Guide to Finding a Good Mma/bjj/striking Gym

There’s a lot of martial arts out there now, and we are blessed to live in a world where have seen the effectiveness of martial arts through UFC and other fighting sports. We’ve distilled what works and discarded what doesn’t. There are two schools of fighting, striking and grappling.

Striking Arts: Striking arts are generally arts where you use your legs and arms to strike the opponent. Think boxing.
Grappling Arts: Grappling arts generally teach you how to use throws, holds, locks, and positioning to defeat the opponent. Think wrestling.
Mixed Martials Arts: Mixed Martial Arts combine both striking and grappling.

Good vs. “Bad” Martial Arts:
Basically, classical martial arts have been shown to not work in real fighting situations. If you want to learn a classical martial art, that’s great, but do not delude yourself into think you are learning how to fight. Eg Kung Fu, Taekwondo, Tai Chi, Jeet Kune Do, Wing Chun, Ninjustu, etc

If you want to learn how to fight, look for gyms that teach Muay Thai, Boxing, Kickboxing, BJJ, Wrestling, and/or MMA.

I’m sure some people will disagree how the classical martial art they train is superior. I challenge them to go record 5 rounds of full contact sparring at a local MMA gym. (Excuses invariably follow)

Youtube Test: If you are confused if this type of marital art is good or bad for fighting, simply YouTube “(marital art) Tournament”. If it looks like this (Kung Fu Sparring - Francis Vs. Caleb - YouTube) or this (Taekwondo Highlights - 2019 WT Championships Manchester !!! - YouTube), it is gay. If it is like this (Amateur kickboxing fight - YouTube) or this (Highlights from 2016 IKF World Classic Kickboxing Muay Thai Tournament Sat - YouTube) , it is good.

Red Flags: Now that we have found what we want to train, we need to find good trainers. Do a quick google for MMA/BJJ/Muay Thai in your area. Call each and then ask the following 4 questions when you call to get more information;

  1. Do you have a fight team, and do they fight regularly?
  2. Where did you train and have you done fights?
  3. Do your striking classes spar and/or do you grappling classes roll?
  4. How much does it cost?

First three questions MUST be yes, with the caveat that for striking classes it should generally be light sparring, heavy sparring regularly is just asking for big injuries. Last one should be a monthly fee it will vary by region but don’t be surprised to hear $100+. If any are no’s or there is a weird fee structure, that is not the gym to train at.

What to Train: If possible, train both a striking and grappling art, and mix some MMA classes in there. I personally try to go on days there’s Muay Thai before BJJ, so I can get both in.

What’s Next: Show up, shut up, and listen. Once you are there, make sure everyone is friendly, and classes are generally full, but not overcrowded. Don’t make excuses when you lose, learn and improve. These guys will look big, tough, and intimidating but generally they are all good guys. Getting your shit rocked is a humbling experience, there’s a lot of humility at MMA gyms.

Join the chat for any other questions, I recommend Tactical Barbell for scheduling lifting, MMA, and Conditioning.