Beyond UFC: Other Major Players In MMA

For some, the UFC is synonymous with mixed martial arts, and there are probably people out there who think UFC is the only organization sanctioning MMA bouts. UFC certainly dominates the world of MMA, but it’s not the only or even the oldest MMA organization in the world. Here is a look at some other organizations in the MMA world.

Shooto, which is based in Japan, predates the UFC by several years. This organization focuses mainly on shoot wrestling, which includes elements of freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling as well as karate, kickboxing, Judo, Muay Thai and even Sambo making it a true mixed martial art. Shoot was founded in 1985 and while not immensely popular in the United States, there are competitions throughout the Pacific Rim, Europe and South America.

The Japanese have an abundance of martial arts and mixed martial arts organizations, and another popular group that predates UFC is Pancrase. Founded just about six weeks before UFC, Pancrase has featured a myriad of notable fighters from the MMA world, including Ken Shamrock and Frank Shamrock, Nate Marquardt, Bas Rutten and the current King of Pancrase, Josh Barnett. The name Pancrase was taken from the ancient sport of Pankration, which was a no-holds barred style of fighting that was part of the ancient Olympics.

King of the Cage has been around since 1999 and is still going strong. This California-based organization includes 10 men’s division as well as a division for women’s junior flyweight. Several KOTC competitors were featured on the reality series “Bully Beatdown,” which aired on MTV. Among the notable fighters of KOTC was Joe Camacho, who won the Junior Welterweight Championship in 2008. Camacho died recently of a heart attack at the age of 41.

Bellator MMA is another player in the world of MMA, founded in 2008 by Bjorn Rebney. Bellator is the Latin word for “warrior,” and while this organization hasn’t been around for long, they have definitely made their presence felt. Fighters such as Alexander Shlemenko, Cole Konrad and Pat Curran have been Bellator champions.

Women’s MMA has come a long way the past few years, and Invicta Fighting Championships is dedicated to sanctioning only women’s bouts. With stars such as Cristiane Justino, the sport’s No. 2 ranked female fighter, Invicta FC definitely has made its presence known. That’s not to say there haven’t been some big setbacks. Founding co-partner Janet Martin recently left the company and it wasn’t a particularly happy split. Dana White, who finally has realized the potential of women’s MMA, opened up a strawweight division in UFC and grabbed 11 of Invicta’s top fighters. Still, it’s a sign that women are here to stay in MMA.

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Pivotal Moments In MMA History

Cris "Cyborg" Santos

While it might seem like mixed martial arts has long been popular, the truth of the matter is that MMA has only been around since the early 1990s and for many years struggled to gain popularity. There are many pivotal moments in the history of the sport, such as UFC 1, which was held in 1993. Since that time, there have been many landmark moments and the following are just the tip of the iceberg.

Clearly UFC 1, back in 1993, was a pivotal event in mixed martial art history, but while it is noteworthy, viewership was low. About 86,000 buys were recorded for this live event which was broadcast via pay-per-view. It took more than 15 years to garner more than one million pay-per-view buys, and this momentous goal was reached at 2008’s UFC 91, which featured a great bout between Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar.

John McCain once referred to MMA as “human cockfighting,” but MMA is not simply an expansion of a grisly Tyler Durden dream. There are real rules to the sport and all legitimate MMA organizations have always implemented at least a few rules. The United Rules of Mixed Martials Arts govern the sport and not only set up a structure for bouts, but also help to protect fighters from injuries. While it’s true that these rules were not official throughout the country until 2009, state athletic commissions and MMA organizations did have rules, and while some might prefer a huge free-for-all in the cage, rules attach legitimacy to a sport and adopting these rules has only helped the sport progress.

While it took quite a bit of time to build an audience for MMA, a few TV shows helped make the sport more successful and mainstream. Spike TV began airing episodes of The Ultimate Fighter in 2005 and viewers soon became hooked, and not just the ones that already were following MMA. It helped that the first two coaches were highly popular veterans of the sport – Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture.

