Paul Halme

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Paul Halme

Why Peak?

The most common question we get at Peak Performance MMA is “How do I get started training mma?” followed very closely with “Am I too old to start training mma?”

I wrote this to answer the most common questions about mma training and the easiest way you can get started training in this fun sport and take advantage of all the benefits that mma offers.

The best way to start this off is to tell you how I got started training mma:

My name is Paul Halme. I started off as arguably one of the worst white belts on Earth and ended up winning an MMA Championship and a Masters BJJ World Championship.

I started training in 1997 with my best friend Travis Lutter and man was I Bad!

I would basically get destroyed everyday and leave all bruised up. Back then there were no Beginners Only classes, you just tried to survive. But I kept with it and slowly I got better.

Back then it was a battle of attrition! The naturally gifted guys with big egos would eventually not be able to deal with losing and they would quit. I was slowly moving up the ranks and I wasn’t the whipping boy anymore.

Looking back at it, I am surprised anyone besides top athletes could make it or those of us just crazy enough to not quit. I always told myself if I ever ran a school that we would have a beginners only class.

90% of the people who start training mma are looking for a fun way to get in shape and learn some real self defense skills. Hardly anyone really wants to fight, so you have to make sure that the school has the type of classes that you are looking for.

This leads me to point #1: Look for a school with a dedicated beginners only class.

Most people I talk to tell me how they were very intimidated to come in and check out an mma class. I don’t blame them it can be a scary experience, especially if they are dumped into a class full of advanced people to basically be a training dummy.

A dedicated beginners only class takes away this problem with training and gives a new student a huge advantage of being able to learn in a smaller class environment with more hands on instruction. In my opinion this is the best and fastest way to learn the fundamentals of mma training.

#2: Look for a school that uses a detailed curriculum that has produced champions.

Now that you have found a school with a dedicated beginners only program the next step is to make sure they use a detailed curriculum. The better the curriculum the better the class!

When I was coming up and training it seemed like most of the time the instructor would teach what was on their mind and not what the students needed. I will never forget teaching my first class and I asked what I was supposed to teach and I was told just teach whatever is on your mind… Ha! I was right all along.

The sad thing is that was 21 years ago and a lot of schools are still operating that way. I have personally spent the last 15 years refining what is taught in our classes. I can tell you what you will be learning the second Thursday in March. I want all of my instructors on the same page with me and teaching the right techniques to speed up our students success.

The next step is to make sure the curriculum has produced champions in the art they are teaching. If the system hasn’t produced champions, then their is more than likely something wrong with the system.

I was lucky to come up in a system that produces champions. During my coaching and fighting career I was fortunate to be able to Corner all around the World and in the UFC. I will never forget the feeling of cornering in The Ultimate Fighter Finale and The MiddleWeight Championship. I was so nervous that it was hard to walk down the stairs, but those experiences gave me the comfort level to coach and compete in MMA fights.

This lead to me winning my own MMA Championship at 185 pounds. It wasn’t the UFC, but it was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life and one of the most rewarding. One of the best parts of teaching and coaching is seeing my guys win Championship Belts. As I always tell my guys to follow the system and the results will come, just put in the work.

Always look at the Head Instructor and what they have accomplished. If the system hasn’t produced champions, then you need to keep looking. There are so many gyms that pop up nowadays with the popularity of the UFC and the instructor has never competed.

#3: Look for a school that will help you with your conditioning and recovery programs.

Especially when you start out training you need to be getting in some conditioning. Make sure the classes have a conditioning component. Its also nice when the school offers conditioning classes or workouts that you can do at home to supplement your training. It’s hard to get into class as often as we would like so having these extra workout plans can make a huge difference in your training.

Make sure to ask the school what types of conditioning help they offer along with nutrition and recovery programs. These are huge parts of you staying healthy and being able to train for many years.

MMA training is a marathon and not a sprint. It doesn’t matter how old you are, our oldest student is 71! You just have to listen to your body and have knowledgeable trainers who can help you. By working on your conditioning, nutrition and recovery programs you will have a huge advantage!

#4: Get started training today.

Don’t wait until you think your in shape to train! I talk to people all the time who say they want to get in shape before they start training. Don’t fall into that trap. All this does is slow down the time until you get started.

The best way to learn mma is to train mma and get in shape doing mma classes! If you have selected a school with a beginners only program, a detailed curriculum and conditioning program then you will be light years ahead of the average student starting out.

Just make sure you are getting in 2-3 classes per week and 1-2 off the mat workouts to build up your cardio, strength and skill sets.

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