It's been (roughly) three years since I did any form of martial arts. I did achieve the rank of Brown belt in Karate, but towards the end of my training, my weight was becoming a real issue. It was restricting my flexibility, so it was harder for me to do e.g. head kicks. Once life got in the way, I had to stop and I eventually put on more weight. My declining physical fitness was on my mind for a long time, but I lacked the motivation to do anything about it.
Fast forward to this month. I have joined a local MMA gym called Modern Day Martial Arts (MDMA). I've only been there for a week so far, but I already feel that this is an ideal place for me. It should help me lose weight, give me a greater knowledge of all aspects of MMA and maybe (in the very long term) I'd be able to compete (most likely to be amateur/semi-pro though).
In my first week, I did Wrestling on Monday, Kickboxing on Tuesday and then went to an 'open mat' session on Sunday.
I realised before the session started that this was going to be the one that would be the most different in comparison to anything I've done before. However, it's necessary if I ever want to be considered well rounded. Many of you know what happens to British fighters with no experience of grappling.
Naturally, we started with a warmup and I already felt the strain after that. However, as I was starting to regain my focus and motivation, I wanted to throw myself into it. Not going slowly is great.
One of the first exercises was where you start in a position where the opponent is almost about to get on your back. You stretch out the far leg, get control of the opponents arm, bring your other leg through and quickly move so you end up in the position that he started in (don't worry if you find that difficult to understand. I'll probably get better at describing this sort of thing when I gain more experience). I surprised myself because I picked this up without any issues. However, MDMA has some great instructors and that definitely helps.
After that, we did some takedowns. I enjoyed these, especially as my partner was lighter so it was easier. However, after a while I started gassing and there was a small amount of pain in my lower back. One of the instructors noticed that my posture - when going for the takedown - was all wrong. After the correction, there was a lot less strain.
The final part of this session was timed grappling sessions against a series of opponents. My first oppoent was easy to slam and pin because he was lighter. At one point, he went for a takedown, but I stuffed it, grabbed hold of him on his stomach, then just picked him up and slammed him so I was was in side control. However, the next two opponents were noticeably heavier and I just got brutalised.
After the Wrestling class had finished, I was knackered/tired/whatever you want to call it. My legs felt incredibly heavy and I was aching all over. That sort of thing was great because I had a Kickboxing class the next day!
Going into this class, I could still feel the after-effects of the previous day. I felt great though, because I knew I put as much into it as my fat mess of a body would allow. Once again, I was tired after the warm up, but it was worth it.
The entire class was various punching, kicking and combo exercises (all using pads held by an opponent). This was great as there were times when I felt like I was putting some power behind the strikes. I also had no problems following the combos and my accuracy was fine.
However, I did have real issues with my gas tank (I remember referring to it as 'Shane Carwin-like'). For example, I could start off an exercise with plenty of power, but before then end all that power would have gone and I'd have to take a short breather. Fortunately, I had a great training partner who reminded me about the technique aspect and said I should focus on that if I lose the power at any stage.
At the end of the class, I was sweating like a pig (before getting a shower, I had to spend five minutes trying to get my t-shirt of that had sealed to my body because of all the sweat!), aching and moving really slowly. Once again, it was worth it though.
Yesterday I spent a couple of hours doing various things. There was no formal class, but with the aid of a training partner and some nearby instructors, I was able to work on various aspects of my grappling and improve the technique of my kicks (the Karate influence in the way that I did them was noted).
I enjoyed the time working on the heavy bags because I was able to some effective striking that had speed and power.
I got some time on that mat and in the cage. My training partner was heavier and much more experienced with grappling and submissions. I was naturally dominated, but I learned a load and got a great workout.
Summary and Conclusion
Yesterday, I found out that I was 17.5 stone (for any people from the US reading this, it is 245lb), which is a full stone heavier than I expected. However, I know that if I continue to put the work in at MDMA, not only will the weight go over time, but I will also have a much more well-rounded and refined skill set. Although I ache after each class, I feel great mentally.
At some point I would also like to go to the submission classes.
I would recommend this sort of training for anyone.
So, what do you think?