A Beginner’s Guide to Starting Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

Article by: Finn Coleman


Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Popularised by the UFC, MMA has given rise to household names, such as “The Notorious” Conor McGregor, and its demanding skill set has produced some of the greatest athletes in history.

As the name suggests, Mixed Martial Arts involves a combination of stand up striking as well as ground fighting. When the UFC hosted its first MMA tournament in 1993, fighters of different styles faced each other, from Boxers to Judo specialists. As the years went on, those that excelled in the sport were well-versed in Boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Wrestling, which have become the staple combat sports of modern MMA.

While MMA fighters must have solid foundations in these disciplines, many other combat styles are used in the cage, from Taekwondo to Judo.

At the Ironfist Gym Brisbane, we understand that many of our MMA students are starting out from different martial arts backgrounds, or maybe haven’t trained in a martial art before. Our MMA classes incorporate the various different disciplines involved in the sport to accommodate for the unique ruleset of MMA. Whether you are beginning your MMA journey at Ironfist from another discipline, or have never done a combat sport, do not worry! Our program will equip you with all the skills necessary to excel in Mixed Martial Arts.


The 4 pillars of MMA


There are considered to be four core disciplines which MMA fighters should be familiar with: Boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Wrestling – all of which are offered at Ironfist. While no previous experience is required, our students are strongly encouraged to participate regularly in these classes, in addition to our MMA-specific classes. Ironfist’s Mixed Martial Arts program is designed to adapt Boxing, Muay Thai, grappling, and other specific skills and drills into an MMA-specific context, so the more of our classes you do in addition to our MMA program, the greater the benefits.




Boxing is an indispensable tool in the Mixed Martial Artist’s repertoire. Not only being able to throw and defend punches, but having a holistic understanding of balance, angles and footwork will pay dividends in the cage. When boxing is adopted into MMA, there are a few things to keep in mind: firstly, head movement becomes more risky with the addition of knees, kicks and takedowns, so MMA fighters will have to be aware of making the necessary adjustments. Secondly, the traditional boxer’s stance should be turned slightly more squared to allow for better offense and defense in the cage.


Muay Thai


Muay Thai’s powerful kicks, knees and elbows, along with boxing’s powerful strikes, form most of the stand-up game of MMA. Being able to attack and defend using “the art of eight limbs” adds a whole new dimension to striking. Muay Thai adapted to the cage will require some tweaking: the more fluid movement and bladed stance used in Ironfist’s MMA classes will help to blend in takedown offense and defense, which is different to the squared stance of Muay Thai fighters.


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu made a name for itself after being battle-tested in the early days of the UFC. Its highly effective ground fighting allows for various chokes and locks, and well as gaining dominant positions. Because MMA allows for striking on the ground, BJJ must be modified to account for positions open to striking, both defensively and offensively.




Wrestling is another highly effective form of ground fighting, emphasising takedowns, pins and holds. Wrestling is all about gaining a dominant ground position over your opponent, which translates particularly well into striking. In MMA, the best grappler is the one that knows when to strike, and when to advance their position. Our classes modify Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to best suit the Mixed Martial Arts ruleset.


Come try out our MMA classes!


Our coaches at the Ironfist Gym Brisbane pride themselves on their attention to detail across all of our classes, so whether you have never put on a pair of gloves, or are an aspiring World Champion, Ironfist’s MMA classes will help you elevate your game to the next level. While there is no expectation that our students will already be familiar with all aspects of Mixed Martial Arts, the more of our Boxing, Muay Thai and grappling classes you participate in, the faster you will see your MMA game improve.


The Ironfist Gym Brisbane runs MMA, Muay Thai, BJJ and Boxing classes throughout the week, overseen by our expert coaches.


Thinking about bringing a friend in to try out with you? If you have a friend interested in giving any of our classes a go, after they sign up at Ironfist, both of you will get a week’s free training!


Get in touch.


Address: 2/4 Devlan St, Mansfield QLD 4122

Phone: (+07) 0431 685 085

Check out our timetable for more details.



Start your martial arts journey and experience the welcoming Ironfist atmosphere with our no-risk free trial, letting you attend 2 days of boxing, muay thai and BJJ classes.