Why Wrestling is the Best Base for MMA
MMA was originally founded on the premise of proving which Martial Art was truly the best. Since then, it's evolved into an art all its own. The days of being a one dimensional specialist, in any single aspect of the game, are all but gone. Yet, a large majority of the top fighters in the world, came from a wrestling background. More so than any of the other individual combat sports. So what's the difference?
It's not technical. Of course having wrestling skill helps in MMA. But guys like George Saint Pierre have proven that wrestling can be learned at any point in your career, just like all of the other skills that you need. And wrestling alone is not going to get you to a championship. Just like everyone else, you’ll need to learn how to strike, how to grapple, and how to blend all of that together. You have to be well rounded.
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Wrestlers are just a different breed. They're brought up in an environment where they're put through a meat grinder on a daily basis. They're put in bad positions over, and over, and over again. They're smashed, slammed, crunched, and beaten. They're made to push through discomfort, push through pain, push through mental road blocks. And doing so knowing that it isn’t the end, you still have to show up and do it all over again the next day.
When you’re put into an environment like that for long enough, it becomes normal. It's no longer extreme, it just is what it is. And when it becomes normal, you'll apply that same level of work to everything else that you do. And that's when the magic happens.
That's when your striking improves faster than other people's because you've been grinding out that time on the heavy bag. When your Jiu Jitsu sweeps are cleaner because you drilled them for hours on end. Because you've pushed yourself past what others are willing to do.
If you're coming from a wrestling background you may be saying "yeah, yeah, we know we need to work hard". But the reality is that the majority of the rest of the world does not have the same level of work ethic that most wrestlers do. (obviously there are exceptions to that on both sides) This is important to understand because as you work with people that don't have the same work ethic as you, you cannot let that change your work ethic.
You cannot start taking short cuts. You cannot take that foot off the gas pedal. You cannot put in anything other than the 1000% effort that you were accustomed to in the wrestling room.
MMA is no different than any other professional sport in the sense that you only have a small window of opportunity where your body can perform at that level. It's what's usually referred to as being in your prime. For most people that's somewhere between the ages of 25 to 35, roughly 10 years. That's it. That's all you get. So to get the most out of that time, you have to put in the work from the very beginning. Don’t forget what got you there in the first place.
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