Mixed martial arts, or short MMA is a fighting sport discipline that combines a variety of techniques from various martial arts, such as: striking, grappling, takedowns, ground fighting skills ( BJJ, Submission Grappling). Due to the fact that there are no restrictions between passing from striking to grappling and vice versa, the sport requires multiple sets of abilities, usually derived from different forms of martial arts. Based on opponent’s skill sets, the fighter can choose different ways of using the body as a weapon to attack and defend. This, combined with the fact that MMA requires the athlete to be highly physically prepared for the effort, must be equally prepared from the psyche point of view, which is of utmost importance when pursuing performance at the most high level.
So we have to train our minds as much as we train physically and above all, we must make our own mental an ally when we enter the cage or mat.
Bill Cole, a renowned consultant in psychology, speaks in his study “The Role of Mental in Mixed Martial Arts,” how important it is for fighters to feel trained in all aspects: mentally, emotionally, physically, tactically. He also says that in fighting sports, self-confidence is the most important factor. Naturally, this trust can be achieved by psychologically developing skills such as controlling attention, controlling negative thoughts, controlling anxiety, increasing self-confidence …etc, in this regard, when working with a athlete that has a series of physical and psychological demands specific to his sport, in this case in the MMA.
Mental training is therefore a component of the whole process of education and training to increase mental capacity to enable the athlete to take effective action and achieve superior results.
It may sometimes seem like physical training for combat is usually more important than mental training, and psychic skills are an element that can be left at random, but reality is different from the statements of athletes. In reality it seems that once you enter the ring, the mind becomes far superior to physics, some even claim a 90% mental ratio – 10% physical. Whatever this is accurate or close to accuracy, we can assume that fighting sports are not necessarily about who is the best athlete on paper, but the one who fights better when the bell rings.
The success in special activities, such as competitive ones, is based on the ability to voluntarily self-regulate emotions, thoughts and actions, the ability to concentrate and quickly switch attention, to perform a difficult task over a long pertime, to support the effort in conditions of fatigue and interference of external disturbing factors.
How much do you think your mental skills counts in a combat sport?