Mixed Martial Arts - MMA

MMA Laura Howarth submits her opponent via Rear-naked Choke (2012)

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Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, Karate, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai

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MMA

Summary

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) emerged as a contemporary, legal sport that makes use of various martial art techniques and combating skills. The origins of MMA can be traced back to the time of Ancient Greek Olympics. As the world re-discovered the essence of martial arts in self-defense, MMA and other martial arts have been widely accepted as a form of entertainment as well. Today, MMA matches are organized around the world, and the fights are widely accepted by different cultures – especially in the US.

History / Origins

ETYMOLOGY

The term “Mixed Martial Art” is a derivative of the collocated words martial + arts. “Martial” originated from the Latin word “martialis” meaning war or warlike movements. The word “art” bears the meaning of expression or application of a skill, ability, and talent. Therefore, the term “Mixed Martial Art” means a combined expression or unified use of war skills and warlike movements.

BEGINNINGS

MMA is not new in the martial art world. Believers and followers of MMA regard Ancient Greek Warriors as its founders. Ancient Greece held something similar to today’s MMA matches as a part of the early Olympics, where competitors performed the sport “Pankration”, meaning “all powers.”

May it be western or eastern, each territory has a martial art to call its own. The reason why martial arts are often associated with Asian countries is because preserving history and art, including fighting forms and combat skills, is a part of the Asian culture. The westerners, on the other hand, came up with different, modern ways of fighting which include the use of firearms and weapons.

PRESENT DAY

The passing of time made the world re-discover the essence of martial arts, whether for self-defence or entertainment. The martial arts fame gave birth to the idea of mixed-style competitions. In 1920, Vale Tudo, a Brazilian mix of martial arts, sparked the locals’ interest. When Vale Tudo’s popularity grew, it became a famous attraction in carnivals and no Brazilian festival was complete without it. In 1993, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) founders brought MMA to the US. They organized underground mixed-style competitions and MMA enthusiasts intensely adapted the sport. It did not take a long time to for MMA to spread and become known around the globe.

Jeff Blatnick, a New Yorker and a Greco-Roman super heavyweight wrestler that later became a sports commentator, was given credit for giving Mixed Martial Arts its name. He worked with UFC and played a relevant role in making UFC recognized and regulated by athletic commissions.

In the beginning, MMA, received mixed reactions from different athletic institutions. Nevertheless, it eventually became a famous modern sport. MMA was named a legit sport with courtesy of Las Vegas based Zuffa LLC who took over the UFC company in 2001. UFC continues to be the biggest organizer of competitions among various MMA groups. UFC’s MMA is recognized by the majority of prestigious athletic institutions, such as the State Athletic Commissions in California, Nevada, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

FOLKLORE

Several stories are being told about the spread of MMA and no one can say with certainty which of these are just urban legends. There is a story that says the spread of MMA was a courtesy of Alexander the Great, who, as a part of the strategy of strengthening his army, was fond of recruiting soldiers and warriors outside of his territory. The recruited warriors spread what they had learned in the army to their respective countries, while troops of Alexander the Great incorporated the combating skills they learned from the recruits.

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Practices

PHILOSOPHY

Since MMA is a product of combined martial art skills, the sport has adapted the basic philosophy of all martial art practices: that warrior must learn from their attackers and take advantage of their opponents’ combative moves. It encourages MMA warriors to learn and adapt to the combating skills of the opponent in order to become a well-rounded fighter. But before one learns various martial art skills, MMA points out that a person must ideally initially perfect a particular martial art and later enhance it by combining it with other martial art techniques. MMA believes that knowledge of a mix of martial arts would give a warrior a beneficial position on the battleground.

TECHNIQUES

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TRAINING

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RANKS & GRADING

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WEIGHT CLASSES

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Rules / Rulesets

RULES / RULESETS
  • Weight Classes: Weight is always a significant factor in any battle. This is why the determination of the weight class of the competitors is always a crucial part of any rule sets of MMA. The nine weight classes of MMA are flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight and super heavyweight. These may differ slightly between organisations.
  • Use of small, open-fingered gloves: Since MMA encourages the use of the hands to strike and attack, it has become a rule to wear small, open-fingered gloves to support and protect the fist and prevent the occurrence of cuts and injuries.
  • Time limit: To conserve the strength of the competitors, a time limit has been set to avoid long fights that can drain energy.
  • Clothing: Male competitors of MMA are bare-chested during the match. In addition, most of the MMA organizers require their competitors to wear clingy short-length bottoms or shorts. For female matches, competitors are required to wear protective bras and clingy short-length bottoms or shorts. In both male and female competitors, the use of a mouth guard is strictly implemented in MMA matches. The use of groin protectors underneath the trunks is highly-recommended.
  • Strategies: As the name depicts, MMA matches uses different fighting techniques, and the ones that are mostly practiced by competitors include the following: Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, Karate, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai which all make use of strategies such as clinches, takedowns, throws, hand strikes, and kicks, just to name some.

Organisations & Historical Places

ORGANISATIONS

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HISTORICAL PLACES

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Popular Culture

POPULAR CULTURE

As MMA has become a popular contemporary sport, it is only natural that it has made its way to action-packed movies. In fact, there are films that focus its theme on MMA by projecting its importance and benefits together with the introduction of its techniques and forms. The Ranker proclaims The Warrior as a top MMA movie. Released in 2011, The Warrior is an American film that tells the story of a US Marine Tommy Riordan who returned home to his former boxer father. The father trained him different martial art techniques for a tournament. Later, Riordan found himself in the tournament pitting against his estranged brother.

Useful Links

USEFUL LINKS

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