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If you have decided to join the growing number of people pursuing mixed martial arts (MMA) practice, say goodbye to a boring gym routine and hello to a complete body-mind-spirit workout. Yet, with all of your enthusiasm, you want to make sure you are still practicing safely so as not to limp home with any strained muscles or broken bones. Here are a few common mistakes made while practicing MMA techniques, and a few ways to avoid them.
Don’t Over Do It
Unless you are working closely with a coach who instructs you to do so, it is best not to train to the point of exhaustion. Overexertion can lead to muscle injuries and poor form. If you begin having trouble sleeping, eating, or have an accelerated heart rate you have probably made the mistake of over-training. Your goal is to gradually improve your overall condition, not to make yourself sick!
Watch Your Form
MMA techniques involved balance, and posture. Beginners will often focus on easy submissions rather than keeping form in mind. Squaring of the hips and shoulders, foot placement, weight distribution, and balance all contribute to a proper form. These issues are important to prevent unnecessary personal injury and also contribute to a stronger performance. If you are not properly lined up, you will have poor follow through and may even end up on your backside!
Take Your Time
Remember, martial arts are about more than just bashing and smashing. Most MMA techniques are considered a “do” or way of life, focusing on training the whole person from the inside out. If you keep this in mind and are patient, humble, and consistent you will make far more progress than a simplistic external approach.
Don’t Knock the Basics
While drill practices may seem like a waste of time, they are one of the best ways to learn. The goal is to train your body and mind to be able to react in situations of danger without needing to slow down and think, wasting valuable defense time. It can also be in your best interest to focus on one technique at a time until it’s instinctual. Practicing MMA techniques like keeping your hands up, ready to defend yourself, can get tiring, but it’s necessary for it to become second nature.
Punch Like a Pro
Often you will be practicing your punches and kicks on a punching bag. It is best to practice these MMA techniques with lighter bags (about 40lbs) that have some give to avoid back and hip injuries. Again, don’t practice until you reach exhaustion as you will lose form and potentially hurt yourself. Punches should land so that you make flush contact with the flat part of your pointer and middle fingers. Any closer to your ring finger, or with knuckles only, and you risk a broken hand. Also keep your thumb away for your other fingers to avoid a fracture. When kicking, avoid making your toes the contact point, as they are also smaller bones that break easily.
Mastering MMA techniques takes time, tons of energy and discipline. But if you want a strong body and a sharp mind, it’s worth the training time!
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