I’m a professional MMA fighter for Bellator and my current record is 14-9-1.
MMA requires a good understanding of multiple disciplines and it’s widely believed that MMA can best prepare you for any real life situation – more than any other discipline. There are limitless strengths and techniques than can be combined and utilised and this means each person’s style can be more dynamic than most and unique to their own ever-evolving skill set.
My strengths are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and wrestling, and grappling has always been a passion for me. Hence I love teaching the grappling side of things and adapting it specifically to an MMA context.
The biggest key for beginners to understand is the ‘technique first’ rule. When learning a new technique it’s easy to get excited and want to execute with real life speed and power. But this will significantly slow your progress. Technique first means you must repeat the movement calmly and slowly many times until you better understand the movement. As your technique improves gradually so does the intensity (speed and power) that you execute the technique with. If the technique starts to become worse this is a sign that you need to lower the intensity until it improves.
As a coach, what makes me proud is seeing the progress of my students. Seeing them work hard and get what they deserve and knowing I had a part to play in that is extremely fulfilling. Having some of my students reach a competitive/professional level, winning fights and even winning titles is amazing. But so is seeing the progress of a more casual student, seeing them improve day by day, realising more and more that they can actually handle themselves and in turn seeing their confidence grow. I consider this just as much of an achievement.
I can often be pretty direct and demanding during classes but I also like to make jokes and have a laugh. Training should be fun but also serious no matter what the level so if a student is working hard, being respectful, listening and taking their self- improvement seriously, there’s nothing more I will ask.
Seeing my students learning and improving is by far the most enjoyable thing about teaching for me. I love passing on the knowledge I have and when I see my students absorbing that knowledge I know I’m doing a good job. Different people will have different strengths, skill levels and capabilities but the three thing I expect from everybody regardless is as follows – keep quiet and listen when I’m talking, work hard and don’t be lazy, and treat me and your teammates with respect.