for those in search of it.

Check out the page by CLICKING HERE.


MMA Training Tip – Compete Often

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Deciding to compete in an upcoming event is one of the best ways to add variety and motivation to your training regiment. It will excite you to train more frequently, more intensely, and often more intelligently. There’s nothing more motivating than knowing that you will soon have a highly skilled martial artist trying to throw, sweep, lock, and choke you out while your friends and family watch and cheer from the sidelines. Obviously when competition day arrives you’ll want to be at your best.

As you prepare for tournament action you’ll build a strong momentum in training where your movements are executed much faster and with greater effectiveness than normal. At this point, training is  more fun than ever before due to the sharpness of your physical and technical weapons.

Another benefit to competing regularly is that your rate of growth as a mixed martial artist will skyrocket. It’s been said that the intense training one does to prepare for competition is worth three times that of normal training time. Whether you come home with a gold medal for your efforts, it doesn’t really matter – although I do admit it feel good to do so!— because you will be a better mixed martial artist due to the preparation and valuable experience the competition has given you. In some cases a loss at that competition will help you to improve even more because you will often sit back and analyze your approach and game plan to discover any weaknesses.

As a mixed martial artist I suggest you aim to compete in striking competition, grappling competitions and wrestling events whenever possible. Talk with your instructor to see if he/she feels you’re ready to take that step. I competed in over a hundred martial arts tournaments before fighting my first professional mixed martial arts fight. Now you don’t need to compete as much as I did before fighting pro but I’m very glad I had an extensive competitive background because it gave me extreme confidence in Mixed Martial Arts.

If you’re a little nervous to get out there and compete, go to a few events and check them out as a spectator. Sometimes it’s not what your had first conceived. I’ve had a few students that were sickly afraid of competing and after watching a few events they eventually jumped into one and over time become some of my most accomplished competitors.

Over the years I’ve met many great people, at tournaments and martial arts events, many of which I now consider personal friends. There is something special, that non-competitors will never experience, about battling it out on the mats, in the ring, or in the cage with another human being. Get out there and see for yourself!

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MMA Training Tip – Mindset #4

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Another important MMA Training Tip in terms of your mindset…

Don’t Be The Bragger

What happens in training doesn’t matter, it’s only training! Keep that sentence in mind and you will not become the type of student that team mates despise. I’m talking about the guy that brags to others about who he’s tapped out, knocked down or dominated during a practice. They also seem to take training sessions as serious as competition. This type of student has things all wrong.

One should take training as what the name is defined as; Intended for use during an introductory, learning, or transitional period. In other words training is the time when a student should introduce new techniques to their game, test out new strategies and work to transition their mma games to something greater.

Could an advanced mixed martial artist get tapped out by or get dropped due to a strike from a less experience opponent when trying out these new, less developed skills and strategies? Of course they could, but that is the risk they must take to improve their skill set. Training is the time to try things new and when someone brags about training results as is it were a real competition or fight that pisses people off.

Do not be that guy! Also be sure to put anyone who brags about their training accomplishments in their place –in a very nice way—for their own benefit and the benefit of the team.

Check out these related articles

MMA Training Tip – Mindset #1 (The I Already Know That Type)

MMA Training Tip – Mindset #2 (The Rough Guy)

MMA Training Tip – Mindset #3 (The Lazy Guy)

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MMA Training Tip – Mindset #3

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Time for another MMA training tip…

Don’t be the lazy student!

Every teacher loves a student that strives to do everything they can to improve themselves. Don’t be the opposite of that ideal student; the guy who shows up late for class, goes through workouts at half speed, and folds under any sort of pressure in training or competition.

If you want to earn you teacher’s respect and hope to grow as both a mixed martial artist and a human being , push yourself to your limits in training and try to be better at what you are doing every single day. Be sure to compete in tournaments and other competitive situations as much as possible to constantly challenge yourself.

If you give more of yourself on a consistent basis you will receive a lot more in return from your team mates and coaches and you will achieve a lot more in the process.

Check out these related articles

MMA Training Tip – Mindset #1 (The I Already Know That Type)

MMA Training Tip – Mindset #2 (The Rough Guy)

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During your MMA training their are many things to keep in mind in terms of proper etiquette. Here’s an important one if you want to make friends and keep people wanting to train with you…

smellypigProper Hygiene

Good personal hygiene is very important in mixed martial arts training where you are in close quarters with your teammates a high percentage of the time. You should enter every class as clean as possible. Everyone hates training with someone who reeks of body odour from a long day of work. Also, wash your gi (uniform) on a regular basis and keep your shorts and t-shirts smelling fresh at all times.

Always keep your nails trimmed, tie back any long hair and make sure you are not wearing anything that may be potentially hazardous to your training partner (examples of this are zippers on shorts, knee braces or buttons).  Remove all jewellery and avoid training if you have any open cuts or sores on your body.

If you decide to retain your stink and continue to train in that state, your training partners will quickly become less willing to practice with you. They may also talk behind your to back about your particular aroma issue. There is an upside however. If you jump into class with the right level of disgusting smelliness you may be able to tap people out without applying an actual submission hold. That’s a joke; be sure to keep yourself clean and smelling great!

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