Boxer’s Transition To MMA – Part 6

First week back from injury and it feels good to finally get some more training under my belt.

Some more quality training!

The badly bruised/swollen shin I picked up last week isn’t fully healed if I’m honest but I’m not having more than a week off, I just can’t! The nurse said it could take about 3 weeks and I should leave it until all the feeling has come back in my foot. But what do nurses know, eh?

And with that I turned up at the Tuesday evening MMA 101 session with an ankle that was still black’ish from bruising and swollen like Professor Klump in the Nutty Professor. (It was the shin that was the point of impact for the injury, but weirdly all the swelling and bruising came out around my ankle?)

I managed to soldier through training by adapting some stuff (like not fully doing a burpee for the warm-up, or sitting out and shadow boxing when certain drills felt a bit dodgy) and I also just eased back in by only doing the MMA and class and avoiding Jiu Jitsu for this week. I don’t think I’d have got much out of the BJJ class anyway with how limited I was.

Any sympathy I might have expected from the lads was non-existent, as I was ripped for my ‘girly’ injury in the changing rooms as soon as I started strapping up my poor foot.
Those cruel MMA boys and their banter!

Head coach Jason took the Tuesday MMA101 session this week and I honestly have to say that the more coaching I receive from this man the more impressed I am. He’s like Yoda with how much he knows about MMA and all the disciplines you need to be successful.

The class was predominantly wrestling-based, which was great for me as it’s the are I most wanna develop.
Jason made a great point about the best MMA-wrestlers being those who are comfortable in striking distance, which enables them to set up their takedowns when the opponent is out of position to defend.

I completely agree – that’s why 99% of my take downs are on the end of a combo. I struggle when it’s a ‘pure wrestling’ environment. I lack confidence to ‘shoot’ without throwing some shots first to distract them.

I’m sure I mentioned this in my last blog anyway? Maybe it’s me who is the Yoda, and Jason is stealing my material!

Since I’ve been back I’m yet to attend a Muay Thai class. To be honest it’ll probably be a good idea to put Thai on the backburner for a bit, especially if my leg is still tender. And then when I start up again I’ve been told to ‘double-up’ on the shinguard on my bad leg.

I don’t wanna leave it too long to get back though, as that could start up a mental block about throwing kicks.

To be honest, I’ve had a good think and it throws up a dilemma…Shall I just leave the kicks now?

I was never going to take anyone’s head off with them anyway. Don’t get me wrong, they were coming on. I was starting to kick higher and with more power. That was only really on the pads, though.
In sparring, my range coming on and again the height was getting further north but I’d only really let a kick go when it was on the end of a ‘punch’ combination.

First and foremost I’m a boxer – so my hands are always gonna be my speciality. A bit of boxing with some wrestling and jiu jitsu finishes, that sounds good enough for me! Yeah – throw the odd leg kick in there, why not? But then I’m thinking “Am I gonna be able to commit to these leg kicks now?”

I never really committed to them in the first place (I mean – that’s the exact reason I got injured) so to try and start fully committing when coming back from a badly inujured shin would be tough. The mental mindset of an MMA fighter, eh?

Coach Jason asked me to start Thai mainly to get my defences from kicks better. So as long as I can continue with this then we’ll see what happens in the future. I’d be happy to just go back to a boxer/wrestler style that my body shape is best suited to anyway, but I’ll listen to the coaches as they know best and doing what they say has served me very well so far!

Thursday’s MMA101 class was took by usual coach Mike Wootten, who had much more sympathy for my injury (or maybe empathy not sympathy, as Mike has seen his own fair share of injuries over the years.) He very kindly made a fuss of me, and made sure my training partners went easy around my foot. Haha I felt so pampered! It made for an excellent session, until the very end…when I stubbed my toe on the warm down! All that special treatment and then I go and hurt my foot anyway, jogging round the mat. What a moron!

It was nice to see a few debutants in the MMA101 class. We had a father of one of the lads from the ‘Kids Explorers’ program, and also a guy who had worked his way up from the foundations classes.

Both lads worked their socks off and fit in well.

Afterwards they said it was tough and tiring but the smile on their faces at the end showed that they were made up they’d put themselves through it.
It’s great seeing other people’s progress right before your eyes, it all adds to the community spirit in the gym.

As usual the week finished with some MMA sparring on Saturday.

I asked could I just do some “shootboxing” with whoever I was paired with, which meant it was just a combination of boxing and wrestling with no kicks.

It went well. I didn’t feel like I set the world alight but I got through it without doing any more damage to my leg. Next week I should be able to start kicking again, I’ll have to if I want to squeeze an MMA debut in before Christmas or at least early next year.