Free fight club
Free fight may be the new kid on the block when it comes to fighting sports, but televised PRIDE bouts ensure it holds its own in the ring of public opinion. In fact, many are taking to learning - not just watching - free fight. After 17 years of competing (and winning) savate (French boxing), U.S. boxing, bugei, grappling and kickboxing as well as free fight bouts, Franck Morin, 38, is teaching it. The Champagnole, France native holds teaching ranks in savate, bugei, lutte contact and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which is ideal owing to the eclectic nature of the sport. Morin tells Fitness Japan why and more about free fight.
What is free fight and how does it work?
Free fight is a mix of several fighting techniques. First, we use kickboxing - all punches, kicks and knees; we also use takedowns from judo and wrestling; then, when on the when ground, we use all jiu-jitsu and grappling techniques, sometimes strikes are also allowed on the ground.
When we train, our objectives are to be good in these three dimensions. We call free fighters "fighting-sports triathletes." The goal in free fight is to submit or finish the fight as fast as you can, using such techniques as kicking, punching, chokes or armbars, leg locks, etc.
How has free fight evolved as a sport and/or martial art?
Free fight will evolve more and more because it is a combination of several things. Some people are fed up with other fight sports, because after many years of training they know everything there is to know about the martial art they practice. With free fight, there is no end (to the number of techniques you can learn).
A few years ago, nobody knew about free fight, now, after several big competitions like PRIDE and UFC (U.S.-based Ultimate Fighting Championship), we all know about it. In the future, free fight will spread everywhere as an emerging new fight sport. That said, because of its recent beginnings, it hasn't yet developed the kind of philosophies found in other martial arts.
What is a typical free fight class like at MultiDou?
Like in all sports, the lesson is divided into three parts: Warming up for around 15 to 20 minutes; technical lessons for 45 minutes in which we use several techniques from kickboxing, wrestling, judo, grappling and jiu jitsu. The last part of the lesson is to relax and stretch all muscles. It is important to do this to preserve the body from aches, pains, fatigue and damage that can accrue over a few years of practice.
The practice can be soft or hard, it depends on students' objectives; competitors work on power using bags and train for speed on the ground and takedowns. Those who train for pleasure can do everything the way they want, like working more on techniques than power. At MultiDou we allow everyone to find their own way.
What physical fitness benefits does free fight offer?
As with many sports, you can get in shape, loose fat and become more flexible, while learning new things and relieving stress. The challenges that free fight can provide also offer a source of personal satisfaction as well as external motivation.
Is it dangerous - are there typical injuries?
It is not dangerous at all, but it does depend on your workout motivation. We usually train without using our full power and require all fighters to be fair. You always respect your opponent when he taps out.
How good of shape do you need to be in to start free fighting?
At MultiDou, our free fight lessons are open to everybody: beginners, advanced and competitors. When you are a beginner you don't need to be in real good shape. It's progressive and will come by itself with weekly training. There is also no need to worry about technical level; you learn from your mistakes. Based on this pedagogy, the instructor will explain everything to the students (this is the role of a fighting teacher).