Mixed Martial Arts is a regulated full contact combat sport between two fighters trained in various martial arts forms. Mixed Martial Arts or MMA involves both stand up and ground fighting so it employs both striking and grappling techniques from a variety of different martial arts styles such as boxing, submission fighting, catch wrestling, jiu jitsu, judo, thai boxing, karate as well as others.
Mixed martial arts are extremely popular nowadays, but in actuality MMA has been around for a very long time. As a matter of fact, mixed martial arts date back to the Greco-Roman era where the ancient martial art Penetration appeared in the Olympic Games. Many historians agree that the mixed martial arts of ancient Greece and very similar to the mixed martial arts of modern day. However, mixed martial arts of today are considered to be one of the most regulated and controlled sports in the world.
Mixed Martial Arts in the United States
It wasn't until 1993 when mixed martial arts were first introduced to the United States through the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a mixed martial arts promotional company. The UFC showcased various mixed martial arts athletes fighting each other without weight classes and very few few rules, by boxing standards it was a bloodsport where just about "anything goes". In 1995 United States Senator John McCain called mixed martial arts "human cockfighting," and demanded that MMA be regulated by an athletic commission. Senator McCain's destain for mixed martial arts was well known after his remark, “MMA appeals to the lowest common denominator in our society."
Mixed martial arts "no holds barred" reference would eventually come to an end with the implementation of specific safety rules and regulations. Despite resistance from politicians and safety regulations, mixed martial arts quickly grew in popularity around the world. Mixed martial arts is now big business! It is now estimated that mixed martial arts events are shown in over 130 countries worldwide. While there are other mixed martial arts promotional companies, non have achieved the incredible success of the UFC.
Mixed Martial Arts Popularity
Mixed martial arts appear everywhere. For example, mixed martial arts events and personalities appear in just about every magazine such as GQ, Newsweek, Time, Playboy as well as smaller publications like Black Belt Magazine (for a complete list of mixed martial arts magazines, see my list below). Mixed martial arts also frequently appear in television shows, xbox games and movies. Mixed martial arts have their reality TV shows such as Tapout, The Ultimate Fighter and Caged that focus exclusively on the life of mixed martial arts personalities. Mixed martial arts also have their own unique workout gear and clothing line such as Tapout, Bad Boy MMA, Affliction, Cage Fighter and Xtreme Couture. For better or worse, it seems like mixed martial arts has taken over the world.
The Father of Mixed Martial Arts
The concept of mixed martial arts is really nothing new to many members of the martial arts community. As a matter of fact, Bruce Lee was one of the first martial artist to stylistically integrating various martial arts into his Jeet Kune Do concept. Essentially, Jeet Kune Do was a mixed martial arts blueprint for adopting what is useful in a style and rejecting what is useless. According to Lee, "The best fighter is someone who can adapt to any style, to be formless, to adopt an individual's own style and not following the system of styles." It's no surprise that Bruce Lee is considered by many to be the "father of mixed martial arts".
Mixed Martial Arts Styles
Mixed Martial Arts has a variety of different martial art styles integrated to the sport. MMA includes both stand up (striking) and grappling (ground fighting ) martial art styles. Some include:
- Western Boxing
- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
- Shoot Fighting
- Muay Thai Boxing
- Western Wrestling
- Catch Wrestling
- Russian Sambo
Mixed Martial Arts Workouts
Mixed Martial Arts workouts vary as much as the schools and coaches that teach it. Here is a list of just a few MMA workout designed to build speed, power, strength and endurance:
- heavy bag training
- speed bag work
- punching mitt drills
- double end bag training
- rope skipping
- ground and pound dummy training
- kettle bell training
- weight training
- body conditioning drills and exercises
- body weight exercises (push ups, pull ups, chin ups,etc)
- controlled clinch drills
- ground fighting sparring
- medicine ball training
- resistance band training
- elevation mask training
Mixed Martial Arts Training Equipment
Mixed Martial arts also requires a considerable amount of training equipment. Here are just a few items used in MMA training:
- heavy bag
- grappling dummy
- punching mitts
- double end bag
- MMA sparring gloves
- head gear for sparring
- shin guards
- elbow and knee pads
- ear guard (prevent cauliflower ears)
- floor mats for wrestling and ground fighting
- jump rope
- running shoes
- mirror for shadow fighting
- striking shields
- medicine ball
- interval timer or stopwatch
- MMA ring or boxing ring
Mixed Martial Arts Gear
When you actually participate in a mixed martial arts event, you are required to wear the following items:
- mixed martial art gloves (4 oz.)
- hand wraps
- mouth guards
- mixed martial art shorts
- groin protector "athletic cup"
Mixed Martial Arts Kicking Techniques
Here is a brief list of kicking techniques used in mixed martial arts.
