Mixed Martial Arts: A History

Mixed Martial Arts might seem like a sport that appeared out of nowhere during the last few decades, but MMA is actually a hybrid of the ancient Greco-Roman sport pankration, which was a combination of grappling and striking and part of the most ancient Olympic games.

Instances of fights similar to modern mixed martial arts continue to appear in historical records throughout Europe, particularly during the 1800s, where there are many recorded instances of no-holds-barred fights that incorporated many different styles of wresting, as well as boxing skills. Perhaps the first American MMA-style fight was a match between heavyweight boxing champion John L. Sullivan and his trainer, William Muldoon, who was a champion Greco-Roman wrestler. This 1887 battle ended with Muldoon throwing Sullivan to the mat in just two minutes.

As the sport progressed, there are records throughout the Pacific Rim, Asia and Europe of mixed-style fights. In Brazil, the Gracie family was hugely influential in the beginnings of vale tudo fighting, which included their own signature form of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. These vale tudo or “everything allowed” fights included Jiu Jitsu as well as many other styles of fighting.

Although many assume he was mainly a Kung Fu fighter, Bruce Lee is often hailed as the father of modern mixed martial arts. He created his own philosophy of Jeet Kune Do, which combined Kung Fu with many other fighting styles. He believed that a fighter should be able to use many styles of fighting, including kicking, punching, and grappling. This well-rounded fighting style has evolved into the style of mixed martial arts that we see today.

MMA gained a mainstream following in the early 1990s with the creation of Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC. UFC has become the largest MMA promotion company in the world, with many of the world’s top fighters on its roster. The group rose to prominence after the first UFC championship, when legendary fighter Royce Gracie defeated three other fighters in just five minutes. From there, interest in the sport grew exponentially, as well as concerns about the general lack of regulations within the sport. In 2000, the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts were created, which are used throughout the United States.

There are several other MMA organizations, aside from UFC. The most well-known is perhaps Strikeforce, which got its start as a kickboxing organization. Strikeforce began hosting MMA events and is notable for holding the record for the highest attended MMA fight in history, a record that stood for five years. A powerful counterpart to UFC, Strikeforce was purchased by the owners of UFC in 2011. Although some have concerns that the owners will merge the two, they have said that UFC and Strikeforce will be separate at least through 2012.

Categories MMA

What You Need To Know About Weight Cutting

weight-loss

From the time of a weigh-in to the moment the fight begins, you will often see many fighters go through a tremendous physical transformation. Within a 24 to 30-hour period, they can lose and gain as much as 10 pounds or more, which can be a huge advantage during the fight. While weight cutting is a typical part of many fighters’ game plans, it can be dangerous. Thoughtful, careful weight cutting can reduce the impact this process has on a fighter’s body.

The dangers of weight cutting include damage to the organ systems of the body, particularly the kidneys. In addition, severe weight cutting can increase the risk of injury.

“If you cut too much weight, you can tax the organs,” explains Jeff Clark, an MMA coach and manager at TheArenaMMA in San Diego, California. “The other main problem is that you can lose too much fluid around the brain. This can cause some trauma and make you more susceptible to knock outs.”

In general, it is smart to start thinking about weight cutting about four to six weeks prior to the fight. Your goal is to get as close to the weight limit as possible, to give yourself more space to bulk up after the weigh-in. This means that a fighter typically should be about 7 to 12 pounds higher than fight weight a week prior to the weigh-in date. The best way to get to this point is with a combination of heavy training and eating a healthy and balanced diet that is low in fat.

When you do reach that crucial 7-day mark, the more extreme side of weight cuts begins. One way many fighters begin is by drinking only distilled water. This throws off your body’s PH balance and allows you to quickly remove water from your system. The night before the weigh-in, cut all water and head to the sauna as this will help you quickly strip off the water weight.

After weigh-in, you will have maybe 30 hours at the most to put weight back on rapidly. The safest way to do this is to eat healthy foods, especially fruit and complex carbohydrates. As far as hydration goes, drink small and steady amounts of water, coconut water and electrolyte drinks such as Pedialyte.

3 Main MMA Fighting Styles: Striking, Jiu Jitsu, and Wrestling

3 Main MMA Styles

The value of being an MMA fighter is the diverse tool box of moves, styles, and ideologies you have at your disposal to dominate and defeat your opponent. When you watch a master fighter at his craft, he will blend different styles together seamlessly into one continuous and powerful movement, making it look effortless and unexpectedly graceful. Yet understanding the three main MMA fighting styles are the building blocks that every fighter needs to grasp completely in order to reach this level of artistry. Read on to learn more about striking, jiu jitsu, and wrestling to elevate your game and continue to reach for mastery of this incredible sport.

Striking

When it comes to striking, you really should watch Lyoto Machida versus Rashad Evans at UFC 98 to witness this style at its best. Machida’s precision and combinations reached a level of achievement that appeared so perfect as to be closer to something you would see in a video game, not in real life. Striking combines two goals during a fight: to wear your opponent down and to knock them out. The good news is that striking is fairly easy to integrate into your current technique because the stance and posture required are the ones that you come out of your corner with: head low, hands up, and feet shoulder width apart. The variety of jabs available to the striker, from the cross to the always dramatic uppercut, give you a wide range of choices to keep your opponent guessing and help you surprise him when he isn’t looking with a carefully placed fake. Striking is a must for all serious MMA fighters, and something we teach heavily in our Mixed Martial Arts San Diego classes.

Jiu Jitsu

Since the first Gracie stepped into the ring and whipped out their
unparalleled jiu jitsu technique, this fighting style has been a staple of all successful mixed martial artist’s playbook. Focusing on grappling and ground fighting, jiu jitsu techniques provide fail-proof ways to dominate and submit your opponent. From a variety of full control mounts to chokeholds, the skilled jiu jitsu fighter has a dangerous skill set at his disposal to claim victory over the largest and most intimidating opponent.

Wrestling

Just about every big name in MMA has a solid wrestling background. Why? Because the unique combination of throws, takedowns, mounts, pins, and clinches makes it a veritable Cliff’s Notes on how to earn a victory, by skill or by brute force. Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson, Rashad Evans, and Brandon Vera use wrestling as a cornerstone of their ground game, just to name a few. And of course, the man who built his MMA career on his wrestling skills, Matt Hughes, provides great examples of how integral wrestling is to a successful game strategy.

Yet while all of these styles individually have their strengths and benefits to a fighter’s game, overall success and victory only comes from integrating all three together to create a strategy that is multifaceted and technically strong. Truly great mixed martial artists, like Anderson Silva, prove time and time that the only way to ensure a fool-proof victory strategy and a reputation as a feared opponent is to be well rounded in all of these incredible fighting styles. Identify which you need to polish, and then use it to up your game and take it to the next level.

About The Arena

The Arena is the leading Gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction, offering one of the largest programs of its kind in the world. With over 150 weekly classes in 10 disciplines and specialized training for Amateur and Professional fighters, our programs are run by some of the top coaches on the planet in one of the best sports facilities in the USA.

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