Skill Level Descriptions


Starting Point: Where you are
• Little or no experience with MMA or Martial Arts.
• Unsure of How to get Started

Things to Learn: What to learn
• Basic Fighting Skill Sets involved in MMA
• Fundamental Techniques / Positions
• What skill set do you gravitate more towards
• Learn about the rules, etiquette and safety involved in training.
• Conditioning exercises and drills to improve skills and enhance performance.

To the Next Level: How to move up
• Become comfortable with Fundamental Techniques.
• Begin to incorporate training from other skill sets into your regular program
• Find a School or Gym to become a member and consistently train.
Events/Activities: What you should do
• Consistently train in your core style
• Regularly train with different partners, especially those better than you
• Make a goal of preparing for an entry level tournament for your skill set
• Begin Acquiring equipment necessary for training.

More about the Beginner Level:

Going from spectator to competitor in MMA is a long and hard road. It will take
discipline, consistency and a strong commitment. For those just starting out, first look at
your schedule and how much time a week you will be able to devote to training. Identify
training facilities near your home, work or school that will be convenient for you to get to
and offer classes that match your availability.

Depending on where you train, access to training with the MMA team may be limited at
first. This is a good thing. The Coach of the MMA competition team may want to see
both commitment and a core knowledge base before allowing you to participate. Taking
the time to work and understand the basics is essential in any system, as this is what
everything else is built upon. Neglect this stage in your training and development and you
will limit your progress down the road.

After consistent training for a few months you should have a basic understanding of
safety and training concepts related to your style. Each Coach or Teacher has a different
progression for sparring and/or competition. This should always be based upon the safety
of the students. Don’t become frustrated if your timeline does not match up with your
Coaches, take your time and enjoy yourself. The most important thing is to have fun!


Starting Point: Where you are
• Understanding of fundamental techniques / positions
• > 6 months of consistent training in 1 skill set ( Grappling/Striking/etc)
• Have begun training in another skill set (adding striking or grappling)

Things to Learn: What to learn
• Combinations - learning how to combine fundamental techniques
• Counters - Learning how to counter fundamental techniques
• Variations of fundamental techniques
• Begin to learn transitions from one skill set to another.

To the Next Level: How to move up
• Integrate higher level fitness and conditioning training for your skill sets
• Regularly spar with your peers who are better / more advanced
• Increase frequency and/or duration of training
• Demonstrate competency with requirements set forth by your school/Coach

Events/Activities: What you should do
• Regularly compete in tournaments based on your primary skill set
• Begin competitions in your secondary skill set
• Begin training with MMA team (with Coach’s permission)
• Consider participating in an MMA Event (with Coach’s permission)

More about the Intermediate Level:

Intermediate students have experience with live sparring in class and possibly in
tournaments. In this phase of training techniques are practiced against opponents with
increasing levels of resistance and will also be exposed to more technically advanced
techniques. Intermediate MMA fighters should be consistently integrating more training
in other skill sets to become a more well rounded fighter. An example of this may be
spending more time training your striking capabilities if you are predominantly a

During the Intermediate Level, especially if you hope to begin MMA fighting, students
typically begin integrating strength and conditioning into their training. Whether at the
school or at a separate facility, a professional fighter needs to be in exceptional shape to
be able to go the distance as well as prevent injury. Nutrition also factors in to training as
a good diet will prepare you for training, aid in recovery after training and help make
weight for tournaments and fights.


Starting Point: Where you are
• Competent in Core Skill Sets
• Possess Intermediate Level ability for secondary Skill Sets
• Frequent Competitor in tournaments against opponents of equal or greater skill.
• May have fought in amateur MMA events.

Things to Learn: What to learn
• Higher complexity techniques
• Counters & Combinations in secondary skill sets
• Unification of skill sets for fluidity and cohesion while sparring / fighting
• Explore complimentary skill sets to improve and diversify your skills

Events/Activities: What you should do
• Semi / Pro MMA fights
• Advanced Level Skill Set Tournaments
• Assist / Teach Class (with Coach’s Permission)
• Participate in a pro fighter camp for preparation (invitation only)
• Continue to learn, develop and refine your skills

More about the Advanced Level:

By now you have developed your skills to a level where you could potentially fight in the
octagon. Your skill sets should gelling together and your style is developing. Depending
upon your past performances, you may be ready to participate in larger shows.
Skill development and refinement is a lifelong pursuit. With the solid foundation you
have built over the last few years, you can begin to explore other related training methods
to improve your game and provide you with an edge. This could be working with a
boxing coach to tighten up your striking, or working with a sambo coach to compliment
your wrestling.

Advanced is by no means the end of the road, in fact, it is often just the beginning. You
have the skills necessary to participate in professional local or even national events.
There is an old saying that says “ once you think you are good enough you have started
your decline.” If you have made it this far you are probably aware that it takes regular
and frequent practice to maintain your skills, let alone improve upon them. At the
Advanced Level you are probably part of a team or camp and have the tools to take it to
the next level. It’s all up to you.