Entering The World Of MMA: Tips For The Beginner

If you want to learn mixed martial arts, but you have little or no experience with any type of martial art, joining an MMA gym in San Diego might make you nervous. Beginners often think they shouldn’t join an MMA gym until they are already in great shape and are experienced with at least one martial art. This is definitely not the case, as an MMA gym can be the perfect place to learn a wide variety of skills as well as the essential piece of the puzzle, which is learning how to mix up these skills and fight successfully.


If you want to become a successful MMA fighter or just proficient in MMA skills, you will have to take a variety of skills classes. You also need to take classes in conditioning and strength training. If you’ve never done any type of training, you might start out by opting for San Diego Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes and perhaps boxing classes, as these are two skill sets that can be very valuable to possess. Learning how to choke or lock an opponent and throw a good punch definitely can be a huge asset. From there, try out Judo classes in San Diego and Muay Thai to provide you with a full arsenal of weapons for the ring. A good MMA gym will have a flat rate for unlimited classes, which is just another reason why it’s better to head to an MMA gym rather than a facility that teaches just one martial art.


You don’t need a ton of gear when you are just starting out, but a jock strap and cup are certainly essential and it wouldn’t hurt to invest in a mouth piece. You don’t necessarily need any special clothing, although a rash guard is generally a good idea as it prevents chafing and mat burns. Generally, you can borrow gear from the gym, but eventually, as your skills progress, you will want to buy some more gear, such as boxing gloves, MMA gloves and possibly some shin guards.


When researching MMA gyms look for gyms with highly qualified instructors and ask about taking a free class. Good MMA gyms will give you one free training pass, so that you can look around, take a class and see if this looks like a good fit for your needs. Make note of how instructors interact with students. Obviously MMA athletes are tough, but if you are beginner, you want instructors that push you and still have some level of patience with your lack of skills.


An MMA gym, however, isn’t a glossy fitness club with a juice bar and shiny electronic exercise machines. It is a facility filled with men and women who are serious about their mixed marital arts training. If you want to get into shape, a fitness center is probably a better fit for you. MMA is more than a way to get fit, it’s truly a way to live and these athletes are serious about health, fitness and learning enough to become a successful fighter. Martial arts are all about discipline, control and finding that inner strength, and that’s what you should get from an MMA gym.


Beginners are welcome to sign up at The Arena, and the instructors are specialists in helping beginning athletes move from the early stages and prepare them for actual sparring and fighting. Whether your goal is to simply get into the best physical condition possible or you want to consider taking part in amateur or pro fights, The Arena can prepare you. The instructors only ask that all of the members work at a high level and keep up with the training. This means not only are you expected to improve your physical condition, you also need to hone fight skills, and the instructors at this San Diego MMA gym can help.


If you are looking to improve your MMA skills, we invite you to visit us. The Arena is the leading Gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction. We are considered one of the best Muay Thai gyms in San Diego, as well as having the top Judo and boxing classes available. Sign up for your free membership trial today!

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Great Gifts For People Who Love MMA

If your significant other, friend or family member loves everything about MMA, from watching fights live or on TV to actually training in MMA, then this should make it easier for you to select holiday gifts. After all, an MMA-themed gift is sure to make your loved one happy and you should always give people a gift that is suited to their interests.

Many MMA fans also belong to MMA gyms or perhaps train at a boxing club or perhaps take Jiu-Jitsu classes or some other type of marital art. For these people, give the gift of some high-quality gear. You could fill a sturdy gym bag with a rash guard, fight shorts and a towel. You also could opt for bag gloves, sparring gloves or fight gloves, depending on what your person needs. If you aren’t sure, you could give them a gift card to a quality sporting goods store.

For many MMA fans, watching fights is not enough, so it might be nice to give your loved one a subscription to a fight magazine and there are many options. Ultimate MMA, MMA Sports Magazine and Fight Magazine are just three choices crammed with information about athletes, fights and even tips for training. Several MMA magazines also have digital versions as well as print. There are plenty of great books to consider, from books about training to biographies. Your recipient probably would enjoy a book by or about MMA greats such as Randy Couture or perhaps a book about the famous Gracie Family or even a book by Bruce Lee.

