Noun: extreme combat sport in which contestants are allowed to use wrestling and boxing techniques, but also those of martial arts such as kickboxing, judo and karate. Mixed martial arts (MMA) has its roots in 648 B. C. E., when the first mixed martial arts fight took place in Greece.
These fights were incredibly intense, often lasting for hours, and were fought in a small quadrangle, forcing hand-to-hand combat. Techniques used included blows, asphyxiation, elbows, knee pads, joint blocks and kicks. 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.
In 1993, MMA competition became popular in the United States with the arrival of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Since then, MMA has evolved from real combat situations to a more controlled sport to increase safety. It is now a full contact combat sport that allows for a wide variety of fighting techniques taken from traditional martial arts techniques, such as boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing, judo, jiu-jitsu and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The rules of mixed martial arts allow most striking and gripping techniques from standing positions.
However, some techniques are prohibited for safety reasons, such as blows to the groin and cuts to the eyes. MMA competitors cross-train in a variety of styles to counter their opponents' techniques. MMA is no longer practiced almost exclusively by competitive fighters; it has become accessible to a wider range of practitioners of all ages. Elite Training Center in Redondo Beach, California is an example of a martial arts studio that focuses on self-defense and physical conditioning for men and women of all ages and backgrounds.
The four principles taught at Elite Training Center are Respect, Honor, Discipline and Strength. Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) rose to international fame in the martial arts community in the early 1990s when BJJ expert Royce Gracie won the first, second and fourth Ultimate Fighting Championships. In Hong Kong's street fighting culture, a rooftop fighting scene emerged in the 1950s and 1960s where gangs from rival martial arts schools challenged each other to fight at armed hands on rooftops to avoid repressive measures by British colonial authorities. Taekwondo is another popular martial art that emerged in Korea in the 1950s as a mix between Japanese karate, traditional Korean martial arts and a bit of Chinese kung fu.
MMA schools often advertise their styles simply as mixed martial arts but training is often divided into different sections. Taekwondo is one example of a style that is taught separately from MMA but can be used when fighting. Music and dance are important components of this discipline. The basis of modern mixed martial arts in Japan can be found in several professional wrestling promotions in the shooting style such as UWF International and Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi which were both founded in 1991 and sought to create a combat-based style that combined wrestling, kickboxing and submissive grappling.
In 1997 regulated mixed martial arts competitions were first introduced in the United States by CV Productions Inc. During this period many fighters wanted to combine multiple styles and techniques and challenge traditional systems that were being developed at that time. At this meeting the NJSACB several other regulatory bodies numerous promoters of mixed martial arts events and other interested parties who attended agreed on proposed uniform rules.