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wayne williams
wayne williams's picture
Stress Training

I am a long time member of this site and find its content very useful and informative. Thats why when i came across an issue that i didnt have the anwser to the first place i thought of was here.

My son is training for his first fight in MMA, which if he gets the right match up should be in march. He is 20yrs old and a former teenage body building champion so is in great physical shape. He has all the tools as far as technique is concerned and trains hard most days either in the dojo or on the road. The thing is im not sure how well he is coping with the prospect of stepping into a cage, the pressure of expectation of friends and family watching, the ability to keep calm and control his emotions so to allow for clarity of thought and decision making when fighting and the adrenalin dump that everyone that has fought in the ring speaks of.  He trains with me on occasion so im looking for any thoughts on how to train him for the afore mentioned mental stress issues. There may be no training methords to cope with these issues for the cage because its a controlled enviroment not self defence for the street. He is a big confident middle weight normally, but inside he is still a young lad that needs his old mans help with this one.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


Michael Hough
Michael Hough's picture

There is no subsitute for experience. You can prepare as much as you want, but it's still going to be a shock when the bell rings and that big dude (who I swear looks 20 pounds heavier than he did yesterday at weigh-in!) comes across that cage looking to tear your face off.

Get him a fight he can win. Give him a simple strategy he can execute. Plan on that "oh, shit, I'm out of it!" moment and have a fall-back-and-recover-your-brain position that he can defend blindfolded and half-asleep.

Chances are he'll pound the dude silly in about a minute and not remember a thing. Or he'll choke. No telling until he steps inside. But that's the great thing about amateur fights. You're going to lose a few. Just keep getting back in the ring. After a dozen or so, you turn pro, and you're 0-0 again.

Katz's picture

No experience here with cage fighting. Or any kind of actual fighting, to be honest...

But some of that stress I experience whenever I go to a tournament (which is not that often anyway...).

One way we train our colored belts (or at least introduce them to the stress) is having them do their forms in front of the whole class, with the same formality (bowing in, introducing themselves, etc.) we expect at the tournament. The simple fact of having a bunch of people they know watching is already often quite daunting.

Another thing is our belt tests. Formality is cranked up for those, and we usually run them pretty hard. As mentioned earlier, you probably can't train for cage fighting unless you actually step in there. But having people practice stuff they know in an unfamiliar/formal/public fashion might help a little with stress.

That's my opinion. As I said, no real experience here.

wayne williams
wayne williams's picture

Thanks for your comments Michael and Katz.

I came to roughly the same conclusion that experiance was everything and its tough to try to simulate this senario. I will just try to boost his confidence at every opportunity and work him double hard in the dojo to give himself the best chance of success.

Thanks Again.