Of course, if you can’t watch a fight on TV, you can always watch a movie about martial arts or mixed martial arts. For big MMA fans, perhaps the best movie choice would be “Warrior.” This movie, which stars Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte, offers plenty of good fight scenes, but is also a great movie overall and on many MMA fans’ Top Ten list. A few other choices include Jean-Claude Van Damme’s classic “Bloodsport,” and “Fight Club” is another good option that has long been popular. Bruce Lee’s pivotal “Enter the Dragon,” is always a favorite and Bruce Lee also starred as Kato on TV’s “The Green Hornet,” during the mid 1960s. This series can be purchased and would be a great gift for someone who loves martial arts and comics.

If you are searching for a gift suitable for a kid who enjoys the world of MMA, consider purchasing a giant wall decal of their favorite UFC fighter. There are life-size decals of Jose Aldo, Jon Jones, Wanderlei Silva, Anderson Silva, Rampage Jackson and many more fighters. There are even UFC action figures featuring some of the world’s best known MMA greats, including BJ Penn, Georges St. Pierre and quite a few more.

Tickets to a fight are another good gift idea. UFC, King of the Cage and Bellator host fights throughout the year at many venues around the United States. If you can’t score a ticket to one of these events, there are many smaller local fight organizations that are fun to attend where you can watch some great up-and-coming fighters duel in the cage. If your friend or spouse is a fan of a particular type of marital art, such as Judo or Muay Thai, consider purchasing a ticket to an event specific to that art. Virtually every mid-size to large city offers a variety of fight event options for you to consider.

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Classes That Help MMA Fighters Build Strength

Obviously, if you want to become an MMA fighter or train in mixed martial arts, you realize this takes a great deal of commitment and hard work. You also know that you need to take a variety of classes in order to become a well-rounded fighter. In addition to taking Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes, Muay Thai classes, Judo classes or other classes that teach a specific martial art, there are some other classes you should consider adding to your training regime.

Many people tend to overlook boxing when they plan out their training, and this is a big mistake. Boxers train hard, boxers are tough and boxers learn some highly important skills that you can use in an MMA fight. While Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing are certainly helpful skill sets, learning how to throw a solid punch is huge and this is part of boxing. You also learn how to avoid punches and even how to take a punch with as little impact as possible. Boxing training also will improve your coordination and also your footwork, which helps you move around in the cage and set the pace of a fight.

Wrestling has been around for thousands of years, and this is because as a form of defense, it works well. Wrestlers have that brute strength needed to engage an opponent ,and wrestling skills form a good base for all your other skills. Once you have learned some solid wrestling skills, these easily can be intermingled with boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If you can wrestle, punch and grapple, you will be a fairly well-rounded fighter. Imagine a fight where you utilize a Jiu-Jitsu takedown, use wrestling skills to overwhelm your opponent and then pommel your foe with solid punches. Add a chokehold or arm bar and you will have him tapping out or unconscious in no time at all.

Going face to face with an opponent not only takes a lot of skill, it takes a lot of power and endurance. So you need to be looking into conditioning classes and strength training classes, which often are combined into a single class. This will increase your muscle strength and core strength through weight training and cardiovascular exercise. Select a San Diego mixed martial arts gym that offers these classes and many other types of classes all for one single monthly cost. That way, you can take a little bit of everything without breaking the bank.

Another important type of training is just simply known as MMA training or an MMA class. It is in this type of class, that you learn how to put all your skills together and face an opponent. Your trainers will match you up with opponents based on your ability levels, so don’t worry if you are a beginner to MMA. Experience is the best teacher, so the more MMA classes you take, the better you will be.

In recent years, there also have been some fitness training classes developed that can be of great use to someone training in MMA. The Arena in San Diego, for example, has designed a program that they call FightBuilt. These are strengthening and conditioning classes designed especially to accommodate the physical challenges that MMA fighters face. CrossFit is another popular fitness program to look at, and this program was created to improve a person’s overall fitness in ten different areas, from cardiovascular strength to flexibility to overall power.

