The Ultimate Guide To Your First MMA Class

MMA is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. In the early days of mixed martial arts, fighters were masters of one martial art and matches didn’t last for long. But over the last decade, the sport has evolved, and the majority of fighters work on every single aspect of the game.

So you’ve finally decided to take the leap and you’re going to your first Mixed Martial Arts class. You are one step away from taking part in something that can give dozens of benefits to your life. Although it will be a daunting experience, it’s definitely one you’re going to enjoy.

You’re going to feel a lot of emotions from being excited to nervous and those are all normal. If you’re nervous and don’t know what to expect in your first MMA class, this article is for you.

This article will look at everything you need to know about your first MMA class. We’ll take you through how a normal MMA class is run and what to expect. Then we’ll give you our 8 top tips on how to survive your first MMA class.


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What To Expect From Your First MMA Class

first mma class

Mixed martial arts is one of the most difficult sports in the world, so your first MMA class might be pretty challenging.

Even if you come from, for example, wrestling, you don’t know to strike, so your brain will be put on fire for sure.

Below we will discuss what to expect from your first MMA class.


When you first step inside the MMA gym, the person behind the desk will take you on a tour. You’ll learn the location of the dressing rooms and bathroom. Then you’ll have to get to know the rules of the gym.

The gym owner or instructor will probably have a short conversation with you, and you might fill in a questionnaire. It will help the gym determine your goals and get to know you better. After that, you’ll it will be time to change your clothes and get ready for the first MMA class.


MMA is an all-around martial art, which means you must prepare every single part of your body for the upcoming activity. The warm-up is different because you’re getting yourself ready for striking, grappling, and wrestling.

The warm-up session will vary from gym to gym. For example, you will not take part in the same warm-up routine for the striking and submission classes. It also depends on what’s planned for the upcoming training session.

Technical Drilling & Partner Work

Your training partner is very important. Depending on the class and your experience level, you could learn sweeps, transitions, back control, or grappling techniques with your partner in your first MMA class.

Alternatively, your first MMA class might also contain solo drills, it depends on your instructor.

Sparring & Situation Sparring Drills

Even if you’re a trained striker, your coach needs to check your technique and get to know your skills before letting you spar.

If the coach notices your striking background, he might let you take part in situation sparring drills with a partner, mostly simple combinations. But nobody will let you strike hard and hurt somebody, we guarantee you that!

8 Tips To Survive Your First MMA Class

first mma class

Here are our pieces of advice to help you go through your first MMA class easier. Try to implement these and you might enjoy your first few hours in a mixed martial arts gym.

Introduce Yourself To Everyone

It is very important to shake hands and get to know every member of your MMA gym, that’s a sign of respect. You’ll spend a lot of time inside the gym, so knowing your training partners will lead to close relationships. Don’t forget, when you fight or compete, your training partners will be the first people to support you during camp.

Listen To The Instructor

You’re here to follow the instructions and that’s non-negotiable. Your instructor is the leader, a god in the gym. You must be ready to listen and implement their commands.

The coach is leading the training session for a reason, and the rules must be followed. Anarchy can’t lead to progress, get ready for some order in your life, at least when you train in a MMA gym.

Leave Your Ego At The Door

Even if you know some areas better than your coach, you must forget that when the class starts.

For example, your instructor might be a wrestler, while you could be a Taekwondo champion. Of course, you’ll know to kick better than him, but you must forget about that when you enter the gym. If he tells you to throw a Muay Thai low kick or some combination that doesn’t work for you, do it and don’t ask questions.

Be Patient

Don’t get disappointed if you can’t perform the submission or a takedown attempt. Some MMA fighters train for years before taking part in their first competition. You can’t learn overnight.

Remember, you must drill a technique 8,000-10,000 times if you want to make it perfect. Giving up after 10 or 20 failed attempts means you picked the wrong sport.

Do you plan to progress and learn every single aspect of the sport?

Your first MMA class is just an introduction, don’t expect too much, and stay persistent!

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Wear Loose Fitted Clothing

Loose-fitted clothing is good because it lets you roll and land kicks and knees. Too tight clothing might spoil your performance. It will irritate you during the training session, and you might not learn the move correctly.

If you have equipment from another martial art, you could already own a rash guard and MMA or Muay Thai shorts. More comfort leads to greater performance in your first MMA class.

Personal Hygiene

first mixed martial arts class

If you’re coming after a whole day at work, clean yourself before the training session. Shower before your first MMA class. That is the least you can do.

Take a shower after the training session, don’t make excuses. Please don’t forget to take your training equipment out of your training bag when you come home and clean it. The odor will irritate your training partners and they will start staying away from you.

Technique Before Power

Do not hit as hard as you can. There are two big downsides to it – you might not learn to strike properly, and you could hurt your partner. Focus on the correct technique, think, and visualize. It’s better to perform the movement very slowly and correctly. Speed is good in a fight, but it’s not recommended when you learn something for the first time.

Tap Early & Often

This is a training session, you’re not going to get 75,000 dollars for the fight of the night. There is no need to put your life or limbs in danger and you won’t learn the technique properly. Don’t play hero, your hand or leg will not magically heal if it suffers a significant amount of damage.

When your sparring partner catches you with a submission, tap as soon as you feel the pain or it could lead to huge injuries. If you hurt yourself, you’ll be sidelined for some time, plus your MMA journey might be over before it even started.

Final word of advice

MMA training can be a very positive thing that can have numerous benefits in your life. You can quickly gain a passion for it and you’ll want to be on the mat training every day.

If you follow this article, your first MMA class can lead to years of MMA training in your future. You will be a healthier and happier person than you were before you started training MMA.

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Gareth Davies

I'm a martial arts competitor and enthusiast. Over the last 15 years, I have trained and competed in several martial arts. I live in Manchester U.K working as a strength & conditioning coach when I'm not travelling and exploring martial arts around the world.
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