The introduction of women into the sport has been a slow process, and while women have competed for organizations such as Strikeforce and Bellator for several years, it took UFC much longer to get with the program and allow sanctioned MMA events for women. The 2009 Strikeforce bout between Gina Carano and Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (now Justino) not only proved that people were interested in watching women fight, but that the ladies were great fighters.

It took Dana White and the UFC 30 years to include women on the fight card, but when they finally did, it was in a big way. During UFC 157 in February, 2013, Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche went head to head during the main fight of the night, which had a total gate of more than $1.3 million. Since then, Rousey has brought in some other big gates in her fights, with perhaps the largest grossing fight expected if and when Rousey finally meets Cyborg.

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The Emergence Of Women In MMA

There have always been women in mixed martial arts, but for many years, most MMA organizations did not sanction fights between female athletes. It took Dana White and the UFC 20 years to sanction a women’s MMA bout, and if you do a search for women in MMA, you’ll see the focus is still mainly on how the fighters look rather than on their skills and ability. Recently, female MMA fighters have made some important strides and have proven that they are as fierce as the men.

Clearly, the two recent women’s bouts in the UFC have been key moments in the history of women’s mixed martial arts. The first bout at UFC 157 was the main event of the night, a bout between Liz Carmouche and Ronda Rousey. At UFC 168, the women were still on the main card, although Rousey and opponent Meisha Tate were set as the fight prior to the big event of the night, the rematch between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman. Of course, there probably aren’t any fighters in mixed martial arts today who wouldn’t have come in second to that bout.

The formation of Invicta Fighting Championships also has been an important milestone for women in MMA. This organization, unlike most other MMA organizations, offers five different divisions. Most organizations only feature one or two divisions for women. Invicta has gotten off to a bit of a shaky start with some management problems and the lost of the top run of its strawweight division to the UFC, but hopefully, this organization will be here for many more years, offering a variety of options for fighters and encouraging young women to think about MMA.

There are few people on this earth who dislike each other more than Ronda Rousey and Meisha Tate. This is no doubt why Dana White decided to choose them as the coaches for season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter. Whatever the reason and whatever drama exists between these two fighters, this was a milestone because it was the first time that women were chosen as the coaches of this show.

It’s not just in mixed martial arts where the women are gaining steam. Other specific martial arts have seen a boom in the number of women heading to martial arts gyms and competing. Muay Thai, for example, has become quite popular for women, and the fights are drawing a lot of interest. One of the country’s top organizations for Muay Thai, Lion Fight, set a bout between Tiffany Van Soest and opponent Caley Reece as the headliners for an event early in 2014. Van Soest is considered to be on the nation’s best Muay Thai kickboxers, regardless of gender.

Not surprisingly, there are many women enjoying success in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as well. This is fundamental part of mixed martial arts, and BJJ and Judo are two martial arts where many MMA fighters first learn their skills. There are many notable female BJJ fighters, such as Leticia Ribeiro who is currently a five-time World Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion and has more than a dozen championships in general. Young girls and teens watching women such as Ribeiro, Rousey, Tate and Van Soest can envision a future for themselves either in martial arts or mixed martial arts.

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Entering The World Of MMA: Tips For The Beginner

If you want to learn mixed martial arts, but you have little or no experience with any type of martial art, joining an MMA gym in San Diego might make you nervous. Beginners often think they shouldn’t join an MMA gym until they are already in great shape and are experienced with at least one martial art. This is definitely not the case, as an MMA gym can be the perfect place to learn a wide variety of skills as well as the essential piece of the puzzle, which is learning how to mix up these skills and fight successfully.


If you want to become a successful MMA fighter or just proficient in MMA skills, you will have to take a variety of skills classes. You also need to take classes in conditioning and strength training. If you’ve never done any type of training, you might start out by opting for San Diego Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes and perhaps boxing classes, as these are two skill sets that can be very valuable to possess. Learning how to choke or lock an opponent and throw a good punch definitely can be a huge asset. From there, try out Judo classes in San Diego and Muay Thai to provide you with a full arsenal of weapons for the ring. A good MMA gym will have a flat rate for unlimited classes, which is just another reason why it’s better to head to an MMA gym rather than a facility that teaches just one martial art.


