What is Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)?
MMA is an unarmed, full combat sport allowing techniques used by several other combat sports such as boxing and wrestling. Fighters may fight in a standing position as well as employ moves from a position on the floor. This sport finds its roots as far back as the ancient Olympics in the form of pankration -- similar to what we know as MMA today, albeit with less rules. During the 1900s a variety of mixed style competitions took place throughout Japan, Europe and the Pacific Rim. In the 1920s the Brazilians developed a combat sport called vale tudo. In 1993 the Gracie family brought this sport to the US and helped found the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Initially the vale tudo-style fights of the early UFCs were deemed too dangerous and new rules were implemented, resulting in the safer and more regulated form of MMA we know today. Originally these competitions were held to ascertain what type of martial arts would be best used in real life unarmed combat situations, but very few rules applied. Fighters then started employing their own unique martial arts styles while promoters added new rules to increase safety for the competitors, while at the same time rendering it more acceptable as a mainstream sport. In 1995 the CEO and president of Battlecade, Rick Blume, coined the name Mixed Martial Arts.
"Traditional" martial arts have particular focus points and training is done to improve these areas. Popular disciplines of these specific types include:
Stand-up: Different forms of Boxing, Kick-Boxing, Karate, Muay Thai, Savate and Taekwondo are trained to improve kneeing, kicking, punching, elbowing and footwork.
Clinch: To improve clinching, takedowns and throws Greco-Roman wrestling, Judo and Sambo are trained. To improve the striking aspect of the clinch Muay Thai is trained.
Ground: To advance one's skills in ground control and position, and to achieve submission holds and defend against them Submission Wrestling, Shoot Wrestling, Catch Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Sambo and Judo are trained.
Some styles, such as boxing stances, have been altered from their original form due to less effective counters to leg kicks. Other styles that have been adapted include the Muay Thai stance because of its poor defence against takedowns due to its static nature, and Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that needed to be altered for No Gi competitions.
What's interesting About Mixed Martial Arts is that fighters often train with multiple coaches who teach different styles. They also commonly train with organized fight teams to improve various aspects of their game simultaneously. Speed drills, strength training, flexibility training and cardiovascular conditioning are all part of a fighter's training. Some schools advertise their styles simply as "mixed martial arts" -- a style in itself, but training often divides into several different sections.
MMA has become a more mainstream sport. It is no longer practiced almost exclusively by competitive fighters. It is widely taught and has become accessible to people of all ages. If you're interested in finding out About Mixed Martial Arts remember it does not matter how fit or skilled you are, anyone can do it.ls of competitiveness and fitness.