The Arena Amateur MMA Fighter Jefferson Creighton

Jefferson Creighton joined the Arena at 17 years old with a wrestling background and a desire to fight. Under the tutelage of MMA Coaches Vince and Chuck, he’s been working his way up the amateur ranks and been a great representation of what we stand for at The Arena.


Jefferson Creighton:
My name is Jefferson Creighton. I’m 21 years old. I fight out of The Arena. I started off wrestling in middle school, ended up going to tryouts, ended up falling in love with wrestling, wrestled all the way up until my senior year of high school. I lived for the competition. I wanted to compete again, so I decided to check out The Arena and start training. I’ve started my career here and I’m planning on ending my career here.

Originally, I was born here in Laguna Hills. My dad was in the Marine Corps, moved around a lot, Virginia, North Carolina, ended up coming out here to California when I was 16 years old and been here ever since. I walked into the arena when I was 17 years old, and I was asked to do the first team practice, which I learned very quickly that fighting is a lot more than just wrestling and that I had to get way more well-rounded in all aspects of the game. So I took about two years to just work on striking alone, and now I’ve kind of turned from wrestler, turned into striker.

My MMA record’s is 4 and 3. I’m also 2 and 0 in Muay Thai and kickboxing. I’ve taken a couple L’s in my amateur career, but I’ve learned a lot from them. I’m always training, but when I have a fight coming up, I usually train twice a day in the morning from 9:00 to 11:00, which consists of grappling and striking, and then I go to school and then come back at 4:00, do team practice and strength conditioning. So usually when I have a fight coming up, I’m here at the gym four hours a day.

Basically, we’re just one big team. We all have the same goal and working as one unit. I would say my inspiration to fight is actually my mom. My mom is having her own battle right now with breast cancer. She’s a fighter through and through, and I’ve always just been inspired by her strength and her determination. I’m fighting May 11 at Hotel Irvine under Roy Englebrecht Promotions. I don’t know really who my opponent is and neither do I really care. I just get in there and fight whoever they put in front of me and just go out there and perform.

Chris Leben Stability Ball Drills For MMA

The Arena MMA Coach Chris Leben teaches some simple MMA and Wrestling drills you can do at home with a stability ball to keep in shape during this lockdown. Check it out.


Coach Chris Leben:
What up, everybody, Chris Leben. And here’s a few drills you can do on your own just with the yoga ball. Working on your sprawl.

Work my shadow boxing on the ball, focusing on my balance. I’m trying to sit up high, forward on my knees so my core is activated and just throwing punches.

Here’s one for your clinch game, just driving it in, drive it into the wall. Switch your shoulders about midway, switch your feet, switch your shoulder, drive, switch, drive, switch, drive.

So here’s a good drill for top pressure. Just stand up, just working my circle, circling the ball, circling the ball, use your legs, circle, circle, switch your direction, circle. Pressure for your top game.

So there’s some simple workouts using yoga ball, no partner at home. Get through this.

Baret Yoshida and Andre the Giant

Here’s a fun clip with The Arena’s Jiu Jitsu and Grappling Coach Baret Yoshida discussing his recent fascination with The 8th Wonder of the World, Andre the Giant.


Coach Baret Yoshida:
When I was like nine years old, I used to stay at my grandpa’s house. He had Japanese channel, so the best thing is to watch were the samurai movies or pro wrestling or Sumo. So I always be watching that, and I would just fascinate on The Giant and the pro wrestlers, I mean, how big they were. They were like monsters. You know what I mean?

Recently, I just got really into Andrea and I watched his documentary. I read his books. Then I started buying his T-shirts and obsessing over Andre the Giant. So Vince was messing around and he found a picture of Andre, and he put the Baret Submissions logo on top of Andre’s T-shirt. They just fit perfectly. He just made a couple of shirts for fun.

When Andre was young, he was a superb athlete as well. He used to do back flips. He would exercise with all of the pro wrestlers and they kind of just recruited him from there, and then he essentially built the wrestling because he was the anomaly. Wherever he would go, the stadiums would sell out. At the end, he was all beat up, but when he was in his prime, I think he would tear people to pieces. I just figure he was probably the greatest grappler that ever lived. You know what I mean?

