arm triangle

In Part 1 of this beginner's guide to MMA, UFC veteran Nate Marquardt tells you what attributes you need to get started and the best ways to develop them!

In the early days of the mixed martial arts — back when the sport was called “no-holds-barred fighting" — victory usually went to the competitor who’d mastered one fighting system. Recall how Brazilian jiu-jitsu stylist Royce Gracie beat everyone in the first few Ultimate Fighting Championship shows, often without breaking a sweat. The level of MMA fighters gradually rose, and athletes discovered that cross-training was the key to winning: Master one art and supplement it with techniques from other arts that better deal with the ranges your main style may not address. For the most part, that has remained the recipe for how to become an MMA fighter and succeed — with one important addition: Nowadays, you have to fine-tune your mix with guidance from a skilled coach. Nate Marquardt is living proof of that concept. His 34-10-2 record has stemmed from his ability to master his base — Brazilian jiu-jitsu and boxing — and his recognition of the need to round out his skill set and hone it under the tutelage of renowned coach Greg Jackson. Black Belt met up with Nate Marquardt at one of his favorite haunts, the Grudge Training Center in Denver. In this exclusive interview, he offered his advice for martial artists looking to learn MMA, whether for competition or personal development.

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I was recently fortunate to train, have dinner with and catch up with two friends who recently returned from Afghanistan. They’re members of a special-mission unit composed of some of the nation’s best warriors; they are to warfare what Olympic athletes are to sports. One is a serious martial artist and MMA practitioner, the other a combatives junkie who seeks exposure to virtually anything he believes will hone his self-defense moves, including kali, jeet kune do and more esoteric systems. Both practice hand-to-hand combat (H2HC) techniques and straight combatives regularly. Both have closed with enemy forces scores of times over the past eight years. Their unit has the intensity, funding and diligence to approach training and fitness in the most scientific and sophisticated ways. They’re able to take advantage of any training course the Command agrees is useful.

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Fans might think Nick Diaz is just another mixed martial arts fighter, but he has more than 20 years of experience in the traditional arts, including aikido, karate, escrima and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In this exclusive in-studio video, he demonstrates how to execute a takedown to an arm triangle.

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