What’s a good way to take your current MMA training to a whole new level? Every now and then make a trip to train at a different MMA school.
Training at a different place gives you a second look from a different set of coaches/instructors. That and having access to new training partners helps big time.
This type of outside training has been common with Boxing and Wrestling for many years but for the MMA/BJJ world, it’s still a new thing.
Back in the day, it was frowned upon to train at another Mixed Martial Arts School, local or otherwise. I mean, like really frowned upon to the point of students being kicked out over it.
Thankfully times have changed and these days, it’s not uncommon at all to find a group of students from one academy training at a different place for that day/night.
How outside training helped me rise to the top
I know for me, having access to and taking advantage of different training environments was key to my success, both in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and MMA.
I’d train at my primary school, which was located in Willingboro NJ, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
No matter what, that was my main source for direction in my training. I never lost sight of this. But I also knew that in order to get better, outside help couldn’t hurt.
So on either Monday or Wednesday I’d drive up to Renzo Gracie’s Academy in NYC and workout with those guys.
I also made trips when I could to Lehigh University, located in Bethlehem PA, to work on my Wrestling and takedown skills.
Then every other week or so I’d make the 3 hour drive to Long Island so I could train with Matt Serra, Rodrigo Gracie and Joe D’Arce and that whole crew.
I’d go there on Wednesday, train hard then go back home or sometimes I’d stay with Joe D’Arce till Friday morning cause I’d have to be back to work at the pizza shop on Friday night.
This is all considered “local” training mind you. I also made trips to California to train with the Machado Brothers and Fernando Vasconcelos.
Oh and let’s not forget the many trips to Brazil. Those are the hardcore ones. I’d go there to train with the best of the best.
Places like Gracie Barra, Brazilian Top Team and Alliance just to name a few. Whenever I returned from Brazil my level always spiked through the roof.
The point I’m getting at is this : All this training and different coaching made a HUGE DIFFERENCE!
I ended up having many great coaches and workout partners that would never have been possible just training at one school alone.
Yes it ended up being a lot (A LOT) of time spent on the road, drinking a ton of coffee with many 15 minute power naps on the Jersey Turnpike mixed in.
Not everyone can and should do what I did. I was what most people called extreme. But if you wanna be a champion at the highest level, that’s the kind of commitment it takes.
What I gained from all this training and travel went far beyond MMA skills. It taught me how to network.
I’ve made so many friends all over the world and I’m forever grateful. These connections have served me well even to this day.
I’m 100% sure if not for these trips I wouldn’t have been nearly as successful throughout my career.
Opening the doors for high level training opportunities.
Fast forward to March 2016. I’ve got my own MMA Academy with many great students. From the beginning I’ve always encouraged them to train at other places from time to time.
Some of my more high level students are now taking their training to the next level by training at other schools, just as I’d done.
I send students to train at our sister school, Crazy 88 MMA, 1-2 days a week. They also make trips to York MMA and Alliance MMA in San Diego.
These students who make the trips and put in the road miles have benefited greatly from the added coaching, training and change up in routine.
Needless to say, the results have been fantastic and the skills they come back to Ivey League MMA with only serve to make everyone else better. It’s win-win.
By working out with different people, who don’t know you or your style is the best way to see where you’re at skill wise.
When you train with the same students everyday it’s hard to get a full gauge of your progress because these people know exactly what you’re going to do and you also know what their gonna do too.
How much outside training is needed for the casual student?
Not everyone can travel like I did. I understand this. Training at 3 different places in a week and driving all over the place just isn’t practical for most people.
Obviously I fell into the category of very hardcore. I was also 19 years old with the side benefits of having no kids, no real 9-5 job and no wife to answer too. That sure did help.
For the everyday casual student all you need is a trip every here and there to a different place. Just one workout with a new group of people once a month goes a long way trust me.
Before jumping in your car, talk with your instructor first! (See Below)
A word of caution: training at other MMA schools that your current school considered competitors or rival schools is unwise!
Definitely find out from your instructor which schools are on the “approved list” of places to train. Some local MMA schools aren’t well liked and should be avoided.
When visiting other schools it’s very important to be polite, respectful and aware of their rules and regulations, which can be different from those at your current school.
Take a notebook, ask questions and be sure to encourage feedback from the coaches. Remember the goal with outside training is to take your training to the next level. Be sure to get the most out of it!
Alright well that’s my Tuesday training tip. Feedback like always is welcomed. Please comment below.
–Coach Danny Ives
P.S. I’ve included some technique videos to help keep your mind working. See below.