Friday, October 26, 2012

Can a tai-chi master teach a MMA fighter something?

I took a few tennis lessons at the company sports club during my first job after my master's degree, never did it well, but made friend with the coach and learned a few tricks on "how to teach" from him.  A fellow colleague, an all-round athlete and later started up his own investment company. "Some players seem to be doing very well, but somehow they became stuck at a certain point and can't proceed any further". Why? I asked him. Because their muscles have been trained in certain patterns of movements, and only the best coach can painstakingly change such ingrained patterns from any athlete. I told him that the practice of tai-chi and chi-kung might be of some help, given that it demands the relaxation and re-programming of one's muscles and bones system. I haven't been in touch with him for years after we left the companies respectively, and some years ago, I was told he picked up tai-chi, perhaps he tried to improve his body system as I told him, but most likely because he came to middle age and needed an appropriate mind-body system like tai-chi.

MMA fighters are athletes and they face the same problems in improving their performance. In particular in today's MMA rules where an athlete needs to reprogram his body system continually (on the most fundamental level, the boxer and a grappler will have his body system programmed differently, and need to be re-programed in order to deliver another possibility to a high professional standard in order to survive in the ring).

Some MMA fighters do take on mind-body exercise like yoga. The most famous one is legendary Brazilian Jujutsu fighter the undefeated Rickson Gracie. Thanks to the documentary The Choke, we can see some of the ways he did his yoga exercises and his freezing stream meditative dip before his fights (check HERE on a previous post of mine).

It is my belief that tai-chi masters can likewise teach a MMA fighter to enhance his performance. One mentality is essential for the tai-chi master though: he is a helper rather than a competitor to the the MMA fighter (like answering one question honestly: who can take a heavier punch - he or his pro-MMA-fighter student?)

I gave some lessons to a budding pro-golfer previously. Any pro MMA fighters out there ready for some tai-chi or chi-kung workouts?

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