The interest in Combat Sports is on the rise in India. And this interest is not restricted to the viewership. A major portion of the combat sports lovers out there actually wants to hit a gym and get trained in one combat sport or the other.
While the process of choosing an MMA or combat sports gym might sound straight forward, there are a lot of potholes that people often fall into.
For example, the combat sports community recently came across instances of coaches that had fake degrees and affiliations getting busted by international bloggers. Similarly, there have been cases of trading grading belts in return for money. The list is endless.
One way to put a hold to all this and avoid people from hating martial arts or combat sports due to all this is to create awareness about the same.
We at LockerRoom will be trying to do the same with a series of articles featuring some of the top combat sports coaches in India.
The first set of the article in the series will be a three-part story featuring Team Relentless Head coach Jitendra Khare. In this first part, Jitendra will be opening up about the processes that one can follow while choosing a Combat Sports Gym to train. Below is what he had to say:
Before I answer these questions, I would like to start off by making it clear that I don’t claim to be any sort of authority or know all of MMA, BJJ or any combat sports. The answers are purely my opinion based on my experience in the sport and by interacting with people (both fake and otherwise).
I’m also happy for anyone to contact me to ask back any claims that I might have even made.
I personally think that the answer to this question lies in the goal of the person. Before I elaborate on the aforementioned point, I think it’s imperative to understand that MMA, BJJ or ay combat sport is a skill and I think in today’s time, a very crucial survival skill.
Now to elaborate on my point, in my experience we can bucket people into two categories.
1. Fighters/Want to learn to defend themselves/pick up a Martial Art
I feel for people under this category, it is important to spend time first researching the sport. For example, someone offering belts, grading in MMA, boxing or wrestling or someone offering a crash course in BJJ for promotions is some people that you need to steer clear off.
Then research training centres/Dojos around you. It is very easy these days. Shoot a mail to legitimate gyms to check various claims made by the instructors. One could also mail legitimate MMA bloggers to cross-check the legitimacy of the trainers and the team.
You could also write into global MMA and BJJ blogs like BJJ Globetrotters to get a list of good gyms in the city and the country. I also advise people to check out the pedigree of the fighters and their track records that gyms and teams produce.
Lastly, I feel one should actually take a trial session or maybe join up for a month before making a long-term commitment to a gym or a team.
This is important because one can gauge for themselves whether the team and training environment among others are inclusive or hostile towards them. Is the trainer able to answer your queries with proper technique and not ‘because I said so’ attitude?
Have you picked or developed any skill or attribute that moves you towards your goal or is it just a squat, push-up and burpee based training routine?
2. Fitness Enthusiasts looking for a high-intensity workout/weight loss:
Normally for this category of enquiries, I firstly explain to them my aforementioned point that any combat sport is a skill. They need to be patient and learn then correct form or method of executing techniques before trying to jump to the next step.
It’s like trying to attend a CrossFit/functional training class without knowing how to squat/deadlift or overhead press in the correct form. You are going to get hurt. Period. And that’s counterproductive to your goal in the long run.
Again, book a trial class, pay for a couple of single sessions or a month. Ask yourself after the initial phase whether your trainer has spent enough time on you to teach you the basics. Are they constantly focussing or emphasising on correct techniques rather than a sweaty workout?
Are you really learning a new skill or spending most of your time doing jump squats, burpees or push-ups? In that scenario, you should rather invest in someone who is certified to teach you in the correct way of doing that. Also, please don’t invest in a guy that is certified to teach you to squat, bench or deadlift to teach you martial arts because you are going to get hurt, period.
You can follow Jitendra Khare on his Instagram by clicking here. Jitendra has been producing a series of videos where he answers questions related to combat sports and fitness.
The second article in the three-set story will feature Jitendra Khare talking about why people are running behind the belts and the emergence of fake instructors. The third article meanwhile will feature insights on How to become an MMA fighter.