Finding the perfect MMA School to Train at…


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Due to the rising popularity of mixed martial arts, martial art schools are appearing everywhere claiming to offer the best M.M.A training around. Schools that once taught Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Karate, Sport Jiu Jitsu and other traditional styles are now incorporating the term M.M.A in all their advertising, hoping to take advantage of the booming rise of reality fighting’s popularity.

The instructors at these types of school are usually very proficient in their respective style, but are they efficient at teaching the high quality, diverse M.M.A skills that you are in search of.

Finding a quality mixed martial arts school can prove very difficult for those who have no clue of what to look for. In this article I will discuss several ways to help you determine the quality of the martial art establishments you visit or call on the phone.

Step 1 – Ask them if they teach mixed martial arts

If the academy does not teach it, and have no intention of pretending to do so, they will usually be honest with their reply and will often point you in the direction towards another school that better suits your needs.

Many other instructors, when asked will claim that they do teach M.M.A so that they will not lose you as a potential customer. This is not a lie entirely since the term mixed martial arts simply means mixing multiple martial arts together and they may indeed know techniques from different disciplines. You next mission is to find out the background, credentials and competitive/coaching history of the school’s instructors.

Step 2 – Google the names of the school owner / names of the instructor’s on the internet

Get on a computer as soon as you find out the name of the school owner, or the names of the various instructors that teach at that academy. You will be amazed at the amount of info you can find out about people by typing their names into the search engine at http://www.google.com/. You can usually dig up some info about the person’s competitive/coaching history and the various belt ranks or credentials earned by them in their combative discipline.

Step 3 –Find out precisely what styles of martial arts they teach?

For efficient, well rounded mixed martial arts training you must find a school that teaches stand-up striking, ground work, and some form of takedown training. Many different martial art blends can be effective.

I suggest you look for a combination of authentic – the instructor has an recognized belt in BJJ — Brazilian jiu-jitsu training (with gi and no-gi classes), wrestling, boxing and kickboxing. Ideally, the different disciplines should be taught in separate classes to maximize your learning experience.

Step 4 – Ask to try a free class

Don’t be afraid to ask for a free lesson. Even schools that don’t advertise a free introductory class will usually give you one if you request it. Be wary of those that refuse. The free class will give you the opportunity to check out some important things: The school’s atmosphere, the way classes are structured, the teaching skill of the instructor, the enjoyment factor, and the talent of the other students in the class. This type of input will assist you in making your decision to join or not.

Step 5 – Repeat this process at all of the other schools that offer mixed martial arts training in your area.

Even if you are satisfied with the first school you check out, be sure to first visit the other M.M.A schools in the area to allow you a comparison between several different places. Also, do not always believe what one martial artist or school owner says about their competitors, as there is often some unwarranted bad-mouthing within the martial arts community. Everyone thinks their place is the best! Get out to all the schools, try your free class at each and make you own decision as to what’s the best place for you.

Step 6 – Ask about all the costs, not just tuition

When you’re ready to enroll in the school of your choice, ask about any additional fees in addition to tuition (testing fees, registration fees, organizational fees etc.). Also, you will probably have to purchase a uniform or some training gear.

Step 7 – You are now a beginning mixed martial artist, congrats!

You have found the ideal school for you and have begun your training in an activity that can offer you many things, fitness, improved confidence, real self-defense skills and some fun times. Train smart, train hard, have fun, leave you ego at home and remember you have to be the nail before you can be the hammer. If you don’t know what that means you’ll find out soon.

One more thing, if right away, you’re easily hanging with the school’s top students while grappling or sparring, you’ve picked the wrong place to train.

Categories : MMA Training Tips

Facebook Comments


  1. Anonymous says:

    this is great, thanks jeff. could you give us the names of a couple school/instructors outside of yourself that can teach authentic MMA, if there are any in the area

  2. Jeff Joslin says:

    No prob, lots of great places out there. Gotta get out there and check’em out. As I mentioned in the article, most should let you try a free class.

    Good luck with your search and your training. Thanks for posting.

  3. Anonymous says:

    i live out past mount hope and heard of a place called ‘Cutting Edge’. my friend told me they use to train with you. he told me that these guys are the best around, i didn’t believe him. do these guys even know you? i wanna train but i don’t want to train with a bunch of guys that don’t know anything. thanks for helping me out jeff

  4. Jeff Joslin says:

    Bryan, the owner, trained at my school for many years. He’s a nice guy. Be sure to check their place out.

  5. Anonymous says:

    A great place to search MMA schools throughout the US and find reviews is fightteam.net. You can search by zip code – FightTeam.net

  6. DRODRO says:

    Thanks for the advice, man. These days I’m checking out a judo school and a kickboxing school which I’ve got good references. I’ve been attending an mma school here in Argentina, but there are certain aspects that at first I thought were great but now I’m doubting (like the fact that there are no separate classes, and no gi).

  7. LOGAN says:

    I trained at ZUMA in victoria and I had no complaints at all. The place was awesome!

  8. James Mc says:

    Do you know anything about Team R.O.C. in Fayetteville NC. They look very legit and I am cnsidering trying them out. Just wondering if u know anything about them.

  9. David says:

    Nice article. it is well thought out and well written. I agree with what you said for the most part. One thing that I have noticed, however, especially in areas with a large number of quality MMA schools, free introductory classes are beginning to become a thing of the past.

    The school where I train, for example, is a very legit MMA gym (2 Jiu jitsu black belts and 2 brown belts, 5 judo black belts, a couple of world class boxers, high level competitors in wrestling, boxing, MMA, and Muay Thai, etc. There are classes about 12 – 16 hours per day/ seven days per week. Obviously not a fly by night operation, however the school does not allow free classes, rather it charges a day rate of $10 to give it a try. You can watch for free, but not participate.

    Not trying to argue or anything, just would hate to see people pass up excellent gyms because they think that all legit gyms offer a free trial class…

    • Jeff Joslin says:

      I think the $10 drop in fee is a great deal. Some clubs only let you jump in a class after committing to a long term contract.

  10. Chrystopher says:

    Thank you for all your tips, i`m training in Guatemala the name of acadamy its fight club Guatemala the page of internet its http://www.mmaguatemala.com i invite you to visit “again sorry for my ingles” the name of my teacher its Luis Ciraiz this acadamy do all tips you say in this article for mi its the best acadamy in Guatemala, here teaching cath wrestling, kickboxing, respect all acadamys, never talk bad of nobody, always leasing the students and take care if one hurts. again thank you and God bless you all of you. I hope one day you visit Guatemala it will be to honor to meet you ( conocerte ).

  11. Jeff Joslin says:


    No problem. Thanks for your kind words and it sounds like you are training at a great place.

    Good luck in the future and if you have any questions let me know.

  12. Marky says:

    nice article Jeff!

    You might not remember me, but my name’s Marky and I’m 19 years old and I train at Dragan’s Alliance in Waterloo. I actually had that chance to meet and train with you during the Cobrinha seminar at your gym – which was an awesome experience.
    But I have a question I’ve been trying to figure out ever since I started training bjj, because I want to be a well rounded fighter.

    When would you say is the right time for me to transition into another martial art? and which martial art would you transition into if you were in my position?

  13. Andrew says:

    Hiya jeff, I’m from Edmonton and I was just wondering if you know of any great mma schools there??? Thanks in advance!!!

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