Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Training anytime, anywhere

One of the more convenient aspects of mixed martial arts is its flexibility when it comes to training. Unlike other sports like football or hockey, where teams usually always practice in just one place, MMA fighters can choose to either stay in one gym and train or they can travel to different gyms in order to soak up as much knowledge and training as they can before a fight.

This was true for former World Extreme Cagefighting competitors and now UFC competitors Leonard Garcia, "Cowboy" Donald Cerrone and Mike Brown. While the trio were in Baltimore last night for the third Shogun Fights event, they also had the opportunity to train at Ground Control Baltimore, which is run by John Rallo, who is also the head promoter for Shogun Fights.

While training in familiar surroundings is always welcome, another convenient aspect of MMA is that even if you're training in a different gym, you can still work on a lot of the same aspects of your game. MMA gyms are universal in that they all provide fighters to work on their multiple skills, including striking, wrestling and jiu-jitsu.

Garcia, Cerrone and Brown all appear to get in some valuable training while in town for Shogun Fights, which shows that even if they're traveling for fun or for promotional purposes, they can still partake in business if need be.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Getting an early start

Ever since I started becoming a fan of mixed martial arts and have expressed an interest in training in the sport, I have lamented that I didn't take a more active role growing up in partaking in sports like karate or wrestling. Doing so probably would have better prepared me and made a transition to MMA easier, and I specifically remember coming home from school with sign-up sheets for karate classes that I could never get my parents to sign.

If I had been able to get an early start, it could have been possible for me to learn from a legend in a sport like Brazilian jiu-jitsu like kids who partake in classes at Team Lloyd Irvin in Camp Springs. The kids were recently visited by Dustin Denes, a BJJ black belt who has competed worldwide.

A video accompanies the post about Denes' visit and it appears that at least initially, he stuck to the basics when teaching the kids. It's probably better that way. Though it's nice for the kids to get an early start in BJJ and learn from someone as respected as Denes, it's safe to say they shouldn't be learning any rear-naked chokes or armbars just yet.

As an aside, I went to a MMA event in Manassas, Virginia over the weekend. I enjoyed my time at the event, despite the fact it started an hour late and I had to sit through 17 fights in one night, which caused my eyes to glass over about halfway through. A recap of my experience can be found here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

So, you wanna be a fighter?

More often than not, when someone who aspires for greater things sees that very thing they want to do on TV or read it in a book or read about it on the internet, they think to themselves "I can do that". It's human nature to think something that we see or read sounds a lot easier than it actually is.

But when it comes to mixed martial arts, as with many things, it really is not any easier than it actually is. In some cases, it's much harder. Evolve Academy in Gaithersburg has applied that philosophy by recently holding fighter try-outs.

Having participated in some form of MMA training at Evolve myself, I can safely say that if you think you can waltz in there and think you can be the next Georges St. Pierre in no time flat, you are SORELY mistaken. Fortunately, I think most who follow MMA and have an interest in doing it know that it takes an overwhelmingly tremendous amount of dedication, mental toughness and hard work.

I've been in touch with Evolve's promotions person, Melissa Snider, and she e-mailed to me that about 20 guys came out for the try-outs, a number that was soon whittled down to 15. Honestly, I'm surprised the number is even that high. I would have thought the number would never go higher than maybe half that.

Evolve only holds try-outs once a year, Melissa tells me, in preparation of events like these. Luckily aspiring fighters receive top-notch training so they don't go into a tournament with an over-inflated sense of their own abilities.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Learning from youth

Often times when a school or gym brings in a guest instructor, it is someone much older than the students and/or the regular instructors who has a wealth of experience and has probably forgotten more things about what they are going to teach than the students and/or regular instructors could ever hope to know.

However, in the case of Team Lloyd Irvin of Camp Springs, a school known for producing mixed martial artists who compete at the amateur and national level, they brought in a guest instructor who would probably me among the younger students.

The school recently hosted a Brazilian jiu-jitsu seminar by J.T. "Spiderman" Torres, a world-renowned BJJ competitor who is all of 19 years old. But despite his age, a YouTube video is posted on the above link with Torres giving another seminar at another gym where he seems to demonstrate the expertise and savvy that would probably rival some of the foremost minds in the art of BJJ.

Torres has apparently made his name against some of the other young stars in MMA in various BJJ contests. Here's a video of Torres submitting UFC welterweight Dustin Hazelett in less than a minute.