MMA Rules: What You Need To Know

Every sport has its own unique set of rules, and mixed martial arts is no exception. These rules are there not only to create a fair and balanced way to determine the victor of a bout, but also to protect athletes as much as possible from serious injuries.

In 1993, the first Ultimate Fighting Championship was held, and since then, hundreds of fights in different MMA organizations have occurred. While individual states created fight rules and sanctioned fights through their athletic commissions, a standard set of rules did not actually exist nationwide until 2009 when the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts were approved. For the most part, all sanctioned, professional MMA bouts in the United States now use these rules.

There are many different categories of rules, such as determining weight classes for fighters. The men have nine weight classes, ranging from flyweight to super heavyweight. The flyweight is for fighters 125 pounds or lighter, and the super heavyweight fighters must be at least 265 pounds. Women also have weight classes and while the names are similar, the weights are different. For example, flyweights are fighters who weigh 95 pounds or less and female super heavyweights need only exceed 185 pounds.

The rules of MMA state that bouts consist of three to five rounds, lasting for five minutes with a one-minute break in between rounds. Non-title fights can last for three rounds, and title fights can last for five rounds. Each of these rounds MMA fights can end in several allowable ways. If the fighters make it through all of the rounds, the bout’s winner is determined by the decision of three judges. A knockout is another way a fight ends, and this is exactly what it sounds like – one of the fighters has been knocked unconscious. A technical knockout is another way for a fight to end, and this usually means that the referee has ended the fight out of concern for the safety of one of the fighters.

While those first three are similar to boxing, MMA has a few extra ways that a fight can end. A submission is a common way in which a fight can end, and this simply means that a fighter cannot escape from a hold and sometimes the referee will end the fight and sometimes the fighter will tap the mat to end the fight. One more rare way a fight ends is by a no contest ruling, and this occurs when someone injures a fighter unintentionally using a move that is illegal or has taken an illegal substance and tests positive after the fight. It also can occur if both fighters violate the rules. A disqualification also can end a fight if one of the fighters receives three or more warnings during a bout.

While it might seem like anything goes during an MMA fight, there are actually many things that are not legal. For example, eye gouging, head butting and biting are never allowed in a fight. You also are not allowed to strike a person’s spine or the back of their head. Fish hooking and groin attacks also are not allowed. These are just a few illegal maneuvers, and you receive a warning if you violate the rules.

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What Not To Do During An MMA Fight

If you thought an MMA fight was a ruthless fighting frenzy with no rules, you would be very wrong. All sanctioned mixed martial arts bouts have rules, and most fights fall under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts which includes a long list of fouls that are put in place to protect fighters. Commit one of these fouls, and you might find yourself facing a deduction in points or worse.

There are several outcomes when one commits a foul. The referee might simply deduct one point as a penalty or could opt to deduct several points. If your opponent is incapacitated and no longer able to fight because of the foul, this changes the outcome of the fight. If the referee rules that your foul was intentional, then the match ends up with a disqualification. If the referee finds that the foul was unintentional, then the fight ends with a no-contest ruling.

In some cases, a fighter might seem to shake off a foul and continue to fight but then later on is unable to continue. If the fight ends minutes or rounds later because of the foul, then the bout is considered either a technical draw or a win by technical decision. If, at the time the bout was stopped, your opponent had an advantage in scoring, then the opponent wins by technical decision. If your opponent had equal or fewer points, then the fight ends with a technical draw. So maybe your opponent seems to be able to continue, but later finds that that he or she is unable to fight because of an injury from the foul, then this would cause a technical draw or a technical decision. The end result, either way, is that the person, who inflicted the foul, doesn’t get a win.

There are several dozen fouls that one can commit, and it is always best to avoid a foul not only because it can cause you to lose a bout, but also because the goal of a MMA fight is not to hurt your opponent. In addition, the results of committing a foul or not obeying the referee can occasionally seriously impact your career even if the foul was not charged during the bout.

