Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a hybrid combat sport that combines boxing, wrestling, judo, jujitsu, karate, muay thai (Thai boxing) and other disciplines.
Mixed martial artsis a true test of skill and discipline that dates back to 648 B. C. E., when the first mixed martial arts fight took place.
These fights were held in a small quadrangle and could last for hours, with techniques such as blows, asphyxiation, elbows, knee pads, joint blocks and kicks being used. MMA fell into disrepair with the decline of Greek civilization until it was resurrected in the 20th century in Brazil in the 1920s when Brazilian jujitsu developed and the sport of mixed martial arts was reborn. It is believed that Greek mixed martial arts arrived in Asia where they became the catalyst for Asian martial arts. MMA consists of two main disciplines: stand-up and ground.
Stand-up includes kickboxing, Muay Thai, boxing, Kyokushin, Karate, Taekwondo, Sanshou and Sambo combat which are trained to improve foot blows. Ground includes Brazilian jiu-jitsu, sambo, submission wrestling, judo and other arts which are trained to improve ground control and the fighter's position as well as to use submission restraints to defend against them. Boxing is a very popular form of combat used in MMA. Most blows during foot fights are boxing punches and many boxing punches represent the most takedowns and knockouts in MMA competitions.
Many aspects of boxing such as kicks, combinations and blocking techniques such as slips are also used in MMA. Some fighters who use boxing in MMA include Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, B. J. Penn, Dan Hardy, Nick Diaz and Shane Carwin.
Muay Thai is also known as the “art of the eight limbs” since it uses the legs, knees, fists and elbows. It originated in Thailand and has been very effective in MMA. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gained most of its popularity in the early 1990s when its expert Royce Gracie won the second and fourth UFC against fighters who practiced other more important styles such as boxing, karate and taekwondo. Since then it has become a popular fighting style.
Karate is also known as Kyokusin and Full Contact and has been very effective in MMA. It has the basic foundations of kickboxing and hitting techniques. Some of the popular MMA fighters like Chuck Liddel and Bas Rutten practice karate styles. Taekwondo or TKD is widely used by some of the MMA fighters with Anderson Silva admitting that TKD had greatly influenced his style early in his career.
Since the late 1990s both strikers and wrestlers have been successful in MMA although it's rare to see a fighter who isn't trained in the arts of hitting and grappling reach the highest levels of competition. While mixed martial arts were initially practiced almost exclusively by competitive fighters this is no longer the case with rules adopted by NJSACB becoming the de facto standard set of rules for professional mixed martial arts throughout North America. Today mixed martial arts artists must cross-train in a variety of styles to counter their opponent's strengths and remain effective in all phases of combat. Most “traditional” martial arts have a specific focus which can be trained to improve that area while takedowns and positional control earn points in mixed martial arts contests so skills developed translate well into mixed martial arts.
The first professional mixed martial arts wrestling matches in Japan became popular among Antonio Inoki only in the 1970s while several fighters use this martial art when fighting although not entirely since music and dance are important components of the discipline. It has real world champions in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, mixed martial arts, boxing, wrestling and wrestling without Gi. The basis of modern mixed martial arts in Japan can be found in several professional wrestling promotions while Bruce Lee popularized combining elements of multiple martial arts through his Jeet Kune Do system in the late 1960s to early 1970s. All organizations comprised of FMMAP participate in training and promotion of MMA with a common goal for amateur sports coming from several martial arts including karate, kickboxing, Muay Thai, pankration Athlima, mixed martial arts, jeet kune do, free style martial arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Wrestling.