You don’t need a ton of gear when you are just starting out, but a jock strap and cup are certainly essential and it wouldn’t hurt to invest in a mouth piece. You don’t necessarily need any special clothing, although a rash guard is generally a good idea as it prevents chafing and mat burns. Generally, you can borrow gear from the gym, but eventually, as your skills progress, you will want to buy some more gear, such as boxing gloves, MMA gloves and possibly some shin guards.


When researching MMA gyms look for gyms with highly qualified instructors and ask about taking a free class. Good MMA gyms will give you one free training pass, so that you can look around, take a class and see if this looks like a good fit for your needs. Make note of how instructors interact with students. Obviously MMA athletes are tough, but if you are beginner, you want instructors that push you and still have some level of patience with your lack of skills.


An MMA gym, however, isn’t a glossy fitness club with a juice bar and shiny electronic exercise machines. It is a facility filled with men and women who are serious about their mixed marital arts training. If you want to get into shape, a fitness center is probably a better fit for you. MMA is more than a way to get fit, it’s truly a way to live and these athletes are serious about health, fitness and learning enough to become a successful fighter. Martial arts are all about discipline, control and finding that inner strength, and that’s what you should get from an MMA gym.


Beginners are welcome to sign up at The Arena, and the instructors are specialists in helping beginning athletes move from the early stages and prepare them for actual sparring and fighting. Whether your goal is to simply get into the best physical condition possible or you want to consider taking part in amateur or pro fights, The Arena can prepare you. The instructors only ask that all of the members work at a high level and keep up with the training. This means not only are you expected to improve your physical condition, you also need to hone fight skills, and the instructors at this San Diego MMA gym can help.


If you are looking to improve your MMA skills, we invite you to visit us. The Arena is the leading Gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction. We are considered one of the best Muay Thai gyms in San Diego, as well as having the top Judo and boxing classes available. Sign up for your free membership trial today!

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Great Gifts For People Who Love MMA

If your significant other, friend or family member loves everything about MMA, from watching fights live or on TV to actually training in MMA, then this should make it easier for you to select holiday gifts. After all, an MMA-themed gift is sure to make your loved one happy and you should always give people a gift that is suited to their interests.

Many MMA fans also belong to MMA gyms or perhaps train at a boxing club or perhaps take Jiu-Jitsu classes or some other type of marital art. For these people, give the gift of some high-quality gear. You could fill a sturdy gym bag with a rash guard, fight shorts and a towel. You also could opt for bag gloves, sparring gloves or fight gloves, depending on what your person needs. If you aren’t sure, you could give them a gift card to a quality sporting goods store.

For many MMA fans, watching fights is not enough, so it might be nice to give your loved one a subscription to a fight magazine and there are many options. Ultimate MMA, MMA Sports Magazine and Fight Magazine are just three choices crammed with information about athletes, fights and even tips for training. Several MMA magazines also have digital versions as well as print. There are plenty of great books to consider, from books about training to biographies. Your recipient probably would enjoy a book by or about MMA greats such as Randy Couture or perhaps a book about the famous Gracie Family or even a book by Bruce Lee.

Of course, if you can’t watch a fight on TV, you can always watch a movie about martial arts or mixed martial arts. For big MMA fans, perhaps the best movie choice would be “Warrior.” This movie, which stars Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte, offers plenty of good fight scenes, but is also a great movie overall and on many MMA fans’ Top Ten list. A few other choices include Jean-Claude Van Damme’s classic “Bloodsport,” and “Fight Club” is another good option that has long been popular. Bruce Lee’s pivotal “Enter the Dragon,” is always a favorite and Bruce Lee also starred as Kato on TV’s “The Green Hornet,” during the mid 1960s. This series can be purchased and would be a great gift for someone who loves martial arts and comics.

If you are searching for a gift suitable for a kid who enjoys the world of MMA, consider purchasing a giant wall decal of their favorite UFC fighter. There are life-size decals of Jose Aldo, Jon Jones, Wanderlei Silva, Anderson Silva, Rampage Jackson and many more fighters. There are even UFC action figures featuring some of the world’s best known MMA greats, including BJ Penn, Georges St. Pierre and quite a few more.