Take, for example, the UFC 74 match-up between David Heath and Renato Sobral. Sobral held Heath in an anaconda chokehold and Heath tapped out, but Sobral refused to let go and continued to hold Heath until he passed out despite the referee commanding him to stop the hold. Sobral was fined and also released from his UFC contract just a few days after the bout. This was a clear foul, violating the rule that prohibits flagrant disregard of a referee’s instruction.

Disregarding referee instructions is just one of the fouls you want to avoid, as it is always best to try to win on your merits. All MMA fighters need to be well-acquainted with the rules in order to avoid breaking the rules. Other fouls that have been put in place include banning hits to the groin and kidneys, as well as prohibiting fish-hooking, eye-gouging, kicking or kneeing a grounded opponent in the head, and even profanity can cause a referee to issue a foul.

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Training Tips For Your First MMA Fight

If you’ve been training for awhile, you might be ready to try your first amateur MMA San Diego bout. The best way to gauge as to whether you are ready or not for that first step into the cage is to talk to your instructors and trainers at your MMA gym. Of course, if you don’t belong to an MMA gym at all, your true first step should be to find one immediately and start taking classes.


How to become a MMA fighter? While MMA is all about mixing up different forms of fighting, your training should include more than just martial arts. You also need to have a strict cardio plan that helps you build the endurance you need to go several rounds against a tough opponent. This might include swimming, running and hill sprints and any other activity that builds cardiovascular strength. There is also a direct correlation between cardio strength and mental focus, so get as fit as you possibly can.


Obviously, there are many key skills to be gained by careful study of Muay Thai, Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in San Diego, but often fighters overlook the importance of learning some basic boxing skills. Boxing improves your footwork and coordination while also teaching you how to take a hit and deliver a solid punch as well. Even if you have a black belt in BJJ, be sure that your MMA gym offers a wide variety of classes so you can be exposed to many disciplines.


Of course, while learning multiple fighting skills is smart, you still need to spend a great deal of time working on your strengths. We all have a style of fighting that works best for us, so it is important to be as strong as possible in this key area. Fighting is all about control, so work on what you actually can control and stop worrying about everything else. Another reason to focus on your key strengths is that it builds confidence in those moves, and if you can gain control in a fight, you are better able to end the fight with your strongest maneuvers.


When it comes to training, the worst thing you can do is to lose your focus. We are all busy with many other tasks, but when you are focusing on getting ready for a fight, you need to eliminate other activities. Training should take up a great deal of your time, so keep the rest of your life as simple as you possibly can.


It’s a bit of a waste to spend all this time training and then head home and eat a bag of potato chips and have a couple of beers. Your body is stronger when you feed it properly, and you also have to stay within your weight class so you need to pay attention to nutrition. Create meal plans that will maximize your health and strength and avoid unhealthy foods and drinks. This is a good plan for every day of your life and not just during training.


If you are looking to improve your MMA skills, we invite you to join us. The Arena is the leading Gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction. We are considered one of the best boxing clubs in San Diego, as well as having the top kickboxing and Muay Thai training available. Sign up for your free membership trial today!

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Kids & MMA: What You Need To Know

Millions of children in the United States enjoy taking martial arts classes. They offer a great way to teach discipline and self-defense as well as building confidence. If your kid wants to take it a step further and take MMA lessons, you probably are a bit concerned about safety. Mixed martial arts certainly can be dangerous; there are some ways to minimize the risks.

Keep in mind that your child won’t be thrown into a cage and begin sparring on the first day. Not only does it take a great deal of training to get to a level of competition, when your child does compete, he will be wearing a variety of pieces of protective gear, including head gear, shin guards and other pieces of equipment. Also keep in mind that most sports pose some risk to the body, including the most popular kid sports such as baseball and football.

While all sports certainly teach some level of discipline and sportsmanship, the main goal of baseball or another sport is to win a game. With youth MMA, kids aren’t going after each other in the cage, beating each other up. At the young levels, prior to age 16, especially, children are simply learning a variety of MMA skills. They do spar with one another, but at a good school this is done in such as way to minimize injury. The goal of youth MMA is to help improve the ability to defend oneself, as well as building confidence and improving a person’s overall fitness and discipline.

