Learning Mixed Martial Arts? There's an App for That - Robin Hamilton Talks Fighter Training

4 March 16 words: Lara Agland
"More and more people are starting martial arts from a younger age. Parents are becoming more aware of the huge benefits it has in fitness and self-discipline"
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Robin Hamilton and Michael Venom Page

How did you first get into this sport and what drew you towards MMA in particular?
Since a young age I’d always been interested in self-defence and I liked the idea of being able to defend myself at school and on the street. After watching a YouTube self-defence video featuring Bas Rutten (Former UFC Heavyweight Champion) I Googled who he was and discovered MMA. I chose MMA because it allowed me to learn aspects from a variety of martial arts. I was always fascinated about which martial arts were better than the other, who would win between a boxer and a taekwondo practitioner for example.

When you were fighting, what was your typical training routine?
I would generally train five times a week and have Fridays and Sundays off to allow my body to recover.

In 2014 you told Scott Marr that after becoming the Middleweight (under 84kg) Amateur MMA World Champion, you wanted to start fighting semi-pro. How did this turn into you starting up your own business and how did you find the transition?
Shortly after winning the championship I badly fractured my arm and needed surgery. With the extra time on my hands, my coach Owen King and I started filming some of his martial arts pad drills and from there Fighter Training was born. The transition has been exciting, we’ve had such a positive response from the business so far and we can’t wait for what the future holds.

Do you still compete?
At the moment I’m not. It took a while for my arm to recover and I still get problems with it. I’m back in full-time training now however so I’ll never count out competing again in the future.

How did you go about getting the professional trainers to join you in your new business?
My coach and business partner Owen King has won multiple kickboxing World Titles and has coached some top-end MMA fighters such as ‘Judo’ Jim Wallhead and Andre Winner from Team Rough House. So he’s gained a lot of contacts over the years and is very well respected in the martial arts community.  

What styles have you tried and who did you train with?
I’ve trained Muay Thai, boxing, kickboxing, taekwondo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I currently train under Owen King and Peter Cope at Nottingham School of Black Belts alongside a number of up-and-coming fighters including Chloe Buck and Marcus Ainsbury.

What kind of age do you find people starting? Should you start as young as possible or is it never too late to pick it up?
More and more people are starting martial arts from a younger age. Parents are becoming more aware of the huge benefits it has in fitness and self-discipline. MMA is another one that is becoming more popular with the younger generation as people understand it as a sport opposed to its old ‘barbaric’ stigma. I would say it’s never too late to pick it up, if you work hard enough at something, nothing will stop you from achieving your goals.

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Andre Winner, Paul Lukowski, Owen Comrie and Marcin Wrzosek

You offer boxing, kickboxing, MMA, Muay Thai/Thai boxing, as well as self-defence, is it normal to focus on one, or is it more common to combine the different disciplines?
With the rise of MMA fighters such as Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor, combining martial arts has increased in popularity. My advice would be; don’t be afraid to experiment in your training routine, even if you want to focus on your chosen discipline, you can easily adapt other techniques into your own style.

How experienced do you need to be if you’re planning on taking these tutorials by yourself? Is it a good idea when starting out to try them with a friend, or to combine them with in-class lessons?
You can be an absolute beginner or a seasoned professional. All our tutorials are categorised from beginner through to advanced, so you can choose your requirements. Combining them with in-class lessons will always be the best option. However, many first-time beginners are very anxious to join a class. We have absolute beginner courses where users can learn the basic punches, kicks and grappling techniques to help give them that initial confidence.

Younger users who are still at school, how many hours are they expected to commit to if they intend to eventually take the sport to a professional level?
As much as possible. That doesn’t mean you have to work your body to the brink each day, just working slowly on technique and physical movement can benefit hugely.

Do you think that MMA should become an Olympic sport?
Yes I do. However, similar to Olympic boxing, there should be amateur rules. For example, head guards, no heal hooks, 7oz gloves and so on. MMA fighters are some of the most disciplined and well-conditioned athletes in the world. I think it would attract a brand new audience to the Olympic martial arts scene.

Do you offer classes or one-to-one lessons or is it all online?
Yes, Owen King offers Fighter Training seminars at his dojo as well as personal one-to-one PT sessions.

Do you see apps as the future of training?
We believe online learning will never be a complete substitute for in class training but there are huge benefits with combining them both together. Online learning allows you to learn from some of the best martial artists around the world in the comfort of your own home, for you to then put into practice in your lessons and fights. That being said, some absolute beginners, as I mentioned earlier, can be very anxious in joining a school. Others do not have a martial arts school nearby or simply cannot afford it. In these cases, online learning is a fantastic opportunity to learn and improve your martial arts.

What is the best advice you’d give to someone who wanted to become a professional?
Start with the basics and never stop looking to improve your skills. Practice and adapt techniques to whatever suits you best and don’t be afraid to experiment with new styles. Also, surround yourself with good, honest, positive people because you’ll achieve more as a team.

After the creation of the website and then the app, what’s next?
We’ve just partnered with one of the UK’s most prominent fighters Michael “Venom” Page, who currently competes for Bellator MMA. We also have a fitness routine for martial artists coming out from a leading sports performance company called Sport981. They have worked with a number of Olympic athletes and Premier League Football teams. We’ve got plenty more to come from Fighter Training so it’s a very exciting path to be on.

Is there anything else that you’d like our readers to know?
Thank you to all the Fighter Training fans so far for your continued support. We’ve got plenty more exciting content from some of the best martial artists coming very soon.

You can download the free iOS app from iTunes or create a free account on the website. You can also connect with Fighter Training on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all the latest news and tutorials.

Fighter Training website 

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