The idea of cross-training, or MMA, is only a recent development. Traditionally, fighters studied one art, in hopes of mastering it, and reaching the peak of effectiveness and efficiency with its techniques. Whether cross-training/MMA is more effective than attempting to master a single art is a topic of much debate as of late. Most professionals – and now many ?civilians? ? have taken to cross-training/MMA, even at the earliest stages of their career.
I would argue that studying multiple disciplines, especially early on, is an exercise in futility. Gaining an effective ability with one martial art is difficult, let alone multiple arts, time, stamina and the everyday rigors and needs of real life severely limit the average person?s ability to properly study one art, let alone multiple. My feeling is that the way to excellence is gaining a strong comfort level in one art, then beginning cross-training, is the most effective methodology.
So where do you start? At least to form a foundation, a bed rock, you must start with BJJ.
A quick look at the history of BJJ reminds us of how effective of a martial art it truly is:
For many years, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was virtually unheard of on a worldwide basis. Despite its effectiveness, the hype on BJJ remained quiet for many years. The flashier arts Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Karate were always a favorite of the public. Cross-training was not common, especially in an art that was unpopular in and of itself. The Gracie brothers , the celebrated fathers of BJJ were left with a considerable question: How do you expose a new martial arts system to the public? The answer: you prove how effective it is.
As is now common knowledge, the Gracie family did this through Challenge Matches. These were vale tudo, no-holds-barred fights with other martial arts schools, simply to prove the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This began in the 1920′s, when Carlos Gracie would place an add in the paper saying “If you want to get your face beaten and well smashed, your ___ kicked, and your arms broken, Contact Carlos Gracie at this address…” The Gracie family started challenging other form of martial arts . They would simply walk into a school and challenge them to combat. This is a tradition that continues today. A quick search on YouTube leads you to Gracie family fights with masters of Hapkido, Kung Fu, Karate, etc. Aside from the challenges, something else has remained consistent over time: The total dominance and effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in these challenges.
The challenges were always made to the head instructors of other schools and usually it would involve a few of the best students of each school. Essentially, it was art against art, not simply fighter against fighter.
This was abundantly clear in some of the earlier UFC fights. Put on in part by Rorion Gracie to prove the effectiveness of BJJ, Royce Gracie handily defeated all comers in three ? THREE ? UFCs, with no weight classes, and often fighting more than one fight in a given night.
The martial arts world took notice. Today, no fighter enters the ring or octagon without at least minor verse in BJJ.
As the sport of MMA has become more refined, so have the training regimens. Today, most professional fighters cross-train in 3 core areas: Stand-up , Takedowns , and Ground Game . BJJ submissions account for as many, if not more fight finishes than knock outs. Nevertheless, at that level, there is a need to have some exposure to the various arts.
Even at the professional level, though, most professionals have an area of focus despite cross-training. This is especially true of the better fighters. A quick look a recent champions list perfectly exemplifies this.
The reason for the focus on art, despite some cross-training is simple: time. There are only so many hours to train in a day, and giving each of the three core areas the necessary attention is impossible.
This is particularly true for ?civilians,? who don?t even have the time the professionals have to train.
So what do you focus on,? and how do you add in a cross-training regimen, and not quit your job to become a pro-fighter.
It is my firm belief the best place to start is BJJ. It has consistently proven to be the most effective martial art. Rarely does a professional fight take place that at least part of the fight isn?t on the ground. As is often quoted: ?95% of streetfights end up on the ground.? There is little argument that BJJ is the building block.
I do not feel that any cross-training should take place until at least the Blue Belt, if not the Purple Belt level. Why cross train so late? Because the human brain can only learn so much at the time.
Learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from the #1 Grappler right here in FT. Lauderdale, Florida. Pablo Popovitch is a 4X World Black Belt champion and was inducted to the Grappling Hall of Fame in 2010 n recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the sport of grappling.