Chris Leben MMA Drills Using a Wall

In this video, MMA Coach and UFC Veteran Chris Leben shows some simple movement drills you can do at home using just a wall. These will help keep you flexible and mobile for Wrestling and MMA.


Chris Leben:
What up guys? Chris Leben here and we just want to show you guys some drills that you can do at home to keep your MMA game up to speed.

What up guys? Here’s a pretty killer workout you can do at home, great for setting up your throws, great for your core. Very simple wall walks. So I’m just going to start here, doing a backbend like I’m doing a throw. Walk my head all the way down to the mat. Walk myself back up. Walk my head all the way down to the mat. Walk myself back up.

Great for your core. Again, great exercise when you’re used to popping those hips and getting that flexibility to drop people on their head.

Here’s a real simple guard retention drill you can do at home. All you need is a wall. Lie down. So right here I’m going to start with my head against the wall. My hands I’m going to push up, bring my legs up, regain my guard, spin around, head against the wall. Push up, legs come up, regained my guard. Spin around, head against the wall, extended up, pitch up, regained my guard. So great for the abs. Great for keeping you loose, keeping that guard flexible, simple drill you can do at home.

Tip of the Week – Off Balance to Double Leg

Okay, so real common situation here. We’re stuck in this over under in this 50 50 position. And I want to progress my position.

So I’m going to set up my double leg. Alls I’m going to do is I’m going slap his lat here as I bump the inside of knee.

So I go, boop, that breaks his posture and it makes all the weight on that leg, and makes this arm light.

Now I’m going to going to drop my level as I shove this arm across and I’m right in perfect position for my double leg.

One more time. I’m here, this leg goes in the middle, a small step, slap, bump, shove the arm, set up for my double.

So, simple off balance to double leg, that’s your tip of the week

Different Types Of Wrestling

Love wrestling in San Diego? Wrestling is one of the world’s most ancient combat sports and was one of the sports in the ancient Olympic Games. Recently, wrestling was unceremoniously eliminated from the modern Summer Olympics. A huge outcry followed this decision and after months of protest, the sport was reinstated. This popular sport comes in a variety of forms and styles.


There are many kinds of wrestling, but just a few are displayed at the Olympics, including Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling. At first glance, the two look similar, but there are actually some very important differences. Freestyle wrestlers, for instance, are allowed to takedown a foe using their legs and they are also can hold and grab opponents below their waist. Neither of those moves, however, is allowed in the realm of Greco-Roman wrestling.


Another difference is that freestylers can throw an opponent down and then apply some type of hold, but Greco Roman wrestlers must stay in contact with their opponent during the takedown and then place their opponent in a hold. If they fail to do this, the hold will not count. While it would be wrong to say that freestyle wrestling is easier than Greco-Roman, freestyle wrestlers do tend to have more options available to them while Greco-Roman wrestlers tend to rely more on upper body force and strength.


When the modern Olympic Games came into existence in the 1890s, all of the ancient sports were included in the new games with the exception of pankration. This sport, which combines elements of wrestling and boxing, is quite similar in many ways to today’s mixed martial arts. Those practicing this combat sport could grapple, punch, kick, strike, throw an opponent down, employ chokeholds and just about anything they wanted in order to overwhelm an opponent. Only biting, nail scratches and eye gouges were not allowed. While it is not part of the modern games, pankration is recognized by FILA, the main governing body for all forms of wrestling.


Another type of wrestling that has many similarities to MMA is FILA grappling, although in this combat sport, striking is not allowed. Elements of wrestling, sambo, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu and American folk wrestling are all seen in FILA grappling, which has two categories, No-Gi or Gi, depending on what the fighters wear. The emphasis on grappling stresses the importance of strong groundwork skills and fighters spend a great deal of their time perfecting submission holds, such as chokes and joint locks.


These are just a few of the many forms of wrestling you can find all over the globe. There are few countries or cultures that do not have their own form of wrestling. In the Soviet Union, sambo was created and has continued to gain in popularity. This sport contains elements of Judo as well as wrestling. If you live in the nation of Turkey, you probably are quite familiar with grease wrestling, which is just about what it sounds like. Wrestlers coat themselves with olive oil and try to gain a hold of one another. While baseball might be the national pastime in America, in Turkey, it’s grease wrestling.


