When most people think of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), their minds immediately go to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). UFC fights are, in reality, the face of MMA as it currently stands, however, there is much more to MMA fights than a full-contact sparring competition. MMA is, in reality, a very integrated Martial Art utilizing various styles from throughout the world. Though many MMA fighters may have a specialty or a primary fighting style (i.e. boxing, Karate, or other “striking” styles, vs. Judo, Jiu Jitsu, and other “grappling” styles), most fighters have extensive training in a variety of modalities.
MMA sparring is different than many styles as it is often full-contact sparring. A match can end either by reaching time or by knock-out (KO). In the past, there were very few rules and regulations. Fights were, in essence, a no-holds-barred brawl with little order or oversight. Recently, the sport has become much more controlled, and subsequently, much safer.
In the modern practice of MMA, instructors will pair you with people of a similar age and rank, and you will train at your own pace. When you go to an MMA class, you can expect to train in different styles of martial arts, and have a fantastic workout. Mixed Martial Arts matches can last up to five minutes, and are usually exhausting, so you can expect to spend a lot of time conditioning and transforming your body.
Though Mixed Martial Arts as it currently stands is relatively new, throughout history, there have been examples of people integrating the best parts of various styles (as far back as the 648 B.C. Olympics, and the no-holds-barred fights of the 1880’s). There have also been examples of people from varying styles throughout the world fighting one another, such as when Antonio Inoki fought Muhammad Ali in Japan in 1976.
The original idea behind Mixed Martial Arts fighting was to determine which style was the most effective. As mentioned before, MMA started as a no-holds-barred type of fight with few rules, few regulations, and therefore, many injuries. This caused the government to get involved in 1990. Led by Senator John McCain, they fought to illegalize fights, which they characterized as “human cockfights.”
When the UFC arrived in the United States as a pay-per-view event, things changed and the sport rapidly grew in popularity. The first fight happened on November 11, 1993 in Denver, Colorado, and it took off from there. It was in 1993 that Howard Rosenberg coined the term MMA in his review of the UFC fights, and the name stuck.
In 1997, after more opposition from the government and a number of fighter injuries, additional rules were added to make this enjoyable and increasingly popular sport safer. These rules, as well as the integration of different styles of Martial Arts have made Mixed Martial Arts into what it is today.
When you attend an MMA class, you need not worry that you will immediately be paired with an experienced fighter going full-contact. MMA Instruction should be challenging, yet fun, and your instructor should understand that you are a beginner. Having all been beginners, instructors will be there to guide, challenge, and encourage you, but they also will understand that you are just starting out. You will likely be paired with a partner of a similar skill level, where you can learn together. Your instructors should move at a pace that you are comfortable with and help you to grow and learn the basics. Expect to sweat a lot, have fun, and learn from a number of different styles of Martial Arts.
Though many people who practice MMA compete on different levels, competitions are completely optional. If you choose to compete, you can expect your instructors to help prepare you for it both in your conditioning and in your fighting, but there is no requirement. Many people choose to train in MMA for the exercise and experience. Regardless of your reason for training in MMA, your instructors should be sensitive to your desires and work to help you achieve your goals.
Mixed Martial Arts is like any other contact sport. There is always some risk of injury. That being said, your safety is of utmost importance to your MMA instructors and they will do everything they can to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable time. Though less gear is required in MMA than in other styles, you can expect to at least wear gloves, a mouthpiece, and a protective cup (for men). Remember, you can move at your own pace. Your instructors will push you and encourage you, but they will also respect your boundaries.
Most MMA schools do have programs for kids, though the emphasis may be different for the different age groups. It would be beneficial to talk with the instructor at the school you are interested in about their kids program, what they emphasize, and how to get your child enrolled. Don’t worry though. Regardless of the school, your child’s safety is paramount, and instruction will be age-appropriate for your child.
In short, Mixed Martial Arts is a fitness based, combat oriented Martial Arts that can become a positive part of yours and your child’s life. If you are looking for a fantastic workout, a practice/combat based martial art, and an integrated Martial Arts education where you can learn from a number of different styles, you can’t go wrong with a Mixed Martial Arts school.
MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is a fast-paced and action-packed full contact combat sport that is as entertaining to watch, as it is to engage in. MMA training combines strength, stamina and speed training and equal measures of offensive and defensive techniques to equip athletes to give as good a beating as they take. In addition to being a greatly popular competitive sport, MMA has also taken gyms and studios across the United States by storm.
Because an MMA workout is so intense and combines all aspects of fitness, it is used practiced by many people who want to get into peak physical condition and to develop the body they’ve always dreamed of. But MMA is first and foremost a martial art and so it teaches students a suite of fighting techniques that are both offensive and defensive in nature. MMA fighting consists of a variety of striking and kicking techniques, as well as wrestling, joint locks and ground holds.
These techniques are indicative of the original goal behind the development and regulation of MMA, which was to have a highly effective form of martial arts that could be used in real-life situations involving unarmed combat. Nowadays, the competitive sport of MMA is heavily regulated by the UFC and has strict rules that need to be adhered to for the safety of the fighters. Outside of the competitive arena, however, Mixed Martial Arts is an exceptionally rigorous, fun and entertaining form of exercise, fitness and self-defense.
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