- Muay Thai kick
- Soccer kick
- Front kick
- Side kick
- Round kick
- Jump kick
- Flying knee strike
Mixed Martial Arts Punching Techniques
Here is a brief list of punching techniques used in mixed martial arts.
- Straight right
- Left and right hooks
- Upper cuts
- Overhand right
- Superman punch
Mixed Martial Arts Clinch Techniques
Here is a brief list of clinch techniques used in mixed martial arts.
- Horizontal elbows
- Vertical elbows
- Knee strikes
Techniques Prohibited in Mixed Martial Arts
The following techniques are just a few techniques that are prohibited in mixed martial arts competition and training. All of them are considered fouls.
- Head butting
- Eye gouging
- Eye raking or any attack to the eyes
- Hair pulling
- Spitting at the opponent
- Fish hooking
- Attacking the groin
- Strikes to the back of the head
- Striking the spine
- Attacking or grabbing the trachea
- Breaking fingers or toes
- Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh
- Kicking, kneeing or stomping a grounded opponent
Mixed Martial Arts Terminology
Mixed Martial arts has its own set of lexicon, here are just a few common MMA terms.
- no holds barred
- rear naked choke or RNC
- arm bar
- submission hold
- back control
- knock out or KO
- technical knock out
- tap out
- flattening out
- ground and pound
- lay and pray
- guard position
- open guard position
- closed guard position
- half guard position
- butterfly guard
- rubber guard
- full mount position
- inside mount position
- rear mount
- leg lock
- body slam
- single leg take down
- double leg take down
- hip throw
Mixed Martial Arts Weight Divisions
For reasons or safety and fairness mixed martial arts are divided into the following weight divisions.
MMA Flyweight - 125 pounds and under
MMA Bantamweight - over 125 to 135 pounds
MMA Featherweight - over 135 to 145 pounds
MMA Lightweight - over 145 to 155 pounds
MMA Welterweight - over 155 to 170 pounds
MMA Middleweight - over 170 to 185 pounds
MMA Light Heavyweight - over 185 to 205 pounds
MMA Heavyweight - over 205 to 265 pounds
MMA Super Heavyweight - over 265 pounds
Mixed Martial Arts Magazine Publications
- BJJ Legends Magazine
- Fight Magazine
- Fighters Magazine UK
- Fighters Only Magazine
- Fight Fit Magazine
- Fight Zone Magazine
- Full Contact Fighter Magazine
- Gracie Magazine
- MMAR Reader
- MMA Sports Magazine
- MMA Worldwide Magazine
- Real Fighter Magazine
- Tapout Magazine (mixed martial arts)
- Tatame Magazine
- Ultimate Grappling Magazine
- Ultimate MMA Magazine
Mixed Martial Arts Promotional Companies
- Ultimate Fighting Championship UFC
- Supreme Warrior Championship
- King of the Cage
- World Fighting Alliance
- Rumble on the Rock
- TKO Major League MMA
- International Fighting Championships
- World Championship Fighting
Mixed Martial Arts and Reality Based Self Defense
When MMA spectators and fans see the effectiveness of mixed martial arts in the ring they instantly assume it's the ideal form of self defense for the street. To the uninitiated, this may seem like an obvious and logical supposition, but in reality it's wrong and can get you into a lot of trouble when faced with a street fight or any other reality based self defense situation. The truth is mixed martial arts are created and designed exclusively for sport competition and not self defense scenarios. I actually wrote a tongue-in-cheek article illustrating the drastic differences between mixed martial arts competition and reality based self defense. (see, sammy franco's open challenge.)
Mixed Martial Arts Work Under The Following Conditions
In order for mixed martial arts to effectively work in a reality based self defense situation, the following conditions must be present:
- The self defense altercation must be a one on one confrontation.
- Your opponent cannot use weapons.
- Your opponent must follow safety rules (no biting, spitting, groin strikes, finger breaks, head butts, throat crushing, etc)
- Your opponent must be in the same weight class as you.
- Your opponent must be drug free (alcohol, PCP, cocaine must not be present during the confrontation).
- Your opponent must allow you to "tap out" or submit if you are going to get serious injured or choked out.
- Your opponent must give you a 1 minute rest period so you can regroup and get advice from your coach.
- Your opponent must fight you in a safe and controlled environment such as a boxing ring or octagon cage.
- Your opponent must not try to maim, disfigure or kill you.
I hope you get my point. The truth is mixed martial arts have numerous technical and tactical deficiencies for real world self defense applications. To avoid beating a dead horse and being redundant I won't list them here but you can read my submission fighting article and see exactly what I am talking about. Don't get me wrong, I have a tremendous amount of respect for mixed martial arts fighters. They are some of the best conditioned athletes in the world and their sport requires a tremendous amount of discipline and hard work. But the truth is, surviving a criminal assault in the streets requires a completely different form of training and mind set. The bottom line is, mixed martial arts will never be reality based self defense!
Founder & President
Contemporary Fighting Arts