By Dion Riccardo
As a combat athlete, does all of your energy typically go into practice?
Every day, you must work on the standard: stand-up, clinch and ground game.
As a fighter your main objective beyond conditioning or being in “fight shape” should be to sharpen your overall game. You must refine your tools, tricks and games in order to take on ALL sparring partners put before you, and defeat them with ease. Your maneuvers should be methodically and strategically planned as to break down your opponent’s plan of attack or game against you.
As a fighter and athlete of the Martial Arts, you must consistently work to create effective basics, as well as utilize your techniques and tactics to neutralize your opponent as quickly as possible, with minimal effort. You should always choose a school that can provide a substantial cache of fighters that are of equal or greater talent to you, in order to ensure that a large number of partners are able to push you to your limits. A fighter should always be pushed beyond his/her ability to think clearly or keep his/her composure. This has been regarded as spirit training.
Today, so many people are training in Mixed Martial Arts that one must ask, “How many have truly been pushed?” and “How far are most willing to truly go in their training?” There are some MMA athletes who have done nothing more than dominate their teammates, and are completely content with being “King of the Gym”. But are these fighters truly learning and improving their techniques? Training with more skilled fighters and getting beaten, so that one can refine his/her techniques truly teaches fighters that there is always something new to learn or improve on. Whether one’s weakness is striking, takedowns, submissions, tactics, strategies, mental preparedness or conditioning, getting challenged improves your game.
The goal is to be humble and train hard as well as learn and grow from EVERY aspect that you are weak in. Do not make the mistake of just considering your fighters and coaches learning resources. Learn from everyone, including beginners, intermediates and advanced practitioners. All have something to offer. Remember, we are all human, and everyone has their strengths and their areas of weakness. One teammate may destroy everyone in stand-up and be like a turtle on the ground. We all can learn from one another to reach the highest potential from our team. If you are the best on your team, never assume that others have nothing to bring to your growth.
When we as humans are high and mighty, we can often forget that our original focus and objective was to improve our skills. Once you lose that status, you typically get knocked back to the place you truly need to be: humility, composure and the eagerness to learn. Always stay focus and remember: train hard, but train smart!
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