By John Fullilove, jacksons.tv
jacksons.tv: What is the relationship between martial arts and MMA?
Coach Jackson: Well MMA is kind of the competitive version of martial arts; so MMA gives us a laboratory in which we can find out what techniques are more effective, what techniques are sometimes effective and what techniques are not very effective at all. So, you got a situation where you can think of moves or come up with ideas or do things that are actually at work in this laboratory called the cage. So, you get to test out your hypothesis and see how it works. It’s the competitive end of martial arts. Martial arts to me encompasses a lot, weapons, non-weapons but for us it’s mostly non-weapons.
jacksons.tv: Are there self-defense benefits to MMA training or are the two entirely separate disciplines?
Coach Jackson: MMA is self-defense. You are deluding yourself if you feel MMA is not self-defense. There are things you can do it addition to the structure that MMA gives you such as eye gouges, biting, etc., but to rely on those moves by themselves is to misunderstand the martial arts. If you are not training in the current, cutting edge techniques of MMA then you are not training in self-defense.
jacksons.tv: How is strategy expressed during a MMA fight?
Coach Jackson: Strategy is everything in an MMA fight. Even not having a strategy is still a strategy. So, it’s just a methodology that you use to try to put the odds in your favor so you can come out with a victory and that’s very important, and again some people fell like swinging at the fences and they fell that puts them in the right mind set or that puts them in the right place so they can win the fight so they are still trying to put the odds in their favor and that’s all strategy is. Putting the odds in your favor.
jacksons.tv: What one component of MMA fighting has the most room for growth and why?
Coach Jackson: I think all of the components have the most room for growth. Certainly, grappling is the most intricate of the arts, followed by takedowns. I’m not saying that the other arts are not very intricate – there is just so much more you can do there. So, you can grow everywhere, everywhere is kind of an endless possibility of moving and coming in, which is what I love about it.
jacksons.tv: Fighters usually have preferences or tendencies, how do you help fighters expand their collection of techniques without changing their strengths?
Coach Jackson: Well that’s the real trick. I try to add to what they are really good at, their utility and then try round out what they are not good at. I always try to attack both what they are not good at and add what they already have done well. That’s the method I try to use.
jacksons.tv: Is mental toughness for a fighter something that can be developed or do some fighters just have it and others don’t?
Coach Jackson: It can absolutely be developed, some start a little more tougher than others but every fighter no matter how weak or strong you are, if you have the determination to become mentally stronger, that’s what the martial arts give you, that’s the real gift it gives you, that mental confidence. Being able to do things mentally you weren’t able to do before. So, 100% it can be improved.
jacksons.tv: What do you find most enjoyable about coaching?
Coach Jackson: I like changing people’s lives for the better. I think that’s definitely the part I’m addicted to. When I see somebody that you know is just a normal student and their life becomes better, they become a stronger person, they become a better person, that something that really exemplifies why I’m in this business. Exemplifies why I try to help people. So that they can deal with things that they weren't able to deal with before, not like spiritually, but just better people. It’s a real rush to help people out and make that your living - I love it.