Self-belief is a massive part of any sport but to get to the top in a sport you have to believe in yourself and as I have fought more and gained more experience and beaten really good opponents my self-belief has really changed over the last year. Just being on the mats with some of the talent the academy has to offer can only give you confidence, especially when you finally have a bit of success against them which leads me on to the next factor for success: perseverance.
For a long time I had to turn up to classes and survive! I knew that in a lot of situations there was a very small chance of me actually winning any rolls or spars but perseverance is the only thing that can finally reward you with success. You have to get in and survive and fight with pretty much all you know and every technique you have been shown in the hope that you are successful. The beauty of it is the more time you spend practicing those techniques the sooner the success starts to come.
Time. The next factor is time and time investment in particular. I used to do a LOT of strength and conditioning work outside of the gym and to be fair it really does have a time and place, however if you are training strength and conditioning 5x a week and someone is training jiu jitsu 5x a week and you go and try and beat them in jiu jitsu its pretty simple what the outcome will be every time (you can’t bench press your way out of an armbar)! So investing your time wisely particularly in mma to all the sports different aspects is very important. Speak to any of the coaches like I did and they will be happy to help you split your time and invest it well to ensure your training makes you as successful as possible.
Removing the ego. I have seen a LOT of ego’s in my time doing martial arts particularly in boxing when I first started. In combat sports, in fact in any sport and even daily life the sooner you remove your ego the more successful you will be. For example if I was to spot a mistake that a team mate was making at the mma academy I could point the mistake out to them after a spar and they would take it on board, address it and try and fix it. Our gym is a successful one because everyone there is a sponge, you see it all the time people helping each other out after rolls or sparring and giving advice and taking advice on board to help improve their all round game. Just before my last fight my cousin came to watch me hit pads with Graham Mealand and he said he couldn’t believe how we acted around each other and just critiqued each others work to help us both improve without taking any offence. He comes from a football team and said whenever he tries to give advice the other person comes back with a mistake he’s doing in an offensive way! Try martial arts some people worry about ego’s but at the MMA Academy you won’t find many!!
The next factor for success is research. There are so many factors to getting in the cage before you even fight. Injury prevention, nutrition, different training techniques all have to be researched. Lets look at it from a school perspective. If the fight is the exam and the classroom is the training and I go into my exam having just done what I’m shown in the classroom and someone else has gone into their exam having been in the classroom and then done extra revision outside of it who has an advantage? Training does not stop on the mats! Take it home, bring a notepad to class, watch techniques online, buy books! I can recommend a good few just grab me in the gym! Sports psychology in particular can really help! My training doesn’t stop on the mats I always train outside of the gym and the more research I do the easier each camp seems to go. Less injuries, stronger mind-set, better nutrition, easier weight cut! Always give yourself the best advantage especially if you’re going into a fight!
Finally the last point I want to make for success is “don’t let the fear of striking out prevent you from playing the game”. I see this a LOT in all fighting sports and I have been guilty of doing it myself in the past. If you go with a guy who’s more experienced and has had a handful of fights or is a professional always try your best against them! I’m not talking about squeezing them or trying to knock them out with windmills but never give anything up just because of who they are or what they have done! You will gain their respect much more if you try your very best at all times!!
Take the above points on board add them to your game and watch it grow in the best possible way! It worked for me going from unexperienced amateur to current FCC lightweight champion.
See you all on the mats!