Nobody wants it, but everybody gets it though nobody really asks for it. Pretty haphazard of me to write this jargon, but it’s true nonetheless. Getting hurt is synonymous with martial arts or for that matter any contact sport. The aim therein is to curtail the damage or what we may call as damage control. Now we all get hurt, some are modifiable whereas others are non-modifiable factors. Throwing a loose punch and getting a front kick on your face, may seem to be an act of fate but it was you who gave the loose end. Performing out of shape, underestimating your opponent, not tapping when you should have (i.e. letting referee know that you want to bail out) are some of the factors pros enlist as the reasons “combatants” get hurt.
“Know thy enemy” is a term coined by Lao Tsze in “The Art of War”, an old trestie made compulsory reading in most of the militaries around the world. Here your enemies are bad form, stress, over exertion and incoordination. Having a positive mental attitude is as important as the competition itself. Proper coordination, balance and stamina are the keys. It’s always better to have‘baseline’ training even before your MMA career. A formal teaching in Karate, Ju jitsu, Taekwondo or whatever martial arts fancy you will go a long way in shaping your MMA career. Gain some experience in an established martial art as it will provide basis of your training in MMA. Balance, hand eye coordination, kinesthetic proprioception all take time to develop. The reason that you drive your car without actually thinking about it is due to the fact that all of this gets into your reflex action. See, there are two types of activities, voluntary and involuntary and then we have reflex actions. It’s like pulling your hand away from fire; it was ingrained in your system. Similarly when you execute a “front kick” repeatedly what you are doing is actually making “synaptic” pathways in your central nervous system so much so that executing a kick becomes reflex . So when you are in a fight situation and your involuntary nervous system kicks in, you don’t think but act on impulse.
This is what progressive training is all about. Learning to “fall” is as important as learning to punch. Proper falling techniques will save you a lot of unintentional injuries as well as proper form will enable you to execute kicks and punches in a coordinated manner without getting hurt. Keep your center of gravity in a balance. Learn how to control your body during different stances. Last not the least, the guy at the other end of the ring is your colleague after all, treat him like one. No offence but he hasn’t been stalking your girlfriend nor has he stolen your property. Get in the game for the fun of it, avoid injuries to vital areas. Though the rules are there but I’m sure most of the time we just want to “tear down “the guy at the opposite corner. So guys chillax, it’s a game after all. Hitting on vital points, save that for the street bugger. Here we all are one. So stay safe and enjoy.
This article has been written by Dr. Arshad Beg who is a surgical registrar specializing in General Surgery. He works at Liaquat National Hospital Karachi and has a keen interest in MMA.
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