New York Jets Have Strong Ties to the Sport of Mixed Martial Arts: Fan's View

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On the football field - especially when it comes to offensive and defensive linemen - balance, coordination, lateral movement, fast hands and aggression are some of the many MMA skills that come in handy in high-pressure situations.

When you think about it, there's a lot of hand-to-hand action on the football field, and mixed martial arts provides the perfect disciplines to earn the advantage when it comes to winning the small battles within the war.

"We try to make their hands faster and try to increase their reaction time, said MMA instructor Alan Teo, a Renzo Gracie black belt. "We try to make them football fighters, rather than just football players."

In an Inside MMA video, Kyle Wilson said that he immediately saw the results of the MMA training regimen. "There's a lot of hand-to-hand action out there," the 24-year-old cornerback noted. "When the receivers try to block you, they're trying to get their hands on you. You have to try to get past those big lineman who are trying to get their hands on you."

He added "Anything where someone is trying to get at you and block you, trying to get after the ball carrier, quarterback or whatever, [MMA training] teaches you ways to handle that."

It's a lot more than just teaching athletes how to punch and strike, as it's more about techniques and movements for balance and creating leverage against their opponents when they're battling for position on the line.

With so much recent success the Jets have had from utilizing this program, I can only wonder why more teams don't engage in offseason MMA training regimens.

While a select few NFL athletes go out of their way to train in the sport, with the likes of Clay Matthews, Jared Allen, Shawne Merriman and Marcedes Lewis leading the pack, I don't know of any teams besides the Jets that use MMA training as a whole.

With Rex Ryan, a noted MMA aficionado, at the helm, it's no surprise that the team integrates mixed martial arts training into their offseason routines.

Ryan, who famously "flipped the bird" to Miami Dolphins fans during an appearance at a mixed martial arts event in 2010, is just one of the many Jets who have strong MMA affiliations.

Tim Tebow tweeted UFC heavyweight contender Brendan Schaub multiple times following UFC 145, and Antonio Cromartie was spotted training in MMA in 2009 with fellow NFL stars Dwight Freeney and Terrell Suggs.

Did MMA training improve the New York Jets? Let me know in the comments.

Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Jets fan and supporter of the sport of mixed martial arts. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.

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