by Matthew Jones (@akachijones)
March 19, 2017
First I’d like to thank The Scrap for reaching out. I recently got my purple belt in jiu-jitsu and while going through my test and training, I was glad that I learned the basics of jiu-jitsu. I started out in MMA back in ’06 at Fight Syndicate, formerly known as King’s Martial Arts and my main goal was to start fighting. After remembering fighters like Royce Gracie and at the time watching Randy Couture, Matt Hughes and others, I wanted to give it a try.
I trained for two years and after losing thirty-five pounds in, got my first amateur fight. Even at the time, in California, they were called smoker’s since amateur fights weren’t legal. I won the fight and overall went 3-1, however, I had a family so I moved to North Carolina. I ended up at Royce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Goldsboro and this was when I began to notice a lot of what I was missing.
In MMA you train so many things and it can be hard, if not impossible, to specialize in a specific area without neglecting other areas. Especially for someone like me that had no martial arts background at all, so when I started jiu-jitsu I began to learn the basics of one style. These basics were self defense, takedowns, striking and ground. I learned transitions, sweeps, combinations, double attack mount escapes.
I learned some of these things in MMA, but not with the same focus and attention to detail and had more awareness of distance management and even though I do jiu-jitsu, I know that you should never be on the bottom unless someone put you there. And even then, you should be sweeping or going for the submission. Knowing how to identify and expect specific reactions was amazing to learn. I built solid basics and now know that I can do all kinds of crazy moves. If things get rough, I have my basics and can defend myself.
So for anyone like myself that wants to get into MMA, I would recommend learning one specific style: wrestling, jiu-jitsu, sambo, kickboxing, boxing and build solid basics in that art before you do anything else. This will leave you with something to fall back on when things get rough. Once again, I want to thank The Scrap for having me and doing something I’ve never done with article writing.
If you made it this far thanks for taking time out of your day to read my thoughts.