If you are looking to improve your wrestling 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 as having some of the best MMA training in San Diego, as well as having the top boxing, kickboxing and Muay Thai classes available. Sign up for your free membership trial today!

Wrestling: Why It Should Remain An Olympic Sport

The International Olympic Committee recently recommended that wrestling be removed from the Olympics as soon as the 2020 summer games. This controversial decision has been widely criticized as this is a sport that not only was part of the ancient Olympic games, but also have been a part of the modern Olympic games since the first games in 1896.

The committee has said that their ultimate goal is to ensure that the games are “relevant” to the widest possible amount of viewers. Eliminating wrestling also eliminates the Olympic dream for hundreds of potential Olympic wrestlers, and this decision has been a big blow to thousands of athletes around the globe who participate in the sport in high school and perhaps college.

If we take a look back, we see that the modern games have always included wrestling, as well as cycling, fencing, shooting, gymnastics, swimming, weightlifting, cycling, rowing, sailing, and athletics, which includes the various track and field events such as hurdles and shot put. Aside from wrestling, every one of these events will be featured in the 2020 Olympics. Quite frankly, it’s hard to imagine that rowing and fencing are more relevant events that draw a larger audience.

Could there be some better choices to eliminate? Well, let’s take a look. We know that all Olympic athletes (at least those who don’t cheat) work very hard for their medals. But do we really need to dump wrestling so that we can have Team Handball as a sport? Isn’t that basically a playground game? Perhaps we should add dodge ball, four square and jump rope as competitive sports. Again, not to take away from other athletes, but is badminton a sport more worthy of Olympic competition than wrestling? Apparently the IOC believes that badminton is far more relevant, even though they had to throw out players from three different countries during the last Olympics for cheating.

Perhaps a better example to eliminate than either handball or badminton would be equestrian sports. While the horses are beautiful and it certainly isn’t an easy competition, it’s not a particularly accessible sport in general unlike basketball, soccer and volleyball. While swimming includes races, diving and water polo, synchronized swimming also is included in that category. Do we really want to live in a world where wrestling is less important to the Olympics than synchronized swimming or something like rhythmic gymnastics?

Any time a sport is eliminated, there is always controversy because this elimination hurts a group of athletes committed to their sport. In general, it might behoove the IOC to consider keeping the original set of sporting events intact and widening the scope to include more events in the games themselves.

Going Pro In MMA: The Path To Success

MMA Success - The Arena

Dedication, strength and determination are essentials for success in mixed martial arts in San Diego. If you hope to become a professional MMA fighter, you can’t fight unless you are completely committed to the sport. Taking your skills to pro level is not something to be taken lightly, and you will need to consider the following before you begin training.


You cannot become pro by simply taking a few classes and training alone. You need to find the best possible MMA gym in your area that can teach you how to join the MMA. The gym needs to be staffed with instructors that have fought professionally so that you can benefit from their expertise and experience. Find a gym that offers classes in multiple fighting styles, as well. Leaning on just one main fighting technique won’t get you to a pro level.


You will need to be proficient in multiple styles of fighting; otherwise you will be unsuccessful in even lower level pro bouts. The best fighters excel in a range of skills, including boxing, jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and wrestling. Not only do you need to work on each of these individual skills sets, you also need to be able to take those skills and combine them to create a strong game plan for your fights.


In addition, you need to improve your overall health through strength training and conditioning, as well as diet. Professional MMA fighters are in the gym for as many as five or six hours a day and six days a week. Your body will have to work up to this level, but it gives you some idea of the commitment that is necessary to fight on a professional level.


Your trainers and instructors will have the best opinion about when you are ready to begin fighting competitively. This is why it is important to find a quality MMA gym with instructors who have that professional experience. Not only can they help guide your training, they can assist you in preparing for your first fight. They also know where the fights are in your area and weight class. Be sure to select a gym that offers in-house fight management. That way, you know they are serious about helping members who want a career in MMA.


