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3 Essential Skills Boxers Can Transfer to MMA

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Special to Chicago’s MMA

Of all the sports and pastimes to have taken a foothold in the past few years, it is of little surprised that Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is among one of the most popular. Very much a sport on the rise, in terms of both participation and viewing, it’s an exciting amalgam of fast, technical and adept movements and techniques, and requires considerable discipline, training and skill to carry out to any level of ability. It’s great exercise, a great sport, and also something you may want to do for fun.

Many who come to MMA do so from selected martial arts disciplines; others come from the established and widespread field of boxing. The mixture of these areas of combat and fighting is what makes MMA a successful and thrilling sport, and if you already box, you should be able to make the transition easily. However, it’s not entirely straightforward, and there are some things you should know, which we are going to tell you about.

Why Boxers are Good at MMA

Boxing is an ancient and noble art, governed by a strict set of rules and requiring considerable attention to detail, knowledge and skill. It is a sport governed in many ways by set pieces, one that involves some practiced movements, and in that way it sets boxers up well to make the transition to MMA. It’s latterly become very popular with women, too, which is encouraging, as has MMA, so we are not only writing for the male reader here!

Many boxers with plenty of experience have successfully transferred their skills to MMA; this doesn’t mean they stop boxing, but that they can enjoy both disciplines whenever they wish. This does mean, however, they have to remember the differences between the two. MMA, for example, is a much looser sport in terms of what is permitted, so what are the essential skills an experienced boxer can use to his or her advantage when indulging in MMA? We took a look at the three essential areas the boxer will be familiar with.

Footwork

In boxing terms, footwork is a massive part of the route to success. Being able to move quickly and efficiently means you can evade the opponent – more of that in a moment – but also means you can attack quickly, too. In MMA the importance of footwork techniques is equally high, but for more reasons than in boxing. For example, in boxing, the main tendency is to use movement to block. This is understandable, as it is a vital part of the sport.

In MMA, it’s all about where you place yourself with the best opportunity to respond and evade. A good MMA trainer will be able to help you enhance your footwork techniques from the boxing ring, and bring them into the MMA arena without too much trouble. This is one area in which experienced boxers have a head start in training.

Speed

Boxing is about waiting for the right moment, and about biding your time. It’s about being able and ready to strike when the opportunity comes. This is also true in MMA, although perhaps to an even greater degree. Here’s why: in boxing, you are waiting for the punch, and that’s it. Or, you are waiting for the chance to land the perfect blow. In boxing, it may not seem like it, but there is in fact plenty of time.

In MMA there is no time to waste; it’s much faster, much more aggressive and far more on your toes than you may expect. However, your ability to choose the right moment in boxing transfers to MMA, and does give you something of an advantage. The difference is you need to be aware not just of punches, but of elbows, or kicks, and of any other trick moves your opponent – and you – may have. This is why even the most experienced boxers take the time to train with experienced MMA fighters, as the skills can only be transferred once you understand the difference.

Feinting and Evasion

The importance of feinting in MMA fights is far exaggerated over that in boxing. It’s part of the game, and given the speed of the movement involved, you need to up your game from the boxing ring if you are to handle the MMA fight. The training you will have received, and the experience gained, in the boxing ring can be transferred to the MMA arena, yet it needs to be done with an emphasis on speed and quick responses. Evasion is vital in MMA; the last thing you want to do is let your opponent catch you off guard, so work with your trainer to get the best speed and reaction you can.

MMA and boxing are a world apart, yet as we have seen, if done properly there are a number of skills – more in fact than we have described above – that an experienced boxer can call upon to give him or her a break in the MMA arena, so talk to your trainer now and start making that step towards expanding your boxing skills and enjoying mixed martial arts too.

Thanks to the guys over at BoxingReady.com for the contribution, Simon is an experienced amateur boxer and has stacks of information on his blog.

Gordon Ryan Hypnotik BJJ

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