Tickets to a fight are another good gift idea. UFC, King of the Cage and Bellator host fights throughout the year at many venues around the United States. If you can’t score a ticket to one of these events, there are many smaller local fight organizations that are fun to attend where you can watch some great up-and-coming fighters duel in the cage. If your friend or spouse is a fan of a particular type of marital art, such as Judo or Muay Thai, consider purchasing a ticket to an event specific to that art. Virtually every mid-size to large city offers a variety of fight event options for you to consider.

Categories MMA

Different Types Of Wrestling

Love wrestling in San Diego? Wrestling is one of the world’s most ancient combat sports and was one of the sports in the ancient Olympic Games. Recently, wrestling was unceremoniously eliminated from the modern Summer Olympics. A huge outcry followed this decision and after months of protest, the sport was reinstated. This popular sport comes in a variety of forms and styles.


There are many kinds of wrestling, but just a few are displayed at the Olympics, including Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling. At first glance, the two look similar, but there are actually some very important differences. Freestyle wrestlers, for instance, are allowed to takedown a foe using their legs and they are also can hold and grab opponents below their waist. Neither of those moves, however, is allowed in the realm of Greco-Roman wrestling.


Another difference is that freestylers can throw an opponent down and then apply some type of hold, but Greco Roman wrestlers must stay in contact with their opponent during the takedown and then place their opponent in a hold. If they fail to do this, the hold will not count. While it would be wrong to say that freestyle wrestling is easier than Greco-Roman, freestyle wrestlers do tend to have more options available to them while Greco-Roman wrestlers tend to rely more on upper body force and strength.


When the modern Olympic Games came into existence in the 1890s, all of the ancient sports were included in the new games with the exception of pankration. This sport, which combines elements of wrestling and boxing, is quite similar in many ways to today’s mixed martial arts. Those practicing this combat sport could grapple, punch, kick, strike, throw an opponent down, employ chokeholds and just about anything they wanted in order to overwhelm an opponent. Only biting, nail scratches and eye gouges were not allowed. While it is not part of the modern games, pankration is recognized by FILA, the main governing body for all forms of wrestling.


Another type of wrestling that has many similarities to MMA is FILA grappling, although in this combat sport, striking is not allowed. Elements of wrestling, sambo, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu and American folk wrestling are all seen in FILA grappling, which has two categories, No-Gi or Gi, depending on what the fighters wear. The emphasis on grappling stresses the importance of strong groundwork skills and fighters spend a great deal of their time perfecting submission holds, such as chokes and joint locks.


These are just a few of the many forms of wrestling you can find all over the globe. There are few countries or cultures that do not have their own form of wrestling. In the Soviet Union, sambo was created and has continued to gain in popularity. This sport contains elements of Judo as well as wrestling. If you live in the nation of Turkey, you probably are quite familiar with grease wrestling, which is just about what it sounds like. Wrestlers coat themselves with olive oil and try to gain a hold of one another. While baseball might be the national pastime in America, in Turkey, it’s grease wrestling.


If you are looking to improve your wrestling skills, we invite you to visit us. The Arena is the leading Gym in North America for Combat Sports and Martial Arts instruction. We are considered as having some of the best MMA training in San Diego, as well as having the top boxing, kickboxing and Muay Thai classes available. Sign up for your free membership trial today!

Understanding Crossfit

Every few years, a new system of exercise is developed and becomes popular. These days the latest fitness option is known as CrossFit, and although it’s been around since 2000, it has become exponentially popular in the last four or five years. Today, there are more than 6,000 gyms with CrossFit programs, and it is still one of the fastest growing exercise programs in the world.

There are several reasons why CrossFit has become so popular in the last decade. One reason is that the CrossFit system is highly intense, but relatively short in length. So you get a great workout in about 30-60 minutes or perhaps even less. This makes it very simple to fit a good and intense workout into your schedule several times during the week. Let’s face it, these days finding time for fitness can be difficult, and CrossFit aims to make the process easier. In addition, CrossFit stresses total body workouts and includes not only aerobic exercises but also body weight techniques and weight lifting.

