I'd like to spend this year working my way up to getting a refereed beat down. How do I get started?
February 14, 2012 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Working my way up to getting a refereed beat down. How do I get started?

I want to win a sanctioned fight by the end of 2012. How do I get started?

I have no prior fighting experience -- I don't even watch fights!
I am thinking MMA, but your welcome to suggest a full-body combat sport that, maybe, doesn't involve someone punching my unprotected head (bjj? wrestling?).

What are my first steps?

What keywords or other resources will help me find a gym/coach/competitions in my area (Bay Area, Cali)?

What should I be reading/watching?

Possibly relevant stats:
I'm male, late-twenties, weigh ~150lbs at 5'6", and have been strength-training for a year.
I bench 140, squat 200, and deadlift 250.
I have an 12-minute mile and can HIIT for 10 minutes. (I get winded fast)

It's okay if I don't actually *win* a fight, so long as have a "fighting" chance.
posted by jander03 to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If "doesn't involve someone punching my unprotected head" is a major factor, then yes, you definitely want to try BJJ and not MMA or boxing or muay thai.

I have only my experience as a beginner muay thai student to draw on here, but in my gym, it goes like this: people show up to the beginner class and learn the basics. At some point, after a period of several months and only if you seem to be ready, you get invited to join the class with actual sparring, which is the gateway to competing for real (first in informal but regulated dust-up matches, then later in front of an audience). If you let the instructor know that you intend to compete, he will likely be able to give you individual training as well, to help you get there faster. I'd recommend going to a class, deciding if you really want to pursue this, and then talking to the instructor about next steps.

Honestly, I found my gym by using Yelp (and then searching for info about it on random message boards). I'm very happy with it. I chose a place with mostly positive reviews, and the negative reviews were all along the lines of "this place is LAME, it's not a REAL gym for FIGHTERS." Which means "the instructor made me actually practice fundamentals rather than throwing me into fights like I wanted, and that pissed me off." That is a GOOD thing.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:12 AM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I know that American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose trains lots of MMA fighters. You can take some introductory classes to get a feel for it, and gauge your level of interest. Then, if you want to increase the intensity level of your training, with the goal of competing, I'm sure they can help you with that, too.
posted by shino-boy at 8:15 AM on February 14, 2012

join a martial arts gym that has an active team of competitive amateurs. i peeked at your profile and see you live in new york -- do you live near nyc? check out www.academyfivepoints.com in chinatown. i train there and sometimes i help teach muay thai classes, when i have the time. i'm trying to get an amatuer fight now, too -- shooting for april or may this year.

i started at that gym in OK shape with no martial arts experience in may 2010. they have helped me come a long way...i put the hours in, of course, but the instruction was very very good and that was the main reason why i've progressed.
posted by zdravo at 8:17 AM on February 14, 2012

There are a ton of good BJJ and muay thai schools in the Bay area. Where exactly are you located?
posted by tdismukes at 8:19 AM on February 14, 2012

If "doesn't involve someone punching my unprotected head" is a major factor, then yes, you definitely want to try BJJ and not MMA or boxing or muay thai.

Amateur boxing requires gloves and head gear. I'm 90% sure that Muay Thai does as well.

Both are excellent full contact sports if you want a real solid fight, and they're really all about getting you into that ring and actually sparring.

I'd look into sports fighting over traditional martial arts. Check out local gyms that offer MMA, defense training, or sports fighting. Shop around and tell them what you're looking to get out of it. Try a couple classes at different clubs before you sign up, most have good policies about that.

It's hard work, but worth it IMHO. Talk to the instructors about goals and safety concerns. They're there to keep you safe.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:43 AM on February 14, 2012

Undisputed Gym in San Carlos is very good in at least a couple different disciplines. If you're interested in boxing, King's Boxing Gym in Oakland.
posted by ambient2 at 8:52 AM on February 14, 2012

Overwhelmingly the advice is "find a good gym." As you wish AskMe's - I have found a highly recommended BJJ gym in my area and am going to check it out this week.
posted by jander03 at 9:28 AM on February 18, 2012

Been doing BJJ with a great little gym that has friendly regulars for about 3 weeks, and just started sparring a little. Learning a lot already! It looks like a lot of people enter their first tournament in 6 months.
posted by jander03 at 7:59 AM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

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