MMA is more than just beating up an opponent

Published On March 29, 2018 | By scavard | Sports

Scott Savard

Mixed Martial Arts may come off as a brutal and barbaric sport, but there is a place for it to promote personal growth mentally and physically.

For people on the outside looking in, MMA portrays itself as two people going in to a cage and beating each other to a pulp. Mark Hominick, a former fighter for UFC, explains the majority of people who train at his gym aren’t attending for that.

“I see 80 per cent of our members at our gym at Adrenaline come in for a work out, learn martial arts, have fun, where 20 per cent come in to watch and compete,” Hominick said.

Abheek Bandy, an amateur boxer in Calgary, says his gym works very similar to Hominick’s. He sees more people coming into just have fun and learn rather than compete for a title.

Abheek Bandy throwing a punch during Alberta Golden Gloves Boxing event in 2017. (Facebook)

“Twenty per cent of my gym is about competing where 80 per cent is about cardio, discipline and having a hobby,” Bandy said. “We have a kids class on Saturdays and Sundays who come in who are as young as four years old.”

For those who do want to compete and one day fight in the UFC, Hominick says most don’t understand the work you have to put in to get there. This isn’t a sport anyone can just walk in and be the best at, he said. It takes years to learn the skills and techniques.

“People with the idea of wanting to compete, they don’t really understand that the amount of training you need,” he said.

“We pride ourselves with that at our gym, we don’t push people into competing unless they are prepared and ready,” Hominick said. “There are so many things to learn in MMA, you have to have a good stand up game, good wrestling, and a good ground game.

“There is a lot of training and ground to cover, so we like to have people gain the experience before they start competing,” he said.

Hominick said people must research a gym before joining and see what its focus is before taking on MMA. Many gyms will bend the truth by telling people what they want to hear, so looking at the instructors and their credentials is very important, he says.

“That’s a part of it, finding qualified instructors because when we talk mixed martial arts, a lot of people just put in that word. They may come from a karate gym and say they teach MMA, when they really just teach one aspect of the game,” Hominick said.

“You want to go to a gym who has a black belt in jiu-jitsu, a wrestling coach who has done some qualified wrestling, a qualified boxing and kickboxing coach,” he said. “Finding a qualified instructor and gym to teach you proper mixed martial arts rather than one aspect only.”

It is important to study the classes being taught. A place like Adrenaline in London, Ont., carries many different forms of classes and finding the right class is essential in growing in the sport and as a person.

Mark Hominick stands in the Octagon before his bout with Chan Sung Jung in 2011. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“First off, look at your goals and make sure the gyms teaching environment matches up. If you are looking to go get in shape and have some fun, make sure that’s what the classes are geared towards,” he said.

“If you are looking to compete you want to look at guys who have experience in competition, coaching at the gym,” Hominick said. “Do your research not only on who the instructors are but what they are teaching and what their specialities are. The quality of the qualifications of the instructors is very important.”

Bandy, an amateur boxer, said coaches at his gym won’t let anyone just come in and start swinging. The fighter must be trained properly and will be taught defence before they are even allowed to throw a punch Bandy said about his gym.

“People from the outside think it’s just two people going at it, but no, it’s so much more than that,” Bandy said. “Before you even spar or even touch someone you need to put hours and hours of training.

“They put you through hell and back before you get your first sparing session,” he said.

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