Training Tip – Mindset #1


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mindsetAs an MMA instructor I’ve encountered many different types of student over the years and I must tell you there are some that I love to teach and others that make things extremely difficult if not impossible. Work to be a great student and you will learn a lot more in a shorter period of time. You will find that you instructor will begin to provide you with a some extra attention and will often take the time to correct even the smallest details in your technique because he/she knows that your mind is open to learning and that you will take their instruction to heart. Rather than giving you tips on how to be a great student, I will do the opposite in giving you examples of the type of student you should try not to be. Here’s the first one.

The “I already know that!” type
This is probably the most difficult type of student an instructor can have. Fortunately I’ve only run into a few students that possess this terribly annoying type of attitude.

Here’s how a lesson would play with this type of mixed martial artist in the class. Noticing that a technique was being applied incorrectly by that student I would walk up to him/her and suggest a few adjustments that should be made to improve the movement. At some point, usually half way through my explanation, they would cut me off with a “Ya, Ya” and appear to want to get back to practicing it. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I’d walk away then glance back to see if they indeed did make the necessary adjustments and they rarely would. They simply went on making the same mistakes, over and over again, that in their mind were non-existent.

In some cases the mind of this type of student would open up over time and they would become much easier to teach. I’ve also had some cases where the student never changed and ended up learning next to nothing in a really long period of training. Their money and time was wasted but I guess in their mind they felt good because they never had to really admit to themselves that they didn’t know something.

If you are a martial artist or someone with a combat sports background be careful not to fall into this type of mindset when you branch out into other combat disciplines. I know it can tough to become and be treated –by an instructor—like a beginner again when you are highly proficient in your chosen combat sport or martial art but it’s the only way to learn that new skill set properly.

I’ve had to do it several times over throughout my career. I took my licks in kickboxing, then in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, then on the mats with national level wrestlers and in the ring with some of the top boxers in the country. I am proud to say that I persevered for many years through some very tough training in each discipline until I could compete at a high level in any aspect of mixed martial arts.

Being humble and open to the process of learning is ultra important if you are looking to make it to the top levels of MMA competition. You’ll learn faster, learn much more, and gain all the important technical details your instructor has to show. Avoid being an “I already know that” type student at all times as it will lead you off track and make it next to impossible for you to acheive your MMA goals.

Other articles in the “Mindset Series”,

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 Mindset #6 – “The Ungrateful One”
Categories : MMA Training Tips

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  1. Richard Townsend says:

    Hey Jeff great blog. I just wanna say I miss being at the club, unfortunately times are tough for me and am not able to afford to rejoin. Joslins will always be in my heart and soul. Keep up the good work, and have a safe merry christmas and new year

    • Jeff Joslin says:

      Hi Richard. Thanks bro and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too. Drop by anytime for a free workout in one of my classes. Take care

  2. Fariba says:

    Great lesson of life Jeff . Not just in our beloved MMA sport ,but all aspects of life. Being open to criticism and learning from it has proven very valuable in my life. Thank you for reminding us to be aware of this mindset. Merry Christmas to you and your family and a very happy New year.

  3. Jay Doyle says:

    Hey bud, great reads and keep them going. Hope you guys have a great Christmas and take care. Hopefully we will amke it out there in the new year.

  4. Paul H says:

    True advice but “I already know that”!

  5. Salm miro says:

    Hey I don’t know u but i heard u were a great training -fighting i might stop but at the gym

  6. jet says:

    great blog jeff and yeah your right i know alot off assholes out there who think they know how to fight and think so highly acheive and so godly of themself but later someone bigger will teach them a lesson thats why i try to stay humble i only use my powers (my trainin) for good not evil (meanin self defence only)

  7. Chris says:

    BJJ is all about the details….

  8. Paul H says:

    This is great example of someone who thought they new everything and turned out they knew nothing, (I don’t know how how to embed videos here so you’ll have to cut and paste).

    First clip is of a crazy Daitouryu-aikido master named Yanagiryuken training with his students and
    magically kicking butt.

    Second clip is him in a full contact fight with some karate kid.
    The look on his face when he takes probably his first real punch is priceless.

  9. Chris B says:

    Good advice Jeff!

    LOL at that Aikido guy. What a joke. But in all seriousness there are some great Aikido schools/guys out there and it is a great art for Law Enforcement/Self defence and who knows maybe we will see it in MMA one day. Look at Machida. Years ago if somebody saw him in his karate gi doing kata’s, sparring in karate tournaments you would of never of thought that he would knockout Rich Franklin, Thiago Silva, Rashad Evans using his Shotokan Karate techniques/stances. When MMA gets as popular around the world as it is in North America we will see more and more fighters from all sorts of different MA styles(taekwondo,kung fu, karate etc..) applying techniques you wouldn’t normally see to often in todays MMA world.

    Anyways have a safe and happy holidays guys!

  10. Kevin Pickett says:

    Unfortunately, poor students often ruin the atmosphere for everyone. The ‘know-it-all’ attitude is difficult to counter, however, because they’re not interested in a logical discussion. Instead, they only have ears for the things that reinforce their current attitude. This leaves the teacher with few options: 1. try to alter (read: destroy) the misguided perception the student has, and hope they recover with a better attitude. 2. Let the natural consequences of their attitude and beliefs unfold. Personally, I’m for the second option because it’s experiential; the first creates the potential for the student to merely resent the teacher. However, if the student is really poisoning the class, and action is required fast, then sometimes the first option is called for.

    Of course, this view is merely based on my own meandering experience as a teacher (not a martial arts teacher), so it may not apply at all.

  11. Kyuss says:

    Great read for sure! You definately make things more comfortable for us newbs to feel at home @ Joslins! I especially like your advise in the BJJ class re: you’re going to lose a lot at first. Some may think that’s a negative, but it truly helps, cause yeah I get schooled class in and class out, and at first I just thought I sucked (well, kinda do but only cause I’m new lol), but it’s all part of the learning process, and can only make me better if I learn from each instruction you give/roll partner. Thanks man!

  12. Jeff S says:

    So true Jeff…these guys exist in every aspect of life from Martial Arts to the work environment. Some people you just can’t teach. Although, I resent the 10th degree white belt label…I have two small kids..that’s my excuse!

  13. […] MMA Training Tip – Mindset #1 (The I Already Know That Type) […]

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