101 Ways to Improve Your Skills in MMA

101.  When you wake up in the morning, throw 40 light punches and elbows in front of the mirror with an emphasis on technique.

100.  Take a 30 minute run before the day starts to rev up your metabolism.

99.  Find a partner who is better than you in one area of the game, but worse than you in another area of the game.  Exchange techniques and thoughts daily.

98.  Keep a daily journal of everything that you have learned and refresh yourself often

97.  Take a video of you sparring so that you can see yourself and spot the errors.

96.  Strengthen your core by doing 200 sit ups a day as part of your workout routine.

95.  Take Muay Thai classes at least 2x a week and BJJ classes 2x a week  

94.  Learn how to do 3 types of takedowns effectively and learn how to defend against 3 types of takedowns

93.  Spar with someone better than you as a weekly habit

92.  Sit down and ask your instructors how they succeeded

91.  Go out to dinner with your teammates and talk about MMA.  Exchange ideas, training tips, techniques and everything else.

90.  Go to YouTube or MMATKO and watch past fight footage - Do it every Sunday.

89.  DON'T ask advice or tips from someone much worse than you

88.  Evaluate the sources of your learning and be very careful who you learn from

87.  Speed up your reflexes.  Stand against a wall and have a friend lightly toss a tennis ball at your head while you try to dodge it with your feet planted in the same spot. 

86.  Drill, drill, drill.  After class, find a partner and do drills to improve muscle memory.

85.  Stretch out dynamically every morning.  Dynamic stretching is much more important than static stretching.

84.  Do some strength training to improve your strength.

83.  Do some high intensity cardio training like doing 5 rounds of running up 100 flights of stairs as fast as you can

82.  Drink your supplements daily - fish oil, glucosamine chondroitin, multi vitamins, BCAAs, recovery drinks (after a workout) and protein shakes.

81.  Sleep 8 hours a day.  The body needs to rest in order to recover so that you can perform to the best of your abilities during training.

80.  Eat 5-6 small meals a day to keep your metabolism revving hard and your energy level high.

79.  Stick with the training system at your school, especially if it is proven.

78.  Attend as many seminars as you can to grow and learn.  Learning one new technique is worth a seminar, especially if it sticks and becomes your own.

77.  Do basic BJJ drills every day in order to keep your hips fast and flexible - hip escapes, rolls, break falls, burpees, etc

76.  Take 1 day off a week and unwind.

75.  Get a massage as often as you can so that you can keep your body lactic acid-free and limber.

74.  Do some boxing drills such as simultaneous jab counters, parry counters, and other cool drills with a partner to improve your speed and timing.

73.  If you don't know any drills that will improve your speed and timing, then ask your instructors for a full detailed list of drills in every discipline - Muay Thai, BJJ, Boxing, and Wrestling.

72.  Throw 50 kicks with each leg into a heavy bag every day after practice.  It builds up your power and your bone density.

71.  Buy tons of training DVDs from the world's best experts in all disciplines.

70.  Mix up your cardio workouts - high intensity versus low intensity, anaerobic versus aerobic

69.  Shock your body by doing different sports that your muscles are not used to

68.  Remember that MMA (BJJ, Muay Thai, Boxing, and Wrestling) is a lifestyle if you really want to receive all the benefits of the discipline.

67.  Don't smoke.  Quit if you do.

66.  Drink alcohol in moderation.  Or don't drink at all.

65.  Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.  A fully hydrated body is needed to optimize performance.

64.  Master the basics of Muay Thai, BJJ, Boxing, and Wrestling.

63.  Learn the transition game or how to weave seamlessly between the 4 disciplines.

62.  Train combinations that utilize all 4 disciplines (ie.  low leg kick, right cross, double leg takedown, side control, mount, armbar)

61.  Take private lessons with a qualified instructor.  You can have your bad habits eliminated.

60.  Buy the best books in each discipline and read like a mad man.

59.  Skip rope for 30 minutes straight on a regular basis.  It builds your calf muscles and shoulders for more explosive striking.

58.  Do circuit training with stations of TRX, weights, heavy bag work, sprints, tire jumping, and rope climbing to improve your cardiovascular performance.

57.  Find a group of training partners at your level and motivate each other to prevent slacking or skipping class.

56.  Watch the UFC, Art of War FC, Dream, Sengoku, and all the other top MMA shows on TV a regular basis.  It will keep you fired up, but also you will learn a lot.

