As fighter we often developed specific techniques that we grow fond of. These techniques become our "bread and butter," and we often rely on these techniques to get us through hard rolls and competition.
It is important to have an A game that we can go to in times of need, but it is even more important to advance your game by becoming a more well-rounded fighter. This concept is especially important for aspiring MMA fighters. The days of the single styled fighter are long gone. You may have a good base that you use for competition, but that doesn't mean that you should neglect the other facets of mixed martial arts. Expand your game, and embrace the arts of Muay Thai, Jiu-jitsu, and Wrestling. Every art is important to your overall game, and it is important to keep your mind 100% open to new techniques and theories.
This mid set does not only apply to MMA fighters. It applies all forms of martial arts. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is my personal base, so I'll use it as an example. In Jiu-jitsu there are two types of fighters. There are those that fight primarily from the bottom, and those that fight primarily from the top position.
When I was a white belt in BJJ I was totally focused on my bottom game. I would actually pull my opponent into my guard, because I felt more comfortable being on the bottom. I was only 16 or 17 at the time, and was naive enough to think it was a good idea. One of my instructors, J.W. Wright, pulled me aside one training, and told me that what I was doing was a horrible idea. He then demanded that I didn't pull guard for an entire month of training. At first I thought that it was a horrible idea, and that I would get beaten every match.
I struggled at first, but quickly realized that my more well-rounded game was giving my training partners a much harder time. That advice helped me advance exponentially. I am now a brown belt in BJJ and have, in my opinion, a completely well rounded Jiu-jitsu game.
The purpose of this article is to force you to think of what areas of your game you are neglecting. Next time you are in the gym try addressing areas that you are deficient in. You will struggle at first, but you will find out quickly that paying extra attention to these areas will advance your game exponentially.
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