Whether you are worried about safety or not, before you sign your child up for MMA classes, spend some time finding the right gym. Go in and spend some time talking with the instructors and ask about their philosophy. Observe a few classes within different age groups and see for yourself what is being taught. You want to see instructors that are respected but not intimidating and focused on self improvement and not on teaching aggressive behavior. If it looks like the Cobra Kai dojo from The Karate Kid, find another place.

There are also other options to think about, allowing your child to learn some great skills that would progress into mixed martial arts. For example, instead of learning a mix of martial arts, consider working on just one skill until they are older. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is hugely popular these days and provides many skills that move seamlessly into MMA. Most Jiu-Jitsu schools focus on building confidence and skills and never on fostering aggression.

Other options to consider are taking wrestling classes, Judo, Karate or Taekwondo, rather than boxing, Muay Thai or kickboxing as the latter three often can be a bit riskier. You can certainly learn boxing and Muay Thai skills without working against an opponent, and your child can wait until he or she is older before they use these skills against an opponent.

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New To MMA: What You Need To Know

While mixed martial arts has only been organized and televised for the last 20 years or so, the sport’s roots go back many hundreds of years. Fighters use skills from the world’s most ancient of martial arts as well as new styles of fighting. This versatility is what makes MMA so excited to watch and to learn. For those with little knowledge about MMA, here are a few important facts.

Nothing will get you tossed out of a gym faster than the words, “Isn’t MMA just like the WWE?” WWE is fake. The guys might look tough, but they aren’t actually fighting. In a sanctioned MMA fight, you get to see two tough fighters use every move in their fight arsenal in order to overcome their opponent. In the fighting world, MMA is as real as it gets.

You probably already guessed that it’s called mixed martial arts because it mixes several types of martial arts together. Each fighter is able to use whatever martial arts skills they have during the bout, which allows them to adapt to an opponent more easily. There are many styles showcased in MMA, including boxing and wrestling, as well as Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Vale Todo and many others. While some fighters might be experts in one style, they also learn skills from several other martial arts. Some fighters are more versatile than others. For example, Fedor Emelinenko is a Grand Master in Sambo, as well as holding a black belt in Judo.

Some people confuse the terms MMA and UFC, believing that they are the same thing. The UFC is an MMA organization but there are plenty of other groups out there hosting great mixed martial arts fights. Bellator MMA, for example, hosts a series of prominent tournaments, as does King of the Cage and other smaller enteritis. Just about every large city in the country has MMA events during the year, so there is rarely a weekend that goes by when you can’t find an MMA event to attend.

At one time in its history, Senator John McCain referred to MMA as “human cockfighting.” In the early days, MMA was certainly more dangerous, but sanctioned fights are now under the guise of the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, which has plenty of rules in place to protect fighters. Since the rules were created, there have been three deaths occurring from injuries during a sanctioned MMA fight. Fatalities, however, are a sad reality of many sports, such as bicycle racing, skiing, NASCAR events, and even soccer has a deadlier record than MMA.

There are plenty of other facts you’ll need to learn, but you can start by simply watching some fights and reading some blogs and forums about the sport. If you want to take a look at some of the top names in the sport today and in the past, look up names such as Carlos Gracie, Royce Gracie, Randy Couture, Fedor Emelinenko, Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort, BJ Penn, Matt Hughes and Georges St-Pierre just to name a few of the important figures in MMA.

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Why You Need To Join An MMA Gym

There are many reasons why joining an MMA gym is a better idea than heading to one of those traditional fitness centers. While you certainly can get a decent workout using treadmills, cross-trainers and weight equipment, an MMA gym can provide you with a much more enriched experience.

Mixed martial arts gyms provide plenty of excellent physical training, and you definitely can transform into the best physical shape of your life, but martial arts is much more than a way to physical improvement. Joining an MMA gym provides you with an opportunity to improve your mental focus and well-being, which will touch every part of your life. This is something lacking in a fitness center, where you have little meaningful contact with others. Conversely, your instructors and fellow athletes at the MMA gym are a constant source of inspiration and motivation.