Obviously you want be headlining any major shows right out of the gate; however, you need to expect to compete in small show MMA. If you are lucky enough to win, your purse will be small, perhaps $500. Most fighters will tell you that the money is not the reason they fight, they love the fight itself. That first moment you are facing a real opponent in a pro bout can be terrifying, but most fighters have shared that it was also one of the best experiences of their lives. If you choose to make MMA your life, be prepared to work hard and be prepared for injuries. They are part of the deal.


If you are looking to improve your mixed martial art 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 boxing, kickboxing and Jiu Jitsu classes available. Sign up for your free membership trial today!

The Components Of Your MMA Training

Components of MMA

MMA training is serious business, and in order to become successful, it is imperative that you find a professional gym that offers a myriad of training options. You need to become skilled in multiple fighting styles, training with experts in each of the main components of mixed martial arts.

Balanced MMA training should include taking some boxing classes. Boxing, which is one of the oldest forms of martial arts, accelerates your MMA game by helping improve hand striking skills and improving your overall conditioning. It wouldn’t be wise to depend solely on your boxing skills during a fight, but you will be a better fighter after taking some boxing classes. Clearly being able to throw an opponent to the ground is a huge skill in MMA, and there are many forms of training that will allow you to improve that skill.

Wrestling is one of the world’s most ancient sports, and it is a huge component of mixed martial arts. Greco-Roman wrestling dates back to the earliest Olympic games, and these skills are still used today. These ancient fighting techniques can help you overcome a larger opponent. A good gym will teach the fundamentals as well as a variety of wrestling skills, such as freestyle, grappling, beach, Sambo and Greco-Roman.

Muay Thai is another component of your MMA training. Originating in Thailand, Muay Thai is a combat sport that is also known as the Art of Eight Limbs. This is because it utilizes kicking, punching, elbow strikes and knee strikes, with a total of eight different points of contact. While it might sound complex, Muay Thai can be fairly easy to learn and is very effective during fights, which is why so many MMA fighters use Muay Thai techniques.

Another popular component of MMA is Jiu Jitsu, particularly the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu perfected by the famous Gracie family. Jiu Jitsu is particularly important in MMA because the skills help fighters improve their ability to force an opponent down. While wrestling and many martial arts emphasis quick takedowns, Jiu Jitsu incorporates a variety of grappling strategies.

Conditioning and strength training classes are another key part of MMA training. Staying healthy and building strength will help you maximize your MMA techniques. Find an MMA gym that offers condition and strength classes that can be tailored to fit your needs.

Finding a gym that caters to the total fighter is key. Be sure to choose a training facility that is serious about MMA, thus taking you from beginning levels all the way to competitive fighting.

What You Need To Know About Weight Cutting


From the time of a weigh-in to the moment the fight begins, you will often see many fighters go through a tremendous physical transformation. Within a 24 to 30-hour period, they can lose and gain as much as 10 pounds or more, which can be a huge advantage during the fight. While weight cutting is a typical part of many fighters’ game plans, it can be dangerous. Thoughtful, careful weight cutting can reduce the impact this process has on a fighter’s body.

The dangers of weight cutting include damage to the organ systems of the body, particularly the kidneys. In addition, severe weight cutting can increase the risk of injury.

“If you cut too much weight, you can tax the organs,” explains Jeff Clark, an MMA coach and manager at The Arena in San Diego, California. “The other main problem is that you can lose too much fluid around the brain. This can cause some trauma and make you more susceptible to knock outs.”

In general, it is smart to start thinking about weight cutting about four to six weeks prior to the fight. Your goal is to get as close to the weight limit as possible, to give yourself more space to bulk up after the weigh-in. This means that a fighter typically should be about 7 to 12 pounds higher than fight weight a week prior to the weigh-in date. The best way to get to this point is with a combination of heavy training and eating a healthy and balanced diet that is low in fat.

When you do reach that crucial 7-day mark, the more extreme side of weight cuts begins. One way many fighters begin is by drinking only distilled water. This throws off your body’s PH balance and allows you to quickly remove water from your system. The night before the weigh-in, cut all water and head to the sauna as this will help you quickly strip off the water weight.

After weigh-in, you will have maybe 30 hours at the most to put weight back on rapidly. The safest way to do this is to eat healthy foods, especially fruit and complex carbohydrates. As far as hydration goes, drink small and steady amounts of water, coconut water and electrolyte drinks such as Pedialyte.

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

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