Another reason why CrossFit is popular is that workouts are varied, which tends to increase interest in the workout program. The higher your interest, the better chance you have of sticking to a program and seeing the maximum results. The goal of CrossFit is to improve fitness in 10 key areas. These areas include improving cardiovascular and respiratory fitness, as well as increase stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. In order to accomplish these tasks, a wide variety of exercises are taught and incorporated into each day’s CrossFit routine.

To achieve optimum fitness in these specific categories, your daily workout will include the CrossFit combination of weight training, body weight movements and cardio activities. The cardio portion gets your heart pumping with intense exercises such as rowing and jumping rope. Body weight activities use the body as a weight or as resistance and will include everything from sit-ups to box jumps to lunges and rope climbs. Weight training is just as diverse, using tires, kettlebells and traditional barbells in many ways.

There are even CrossFit games, competitions that have been held beginning in 2007. During the first year, winners were awarded just $500, but now the prize money has increased to $275,000, so this is definitely a serious contest. There are competitions for both men and women and in several different age categories. There is a general category for individuals younger than 40 and Masters categories for those older than 40 all the way up to 60 and older.

It’s always a good idea to spend some time talking to your doctor prior to beginning any new fitness program. CrossFit is effective, but demanding, so make sure your body is up to the challenge before you sign up for any program.

Classes That Help MMA Fighters Build Strength

Obviously, if you want to become an MMA fighter or train in mixed martial arts, you realize this takes a great deal of commitment and hard work. You also know that you need to take a variety of classes in order to become a well-rounded fighter. In addition to taking Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes, Muay Thai classes, Judo classes or other classes that teach a specific martial art, there are some other classes you should consider adding to your training regime.

Many people tend to overlook boxing when they plan out their training, and this is a big mistake. Boxers train hard, boxers are tough and boxers learn some highly important skills that you can use in an MMA fight. While Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing are certainly helpful skill sets, learning how to throw a solid punch is huge and this is part of boxing. You also learn how to avoid punches and even how to take a punch with as little impact as possible. Boxing training also will improve your coordination and also your footwork, which helps you move around in the cage and set the pace of a fight.

Wrestling has been around for thousands of years, and this is because as a form of defense, it works well. Wrestlers have that brute strength needed to engage an opponent ,and wrestling skills form a good base for all your other skills. Once you have learned some solid wrestling skills, these easily can be intermingled with boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If you can wrestle, punch and grapple, you will be a fairly well-rounded fighter. Imagine a fight where you utilize a Jiu-Jitsu takedown, use wrestling skills to overwhelm your opponent and then pommel your foe with solid punches. Add a chokehold or arm bar and you will have him tapping out or unconscious in no time at all.

Going face to face with an opponent not only takes a lot of skill, it takes a lot of power and endurance. So you need to be looking into conditioning classes and strength training classes, which often are combined into a single class. This will increase your muscle strength and core strength through weight training and cardiovascular exercise. Select a San Diego mixed martial arts gym that offers these classes and many other types of classes all for one single monthly cost. That way, you can take a little bit of everything without breaking the bank.

Another important type of training is just simply known as MMA training or an MMA class. It is in this type of class, that you learn how to put all your skills together and face an opponent. Your trainers will match you up with opponents based on your ability levels, so don’t worry if you are a beginner to MMA. Experience is the best teacher, so the more MMA classes you take, the better you will be.

In recent years, there also have been some fitness training classes developed that can be of great use to someone training in MMA. The Arena in San Diego, for example, has designed a program that they call FightBuilt. These are strengthening and conditioning classes designed especially to accommodate the physical challenges that MMA fighters face. CrossFit is another popular fitness program to look at, and this program was created to improve a person’s overall fitness in ten different areas, from cardiovascular strength to flexibility to overall power.