55.  Visit Sherdog, MMA Weekly, MMA Junkie, and Middle Easy daily to get your information dose of MMA.

54.  Take training vacations.  Fly to Thailand to train a month in Muay Thai.  Fly to Brazil to train a month of BJJ.  Go to the source of each discipline and absorb everything.

53.  Put up a blog and chronicle your journey towards greatness.  Nothing helps more than being public with your successes and failures.

52.  Make a wish list of the top academies that you would like to visit to train.

51.  Visit them!

50.  Subscribe to magazines like Fight!, Fighters Only, Gracie Magazine, Grappling, and FightSport to stay on the cutting edge of news, tips, and techniques.

49.  Practice your 3 favorite submissions every day by drilling them 50 times each with your partner

48.  Practice your 3 favorite striking combinations and drill them with someone holding the Thai pads for you for 5 minutes per round.

47.  Shock your body by breaking out of your routine and doing something completely different like rock climbing, yoga, or gymnastics.

46.  Treat your balance as yet another skill to master.  To achieve great balance, sharpen it by spending 15 minutes every other day to do balance drills like squats on a wooden board with a ball underneath it or by trying to stand on a Swiss ball while punching combos in the air.

45.  Deprive yourself.  Take a week off every now and then to let your body and mind recharge.  Nothing is better for you than getting the hunger back for training. 

44.  Practice yoga 1-2x a week to improve your breathing, concentration, and flexibility.

43.  Do isolation drills on the ground by starting off in an inferior position with your partner and try your best to reverse the position.

42.  Practice ground and pound with a heavy bag on the ground.  Max out for 5 minutes for 3 rounds and be sure to change up positions from side control to mount to knee on belly, etc.

41.  Invest in the best equipment that money can buy.  When it comes to safety protective gear like gloves, headgear, mouthpieces, cups, etc, spend the most that you can.  It will keep you safe (or safer) and help to minimize the risk of injury.

40.  If you accidentally get hurt, practice RICE.  Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.  To minimize injury, use these steps right to prevent swelling and to speed up recovery time.

39.  Switch stances to shock your mind and body.  If you like to stand in a right handed stance (orthodox), then switch it up and try to learn to stand in a left-handed stance (southpaw).  If you can learn to switch it up, it will help your game.

38.  Keep working through plateaus.  If you find yourself frustrated because you have been at the same level for a while, do not quit.  Consistency is the key to success.  The turtle does win the race.

37.  Visualize greatness.  Even if you do not necessarily compete, visualize the moments when you feel the best at training or sparring.  Think back to how you feel on those highs.

36.  Train your mind to be able to get back to those highs.  The mind drives the body.  If your mental state is in peak performance state, your body will respond.

35.  Feel the need for speed.  Speed matters a lot in the sport of MMA.  If you want to develop faster strikes, practice with a speed ball.  Don't focus on power.  Just focus on pure speed.  Do it at least every day for 5 minutes and you will see results.

34.  The need for speed also applies to the ground game.  Drill the intricate details of the arm bar 50 times after a class.  Your muscles will start to memorize the move and you will be able to do it fast in your sleep.

33.  Teach someone who is less skilled than you.  When you teach someone, you actually end up learning a lot because it forces you to review all the details of every technique.  It also end up being a forum of questions and answers that open your mind.

32.  Dedicate a whole week to the ground game only.  Instead of alternating or doing both striking and ground, focus on 1 area on a given random week.

31.  Dedicate a whole week to the standup game only.  Instead of alternating or doing both striking and ground, focus on 1 area on a given random week.

30.  Learn to use your hips.  Your hips are the key to power for striking and they are also the key to your ground game.

29.  Compete.  It does not matter whether you just do MMA for fun or if you are a professional fighter.  When you compete, you learn to use all aspects of your game in a live setting.  Adrenaline, pressure, and fatigue are all great elements to deal with.

28.  Compete often.  Fighting (or self-defense) is 99% mental.  Even if you have all the tools in the world, but you have a weak mental game, you will fail.  The best way to strengthen your mind is to compete.

27.  Tap often.  There are no heroes in the gym.  Training is about learning.  Leave your ego at the door when you are training.  It is far better to tap 1000x than to have your arm broken 1x.

26.  Lower the volume often.  If you are sparring Muay Thai, learn to spar lightly so that you don't injure your partner.  Controlled sparring is a time to work on new combinations and footwork.

25.  Spar hard once in a while.  If you are a serious MMA athlete, you will need to spar hard to understand the intricacies of speed, power, pain, and more.  Even if you are not serious, you should try to spar hard at least 1x a month.