Promoting violence is not what martial arts is about, nor is it the focus of mixed martial arts. The target of both is the art of self defense, and this is a valid occupation for any human being. Being able to defend oneself from a foe is essential, even if you never end up needing the skill. You can learn excellent self defense tactics studying a single martial art, but you certainly increase your defensive abilities by learning a mix of martial arts.

For example, while training at a boxing gym will certainly improve your ability to throw or block a punch, if you end up on the ground, boxing skills are of little use. The same could be said of those who rely only on Muay Thai skills. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, on the other hand, can provide you with skills needed for ground fighting. Combining a variety of skills can be a huge benefit for anyone, especially if you have any aspirations of trying your hand at cage fighting.

In addition to improving your mental game and learning self defense, there are few places that offer a better and more thorough workout than an MMA gym. In addition to taking a mix or classes in different fighting styles, an MMA gym also provides weight-training equipment and conditioning classes, all of which will get you into top physical shape.

When you are searching for a San Diego MMA gym, try to find one with professional-level instructors with actual fight experience, as this will provide you the best possible training. In addition, look for a gym that offers unlimited gym use and classes for one single monthly fee. This will allow you to experience many types of classes and will make it easier to fit your workouts into your schedule.

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MMA Facts You Probably Did Not Know

Just three decades ago, few people had ever heard of mixed martial arts, but since the first UFC back in the early 1990s, this sport has definitely gained a massive following. MMA fans know that the sport combines elements of everything from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to boxing to wrestling and Muay Thai, but there are some obscure facts of which fans might not be aware.

In general, statistics show that only about 28% of Americans have graduated from college. Among MMA fighters, more than 80% of UFC have a college degree. This is not only far higher than the national average; it is higher than many other pro sports. Keep in mind that while football players and basketball players attend and graduate from college in high numbers, this is because they were on scholarship and college was similar to minor league training. For MMA athletes, there are few scholarships, and going to college was more of an academic decision than a sports-related one.

Did you ever wonder why UFC fighters battle it out in The Octagon? If not, skip to the next paragraph. Otherwise, consider the following ideas. There is definitely a school of thought that a non-circular type of ring provides a better staging area for multiple styles of fighting. In addition, it might also be related to a quirky Chuck Norris film, “The Octagon.” While it certainly wasn’t an Oscar-winner, Norris plays his usual role as a tormented, but skilled martial art fighter, defeating some type of enemy. In the case of this circa 1980 film, he is defeating a crime organization of ninjas which has called itself The Octagon.

Since the dawn of time, little boys have settled disputes with rough and tumble fights. Some boys grow up and still settle disputes in a similar fashion. For instance, the largest amount of the UFC’s parent company, Zuffa, LLC, is owned by the Fertitta brothers who decided that if they cannot settle a dispute over the management of the company, they will settle it with a jiu-jitsu contest. By the way, if you aren’t convinced that the Fertitta’s are fight fans, their company is named for an Italian word that means scuffle.

MMA fighters come from a variety of occupations, including dozens of fighters that have served in the Armed Forces, as well as firefighters and police officer. While that’s hardly a surprise, a few fighters have more unique former careers or side careers. For example, Mauricio Rua was a runway model in Brazil before hitting the Octagon, and Georges St-Pierre worked as a garbage collector. Chael Sonnen was a real estate agent at one point, but fighting has certainly worked out better for him, as he was targeted for taking part in a money laundering scheme.

We all know the MMA is a tough sport and injuries are common and often serious, but time and time again, MMA is called a deadly sport or the most dangerous sport. In fact, that just isn’t the case. Since the first sanctioned events, there have been three deaths, and while these are certainly tragic, statistically during the same approximate 20-year period, many other sports are far deadlier. NASCAR, for example, has seen many horrific accidents, and eight drivers have died since 1992.

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About The Arena

The Arena is the largest gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction.

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