In this blog post, you will learn some grappling tips for strikers if you're a striker looking to transition to mixed martial arts (MMA).
While striking is a crucial part of MMA, grappling is equally important.
In fact, many MMA fights end up on the ground, so it's important to know how to defend yourself and even submit your opponent.
First, in the context of developing your grappling skills as a striker, you only need to focus on learning the basic fundamentals of grappling.
The three top fundamentals to learn first are takedown defense and escapes.
Don't try to learn too much on submissions or attacks too quickly.
Instead, focus on mastering the basics of keeping the fight standing up first.
Second, attend regular grappling classes to keep your skills sharp, expand your techniques and to learn from experienced coaches and training partners.
Consistent training will also help you develop the necessary strength and conditioning for grappling.
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Table of Contents
Basics of Grappling
Grappling is a crucial aspect of MMA, and it is essential to have a solid foundation in grappling techniques.
In this section, I will discuss the basics of grappling and how to focus on wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).
Focus on wrestling
Wrestling is an excellent foundation for grappling in MMA.
It involves takedowns, throws, and ground control, all of which are crucial in MMA.
In fact, I even believe you need to work on your wrestling first and foremost before you learn BJJ and I am a BJJ guy!
To improve your wrestling, you should focus on the following:
Focus on controlling your opponent's hips and keeping your weight on them.
Focus on exercises that improve your explosive power and endurance.
Add BJJ to your wrestling
BJJ is another essential aspect of grappling in MMA.
BJJ focuses on ground fighting and submissions, making it a valuable skill in MMA.
Combining wrestling and BJJ can help you greatly when you transition from striking to MMA.
To improve your BJJ, you should focus on the following:
Essential Grappling Techniques For Strikers To Survive In MMA
There are many strikers in MMA now that do not have advanced grappling skills but they can become champions.
One of the greatest of all time, Chuck Liddell, is also known for not having any advanced level of grappling.
This shows that you do not need to master flying berimbolos or double spinning imanari rolls to do well in MMA as a striker.
You only need just enough basic grappling skills that you can use against grapplers and keep the fight in your world, which is standing up.
Here are some basic grappling skills that you need to know to survive in MMA:
One of the most important skills for strikers transitioning to MMA is the sprawl.
A sprawl is a defensive technique used to prevent your opponent from taking you down.
It involves sprawling your legs back and dropping your hips to stuff your opponent's takedown attempt.
To execute a sprawl effectively, you need to keep your weight on your toes, hips low, and chest up.
Pummeling for underhooks
Another important skill for strikers transitioning to MMA is pummeling for underhooks.
Underhooks are a powerful position in MMA that allow you to control your opponent's body and set up takedowns or strikes.
Pummeling is the process of fighting for underhooks by using your arms to swim inside your opponent's arms and secure the underhook position.
Getting out of a clinch
The clinch is a common position in MMA where both fighters are standing and holding onto each other.
It can be a dangerous position for strikers because it allows grapplers to take them down or land strikes from close range.
You need to learn on how to get out of a clinch by using footwork, head movement, and hand fighting to create space and break away.
If you do get taken down or clinched in MMA, you need to know how to escape pins on the ground and on the cage.
On the ground, you can use bridges, rolls, and shrimping to create space and get back to your feet.
On the cage, you can use wall walking, cage grappling, and hand fighting to stand up and break away.
Using strikes to manage the distance
As a striker, you are already familiar with managing the distance with strikes.
In MMA, you also need to learn about using frames to keep your opponent away.
Strikes are, basically, your primary weapon in MMA if you are a striker, and frames are defensive structures that you can use to push your opponent away and create space.
Standing up from guard if taken down
You need to know how to stand up from guard if you are taken down.
The guard is a position where your opponent is on top of you, and you have your legs wrapped around their waist or between their body and yours.
To stand up from guard, you need to use your legs to create space, framing or blocking to neutralize strikes from the top, and hip movement to get back to your feet.
Aware of potential submission from the bottom
Finally, you need to be aware of potential submissions even if you're on top of your opponent.
In MMA, grapplers can use their guard to set up submissions like arm bars, triangles, and leg locks.
To avoid getting caught in a submission, you need to be aware of your opponent's tricks and use proper posture and defense.
Grappling Training Tips For Strikers In MMA
Here are some grappling tips for MMA to help you get started:
Before you start grappling, it is important to prepare your body and mind for the challenges ahead.
This means developing a disciplined training regimen that includes strength and conditioning exercises, as well as a healthy diet and lifestyle.
You should also be mentally prepared to face the physical and mental demands of grappling, which can be intense and exhausting.
Focus on simple and effective techniques
When it comes to grappling, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of techniques available.
However, as a beginner, it is important to focus on simple and effective techniques that you can master quickly.
This might include basic takedowns, submission holds, and ground control positions.
As you gain more experience, you can start to explore more advanced techniques and strategies.
Develop “anti-grappler” strategies
In grappling, the goal is to gain a dominant position over your opponent, which allows you to control and submit them.
If you know you have limited grappling skills, you need to develop strategies to prevent the fight going into the grappler's favor.
This means you and your coaches need to formulate strategies that will make sure the fight stays standing up for as long as possible.
Bring your opponent into your world, not the other way around.
In addition, you should always be aware of your opponent's strengths and weaknesses, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
You should also be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances during a fight, and never give up or get discouraged if things don't go your way.
Finding the Right Gym and Instructor
When it comes to transitioning from striking to mixed martial arts, finding the right gym and instructor to develop your grappling skills is crucial.
Not all grappling and BJJ academies are the same.
Some BJJ academies focus on sports jiu jitsu or self defense and they might not have a comprehensive program for MMA.
You need to make sure that the grappling academy or school you are joining offers a comprehensive program for MMA.
Here are some tips to help you choose the right academy or dojo.
Factors to consider
When looking for a gym or dojo, consider the following factors:
Finding the right instructor
Once you've found a gym or dojo, it's important to work with the right instructor. Here are some tips to help you find the right instructor:
Sparring partners and classes
Finally, finding the right sparring partners and classes is key to your success in grappling and MMA.
Here are some tips to help you find the right sparring partners and classes:
To wrap it up....
Transitioning from striking to mixed martial arts can be a challenging but rewarding experience.
Grappling is an essential part of MMA, and it's important to have a solid foundation in this area to be successful in the sport.
Here are a few final tips to keep in mind:
Overall, the key to success in MMA is to be well-rounded and adaptable.
By focusing on your grappling skills and continuing to develop your striking, you'll be on your way to becoming a skilled and competitive fighter.
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