24.  Do not spar hard often.  If you spar hard often, you will inevitably get injured (or injure your partner).  Injuries are the things that slow your progress down because it puts you out of the game for a long time.

23.  Variety is the key.  It is easy to get stuck in a rut.  If you repeat the same thing over and over, it will get boring.  To keep things interesting, do not have a routine (if you are not competing).  If you are doing MMA for fun, then the idea is to keep it fun.

22.  Buy some excellent running shoes.

21.  Use the Gi when doing BJJ.  Even though many MMA athletes train solely without the gi, top MMA athletes use the Gi like GSP, Anderson Silva, BJ Penn, Kenny Florian, and others.

20.  Invest in 2 great Gis for BJJ

19.  Stay on top of informative fight blogs such as mymuaythai.com and evolve-mma.blogspot.com

18.  Buy cool training apparel.  MMA is a lifestyle, an attitude, and a way to express yourself.  So whether it is that cool Affliction shirt you have been eying or that awesome pair of fight shorts you've always wanted, buy them.  It might not help you fight better, but it will keep you inspired to train.

17.  Go to a live UFC event.  There is nothing more electrifying than a big fight.  The adrenaline, the excitement, the energy.  It will give you a high for days and you will train like a madman afterwards.

16.  Drink Red Bull and eat a banana 30 minutes before you train - don't do it too often - only when you feel a little sluggish or mentally tired.  It takes 30 minutes for caffeine and taurine to take full effect.

15.  Invest in your role models.  If your favorite fighter is Anderson Silva, buy his DVDs and learn all his little tricks.  If you love BJ Penn's game, buy his books.  It is important to have role models to learn from.  It helps to accelerate your learning.

14.  Make SAFETY your #1 priority.  When you train, you should always make sure that safety (your safety and your partner's safety) is the #1 priority.  If you get injured, it takes you out of the game of training.  If you injure a few partners, no one will want to train with you.

13.  Train with different sizes.  Train with people smaller than you.  Train with skinny tall people.  Train with big linebacker types.  Train with all sizes and learn to adjust your game.  The experience itself is worth its weight in gold.

12.  Find the best teachers possible.  If you are learning Muay Thai, make sure your instructor has deep experience in Muay Thai.  If you are learning BJJ, make sure your instructor has deep experience in BJJ.

11.  Keep your gym bag stocked with all the necessities at all times.  Extra clothes, muscle ointment, band aids, athletic tape, painkillers, a cup, a mouthpiece, handwraps, gloves, running shoes, protein shake packets, etc.  You never know when you will need them.

10.  On your days off, be sure to cheat.  Eat anything you want.  Do anything you want.  But don't do anything that has to do with MMA.  Keep your love for MMA fresh.  You'll train harder.

9.  Set goals.  If you set mini goals, it will help you to stay on the path to unleashing your potential.  If you are a blue belt in BJJ, focus on the next stripe before you focus on the purple belt.  If you are a beginner in Muay Thai, focus on mastering the Thai clinch.  MMA is a mountain and you need to set little goals to climb it.

8.  Accept roadblocks.  There will always be training plateaus or injuries or a bad training partner to prevent you from wanting to train.  It is a natural part of life.  Go with the flow.  Don't fight it.

7.  Don't accept roadblocks for too long.  If you are injured, rest.  If you are frustrated, go do something to get your mind off it.  Don't stay out of the game too long or else you will completely lose momentum.

6.  Learn to workout with kettlebells.  Kettlebells are a great way to build your entire body.  Take some kettlebell classes and see the results.

5.  Take a Strength and Conditioning class 2-3x a week to help boost your fitness.

4.  Train with people you love.  If you train with friends, it makes it more fun.  You don't have to worry about getting hurt and you will both be focused on your favorite sport in the world.

3.  Jump tires.  Find an old tire of a car.  Lay it flat on the ground.  Start bouncing on it.  After a few minutes, you will feel your calves burn and your heart pound away.  Tire jumping is a great way to warm up and to develop your calf muscles for explosive movement. 

2.  Remember that it is a journey!  There is no destination.  MMA is about constantly evolving yourself and always improving.  Always go back to why you are doing it in the first place.  Because it is FUN.  And because you LOVE it.   

1.  Keep EVOLVING!!!

Evolve Mixed Martial Arts® is Asia's premier brand of MMA academies.  Evolve ranks among the best academies in the world for Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Mixed Martial Arts.