Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How Long To Become Proficient In Combat Sports?

How long does it take to be come a top fighter in Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA, etc.? In looking at MMA, we see that the best usually come from a grappling background (wrestling, BJJ, Judo, Sambo) and add on striking. There are stand up fighters (Silva, Crocop, GSP, etc.) who have come the other way from Standing to Grappling, but usually it's the other way around, because the takedown artist can better predict where the fight takes place. In looking at Kickboxing, we see that the Thai are not the dominant force in Muay Thai like they used to be. The Dutch have always had a strong position in the sport (especially the heavier weights). The Russians produce good fighters in Kickboxing (as well as all combat sports). Americans are gradually making their way back into kickboxing as we are seeing more Glory Kickboxing events in the US. Boxing is still a sport where most of the successful athletes start as kids and gain a lot of amateur experience before turning professional. Being an Olympic sport and the combat sport where fighters make the most money, it takes years to get to the big leagues. When I was coming up, American Kickboxing was the big thing. Most of the fighters came from traditional martial arts backgrounds and went to boxing gyms to learn the hands and how to train efficiently for the ring. When people argue about which sport is harder, I tell them they all are. I think that the individual disciplines (wrestling, judo, boxing, etc.) tend to be more difficult than mixed combat sports (Kickboxing and MMA) because of limits you don't have as many options. I have seen many try to go into professional boxing from other combat sports and have a hard time boxing with a teenage golden gloves boxer. Of course the boxer would be out of his elememnt if kickboxing and grappling are added. But, the skill level of the boxing tends to be on another level. When I was kickboxing, there were many kickboxers who also ventured into boxing. The success in one did not translate to the other. When you look at MMA, you will see champions with less that 10 fights become champion. This is almost impossible in kickboxing and boxing. The champions in these sports tend to have more fight experience before earning titles. Now as I stated earlier the grappling based athlete in MMA with the most success usually comes from a grappling background. So, he may have wrestled from childhood through college, giving him a lot of experience. So, after all of that, it seems that one has to start young in something to be successful in combat sports. There are exceptions, but the more experience the better. Those exceptions are adults who start later but have exceptional work ethic and dedicatition.

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