Due to the rising popularity of mixed martial arts, martial art schools are appearing everywhere claiming to offer the best M.M.A training around. Schools that once taught Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Karate, Sport Jiu-Jitsu and other traditional styles are now incorporating the term M.M.A in all their advertising, hoping to take advantage of the booming rise of reality fighting’s popularity.

The instructors at these types of school are usually very proficient in their respective style: Are they efficient at teaching the high quality, diverse M.M.A skills that you are in search of?

Finding a quality mixed martial arts school can prove very difficult for those who have no clue of what to look for. In this article I will discuss several ways to help you determine the quality of the martial art establishments you visit or call on the phone.

Step 1 – Ask them if they teach mixed martial arts

If the academy does not teach it, and have no intention of pretending to do so, they will usually be honest with their reply and will often point you in the direction of another school that better suits your needs.

Many other instructors, when asked will claim that they do teach M.M.A so that they will not lose you as a potential customer. This is not a lie entirely since the term mixed martial arts simply means mixing multiple martial arts together and they may indeed know techniques from different disciplines. You next mission is to find out the background, credentials and competitive/coaching history of the school’s instructors.

Step 2 – Search the names of the school owner / names of the instructor’s on the internet

Get on a computer as soon as you find out the name of the school owner, or the names of the various instructors that teach at that academy. You will be amazed at the amount of info you can find out about people by typing their names into the search engine at Google or some other search engine. You can usually dig up some info about the person’s competitive/coaching history and the various belt ranks or credentials earned by them in their combative discipline.

Step 3 – Find out precisely what styles of martial arts they teach

If you are looking for efficient well rounded mixed martial arts training you must find a school that teaches stand-up striking, ground work, and some form of takedown training. Many different martial art blends can be effective.

I suggest you look for a combination of authentic – the instructor has a recognized belt in BJJ — Brazilian jiu-jitsu training (with gi and no-gi classes), wrestling, boxing and kickboxing. Ideally, the different disciplines should be taught in separate classes to maximize your learning experience.

Step 4 – Ask to try a free class

Don’t be afraid to ask for a free lesson. Even schools that don’t advertise a free introductory class will usually give you one if you request it. Be wary of those that refuse. The free class will give you the opportunity to check out some important things: The school’s atmosphere, the way classes are structured, the teaching skill of the instructor, the enjoyment factor, and the talent of the other students in the class. This type of input will assist you in making your decision to join or not.

Step 5 – Repeat this process at all schools that offer mixed martial arts training in your area

Even if you are satisfied with the first school you check out, be sure to first visit the other M.M.A schools in the area to allow you a comparison between several different places. Also, do not always believe what one martial artist or school owner says about their competitors, as there is often some unwarranted bad-mouthing within the martial arts community. Everyone thinks their place is the best! Get out to all the schools, try your free class at each and make you own decision as to what’s the best place for you.

Step 6 – Ask about all the costs, not just tuition

When you’re ready to enroll in the school of your choice, ask about any additional fees in addition to tuition (testing fees, registration fees, organizational fees etc.). Also, you will probably have to purchase a uniform or some training gear.

Step 7 – You are now a beginning mixed martial artist, congrats!

You have found the ideal school for you and have begun your training in an activity that can offer you many things, fitness, improved confidence, real self-defense skills and plenty of enjoyment. Train smart, train hard, have fun, leave you ego at home and remember you have to be the nail before you can be the hammer. If you don’t know what that means you’ll find out soon.

One more thing, if right away, you’re easily hanging with the school’s top students while grappling or sparring, you’ve picked the wrong place to train.

Over the last three decades I’ve used many different training methods and strategies and have been fortunate to have trained under some of the best coaches in the world in a variety of martial arts disciplines. Fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was a dream come true for me and I look to help you achieve your personal MMA goals.

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