How MMA Training Caught on in Little Rhode Island

It’s not often that you get elite Mixed Martial Arts talent wondering through Southern Rhode Island, however, just over a year ago we here at Black Diamond MMA were lucky to have the grizzled UFC vet, John ‘Doomsday’ Howard, visit us for a FANTASTIC seminar!

John Howard is known as one of the top strikers in the UFC

John Howard is known as one of the top strikers in the UFC

Boasting a 21-8 record, Doomsday is known for his brutal striking ability! With nine career KO/TKO finishes to his name, Howard is as feared as they come when it comes to his stand-up game that few want to test.

After hitting a slight skid in the UFC, Howard was let go. However, showing the will of a true warrior, John put even more time and effort into his training, and after a nice 6-1 run on the independent circuit, he found himself back in the UFC.

Returning to the UFC just a few days ago, Howard was the biggest underdog on the card that night, and went on to upset the heavily favored Uriah Hall. This win was due to his world-class striking. You can get a full breakdown of the fight from this article on

Shadow Boxing-Form Over Function

When shadow boxing, it’s all too easy to let your punches fly as if Anderson Silva himself is stalking you in the cage. It’s okay to admit that at one point or another we all tried to show off a bit when it comes to shadow boxing around classmates. While it’s somewhat expected, you want to make sure it’s something you tone down.

As Doomsday Howard explains in his trip to Black Diamond MMA, it’s not about how quick and fast you throw your punches out. What good is speed if your form is screwy? The point of shadow boxing is being able to slow it down and focus on the holes in your standup game.

In the video, Howard shows a nice, fluid, controlled form. This allows him to feel the body weight shift, transitioning power into each punch and making sure he keeps his hands up. The building blocks of any good striker MUST BE DEVELOPED THROUGH SHADOW BOXING!

This form of training also acts as a fantastic cardio workout, and will also work certain muscle groups that aren’t normally touched on in traditional strength & conditioning training.

Using Shadow Boxing As A Training Tool

The above statement may seem obvious, but it goes deeper than what you see on the surface. While shadow boxing is used to perfect form, it can also be vital for the mental aspect of fighting.

When you’re in the ring or cage shadow boxing, you can put yourself in a position as if you were fighting. Moving around, ducking imaginary shots, slipping punches, etc., can help train your mind for the heat of battle so when these punches are being thrown at you, you’ll know how to move and defend yourself.

Shadow boxing is as much about discipline as it is technique. Being able to achieve two goals with one training method is as good as they get.

So what’s stopping you, go find yourself a mirror and work on your technique!

Dan Faggella

Dan Faggella is a national BJJ competitor and owner of MMA gym Black Diamond Mixed Martial Arts in Wakefield, RI

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