MMA 101: How To Make No Friends At The Gym

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The idea of choking someone out in traffic is common amongst essentially all peoples. I’m reasonably certain that as long as there have been roads there have been instances of road rage. Someone in the late 1800’s, deep in the Missouri country side, muttered “I’ll choke this guy out if he doesn’t get his horse’s ass out of my face”. Throughout human history people have fantasized about hurting their fellow man. With as universal as that thought is, one would think enrollment in your local MMA gym would be much higher. Sadly, for as prevalent as the idea of visiting harm on one another is, there are only a select few that actually want to learn how to do it. If you’re one of those folks, here are some tips on how to guarantee you get the worst out of your training partners.

1) Ducking Out On Dues

With people paying for everything from Starbucks to rent using automatic withdraw, the idea that people could still want to physically pay their coach/gym owner with cash seems antithetic to modern times. They do exist, though. They are also teeth itchingly annoying. Watching people come in just late enough into the warm up that the coach is occupied and can’t break away to inquire about their late dues is frustrating. Then leaving like a scalded gazelle when the final bow out goes down. All the people in the room are paying for the privilege to be there. Don’t be the person taking something that others are earning their way into.

2) Bragging About Practice

So you got some solid licks in, huh? Managed to pull off some rudimentary choke on someone who’s been beating you like a drum for months? Congrats on the progress, sorry for the tiny mind. Practice is just that, practice. It’s where one works to get better, so you shouldn’t always be trying to hit your A game, and you most certainly shouldn’t be counting coup. There’s no way to know why some stuff happens in the gym. Maybe your opponent was working their weaker game and got caught. Maybe their goldfish just died and their mind simply isn’t there. Regardless, celebrating a practice win is like celebrating being the best Velcro shoe tier. Sure, it’s a thing, but I wouldn’t be proud of it.

3) Talking Behind Your Teammates’ Backs

Marital arts gyms are unique places in this currently nerfed world. In a martial arts gym, your words could quite easily land you in a totally sanctioned physical encounter. No one wants to hear about your issues with a partner. If it matters that much, go talk to the offending partner, if it doesn’t, stop talking. If you’re hell bent on talking trash or trying some sort of backhanded clique building, save it. No one has time for that in an environment where there are dire physical consequences.

4) Complaining About Pace

‘I won’t go with that guy, he goes too hard.’ ‘I won’t go with that guy, he goes too soft.’ Just stop, you sound like some sort of demented combative Goldilocks. Managing the pace and expectations of your partners is…your responsibility. If someone is going too hard, or not hard enough, it’s up to you to change that. Quit complaining.

5) Quitting During Practice

I can’t think of any one thing that will make my teeth itch more than watching someone quit in the middle of practice. The full on take a step out and disengage, hands on knees quit. Just thinking about it makes the vein in my forehead pulse. Unless someone has actually rendered you physically incapable of continuing, i.e., given you a concussion, snapped a limb off, or otherwise done grievous bodily injury, don’t. quit. Your partners are giving up their free time to be there, and you quitting is robbing them of time they need to get better. Embrace the suck and keep moving.

In short, in the gym, keep your head down, your attitude right and your ego in check, and you’ll have no issues