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Guest blog from our Jordan Training Academy, Head Trainer, Marc Edwards

MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is still growing in popularity. I believe the moves from Martial Arts should be involved in everybody’s training regime at some point across a cycle.

I’m a lifelong Martial Artist and therefore hold some bias to training like this. I started Judo (a non-striking martial art) from an early age and incorporated Kickboxing and various other modes of striking in my teens. I’m now pushing 40 and attribute my discipline, ability to deal with stress, sustained flexibility and mobility and functional strength to these foundations.

If you’re new to this or even contemplating trying out some form of Martial Arts (MA) but are afraid to walk into a Dojo (Training Hall) or Boxing Gym, then the fitness industry definitely provides the best solution. A good personal trainer should seek out a pad-work qualification to offer this. We want to provide the client (the end user) with a unique experience of training like a fighter without the fear of getting hit & hurt. 

Non-Impact Combat Classes.

These are cool. It will offer the user some sort of understanding about the techniques used in stand-up martial arts. There is no impact onto pads or bags and where some may see this as a positive of these classes, I do not. For one, connecting with a target is the purpose of a punch or kick. Believe me, you wouldn’t aim to miss an opponent’s face in the ring. If you don’t have decent tone in the muscles to protect the joints, there’s a risk of over extension (like whiplash feeling) and to be honest, it feels nice to hit something at the end of a workday!

Group Exercise on Pads.

This is so much better that hitting thin air, however many modes of Group Ex and combat type moves are pre-choreographed routines and quite often to music. Not to slam ETM (exercise to music), it totally has a place, but if you fight to a preconceived rhythm, that’s a dangerous place to be. Yes, I know that nobody will actually get hit or hurt in a fitness class but again, we’re trying to offer a realistic, immersive client experience.

A good trainer & class instructor that wishes to offer this as a service, should understand the techniques involved in stand-up Martial Arts, the techniques involved in ground Martial Arts and how they organically fit together. There’s an art to this, not just a science. 

For example, when it comes to creating a combination that enables the client to move forward whilst striking; starting with a linear kick (snap kick), following up with a jab punch from the same (lead) hand as the leg that just struck, in quick succession a cross punch, lead hook punch and rear hooking elbow should land. Here you’ve gone from Long to medium, to close range strikes whilst maintaining a good steady anterior attack. The best bit here comes as you (the pad person) puts the pads in the exact right spot at the right time whilst moving posterior. Like I said, artistry.

If you are a Fitness Trainer looking to teach MMA, or if you are a Gym who wants to set up classes to add to your studio fitness class programme, we offer a Martial Arts for Fitness course as a solution. The MMAFI Course teaches Punches, Kicks, Elbow Strikes, Knee Strikes, some modified ground exercises and how to hold the pads and programme for ALL Fitness abilities. This Instructor Course empowers you, the instructor, to create awesome combinations to offer the user experience that all clients deserve.

There are multiple benefits of being able to offer these as a service. Apart from the obvious Physiological ones (fat loss and fitness), there are additional benefits like functional movements from all joints, strength endurance, power endurance, flexibility, co-ordination, balance and Cardio improvements. Then there are the psychological benefits. It’s extremely empowering to feel you can defend yourself (self-defence is, however, a different topic) should you need to. Its confidence building and it’s just good fun! Not to forget that FIGHTING is one of the main Movement Patterns. We, as human beings, used to fight for survival, now thankfully it’s for sport, recreation or in the line at Starbucks!

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