The sport of mixed martial arts has evolved at neck-snapping speeds over the past two decades, moving from bare-knuckle brawls with “no holds barred”, to technically proficient contests, regulated by athletic commissions. But the evolution isn’t just observed at the events – it’s also happening at the gyms where these martial artists train.
In the “old days” (and by “old”, I mean about 15 years ago), it was a common occurrence to see a man knocked out while sparring. MMA fighters would go hard in training, assuming that it would pay off with an iron chin and steady nerves, come fight night. But, as UFC welterweight Martin Kampmann told Australia’s Submission Radio, fighters today have learned that less is more, when it comes to making sure you have the ability to absorb a few hard shots to the cranium.
“In the past I used to do too much sparring, and too much sparring against bigger heavier guys,” said Kampmann. “There’s no need for me to be sparring big guys like Forrest, Vitor, Wanderlei. Those are big guys that throw f-cking heavy punches.
“You should be sparring guys your own size, and also a limit to sparring. There’s no need to spar two or three times a week. You can spar once a week, maximal I think.
“You can go light, do light sparring. But hard sparring, back in the day, people use to get knocked out in the gym. That’s not good. That takes a toll on you, getting knocked out.
“I’ve never been knocked out in the gym. I’ve been knocked down from body shots, but never had my bell rung in the gym. I’ve seen other people get knocked the f— out. That takes a toll on those guys.
“So I definitely think training smarter is the big way to go. ”
With more and more information coming out every day about the dangers of concussions, as well as the terrifying advancement of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in contact sports, I couldn’t agree more with Martin.
What about you guys, Penn Nation? If you train – do you go light? Or do you go hard?
(And, if you don’t train, what do you normally tell people when you’re fibbing about training? That you go light, or hard?)Forrest Griffin, martin kampmann, mma, MMA NEWS, ufc, ufc news, Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva