Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)What are Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)?

Mixed Martial Arts, also known as MMA, is a full contact combat sport where fighters use a combination of martial arts styles to achieve a submission, knock-out, or technical knock-out against an opponent.

Made popular in the 1990s by the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) in the United States and Pride Fighting Championships in Japan, MMA has grown in popularity and now garners audiences rivaling those of Professional Wrestling and Boxing.

History of MMA

MMAs history dates back to ancient times with the very similar Greek Pankration and Roman Pancratium fighting competitions.  Fast forward to the 1800s, where many Boxers, Wrestlers and Jujitsu artists welcomed any and all fighting styles to compete in “no-holds barred” and “catch-wrestling” matches in Europe and North America and in Vale Tudo matches in Brazil.  Similar matches were also popular in Japan and the Pacific Rim.

These early Mixed Martial Arts matches evolved into two main streams as the last century progressed.  One stream, Show Wrestling, evolved into the Professional Wrestling we see today which is theatrical in nature with outcomes pre-determined.  The other stream kept the matches real with no pre-determined outcomes.  

The real stream organized itself into Shooto fighting in Japan in the 1980s, sharing similar rules to today’s UFC.  Also in Japan in the early 1990s, a stand-up striking MMA organization sprang up known as K-1.  

In 1993 the UFC began organizing matches in the U.S. and then in 1997 Pride Fighting Championships began organizing similar matches in Japan.    

Originally, MMA matches pitted different martial art styles in competition to see which one was superior.  As fighters trained to defend against successful styles, they also began to use those styles in their own repertoires.  

As a result, today's MMA fighters mix many styles into their training regimes.  Some of the more popular are:  Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Freestyle and Roman Greco-Wrestling, Boxing, Kickboxing, Judo, Sambo, and Full-Contact Karate.

Philosophy of MMA

Mixing various traditional and non-traditional combat styles and arts makes it difficult to ascribe any one philosophy in the practice of MMA. For example, can a philosophy of supple, circular grappling overcome a philosophy of hard linear striking?  The answers are often surprising and always unpredictable.

Perhaps MMAs philosophy can be summarized as:  “The most effective is the most well-rounded and best prepared.”

MMA as Self-Defense

Combining different martial art and fighting styles with top-notch physical conditioning makes MMA a very effective tool for self-defense. In addition, Mixed Martial Artist's are experienced strikers and grapplers, a painful combination for any would be attacker.

MMA for Kids

Due to its emphasis on strikes, chokes and joint lock submissions in real sparring situations, MMA is not a very child-friendly martial art.  Check with the particular school to see if they have classes modified for children.

MMA for Adults

Practicing MMA requires cross-training both within martial arts and in general fitness workouts.  Expect workouts jammed with technical information as well as grueling cross-training regimes.  It is valuable to have a base martial art and have a good level of physical fitness prior to tackling MMA.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Associations & Resources:

Canadian Mixed Martial Arts
MMA Canada
MMA Fighting
MMA Weekly

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