The World’s Best Muay Thai Fighters

Along with martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo, the combat sport of Muay Thai is an essential training component for anyone wanting to become a mixed martial arts fighter. However, on its own, this is a popular sport worldwide, especially in Thailand where the sport developed over the centuries. It was an excellent form of combat using eight specific areas of the body to attack and defend. These eight points are the elbows and knees, as well as the hands or fists and the feet. There have been many excellent Muay Thai practitioners throughout the year including the following.

Nai Khanomtom, while not a modern fighter, deserves a mention because his story is the stuff of legends. Khanomtom was captured by the King of Burma in the late 18th century and ordered to fight the Burmese’s top champion boxer. Using his Muay Thai skills, Khanomtom quickly overcame his opponent. Disbelieving of this feat, the king ordered Khanomtom to fight nine more champions and he handily defeated all of them. As a reward, he received his freedom and a few wives as well. His accomplishment is celebrated each year in Thailand on March 17, which is called either Boxer’s Day or Muay Boran Day, in deference to the earliest form of the sport.

Heading into more modern times, one should consider the accomplishments of Apidej Sit-Hirun who held seven Muay Thai titles at one time and was a highly prominent fighter during the 1960s. His kicks were so powerful that he once broke both of the arms of an opponent during a bout and ended his opponent’s career. The current King of Thailand named him as the Fighter of the Century, and after he retired, he became one of the sport’s top instructors.

In Thailand, winning a bout at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium is like winning a gold medal, the UFC heavyweight championship and about five other championships all rolled into one. This stadium is absolutely the symbol of the sport of Muay Thai, and to win here once is a huge accomplishment. Of course, if you are Samart Payakaroon, winning once wasn’t enough. He was the champion at Lumpinee Stadium in not one, but four different weight classes. Overall, his career included 150 professional bouts, and only 19 of these were losses. Oh, he’s also a famous singer in Thailand and an actor with more than a half-dozen movies to his credit.

If Lumpinee is Madison Square Garden, the Rajadamnern Stadium is its twin brother. A win at either of these prominent Muay Thai stadiums is akin to winning a major bout in the UFC. Jomhod Kiatadisak has won at both of these arenas and in two different weight classes; he’s also been crowned victor 14 times at the WBC Muay Thai Championships. With more than 300 fights in all, Kiatadisak the “King of the Ring,” has lost only 24 of them, which is impressive all by itself.

There are many more examples of amazing Muay Thai fighters, and there are certainly some great MMA fighters who are highly skilled in Muay Thai. One of the best is Anderson Silva, who holds the equivalent of a black belt in Muay Thai, along with his many other black belts in Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Tae Kwon Do. Fabricio Werdum and Cristiane Santos are a few other notable MMA fighters with strong Muay Thai skills.

Judo: A Brief History

In mixed martial arts, there are many ancient sports that athletes study in order to become better fighters. These include Greco-Roman wrestling skills and boxing, both of which date back centuries. Judo, however, is quite important to MMA, but was only developed in the later part of the 19th century. You will find it similar to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in many ways, and that’s not hard to understand, since BJJ actually developed out of the world of Kodokan Judo.

In Judo, the main objective is to find a way to knock your opponent to the ground and then use a lock or a choke in order to gain an advantage. Judo students do learn striking, however, throwing techniques and grappling skills are far more important. In fact, striking is not a part of either sparring practice or allowable in competitions. In the century or so since Judo was developed, there have been many figures important to the sport.

Obviously, Jigoro Kano deserves the first mention as he founded the art, which became the first martial art included in the Olympic Games. Kano, much like Helio Gracie, was a bit of an underdog. Small and physically weak, he turned to jiujitsu to increase his strength. Eventually, he added wrestling techniques and techniques from other martial arts that he found to be effective, and out of many arts, a new one was born.

Like many who have sought out the teachings of Judo, Mitsuyo Maeda was not a particularly strong or large man, but he wanted to get stronger and he wanted a solid set of defensive skills. Taught by Jigoro Kano, he did so well that he was sent to other countries to spread the martial art. While visiting Brazil, he met Carlos Gracie, who was quite impressed with Judo and became a student. Eventually, Gracie opened his own school and with the help of brother Helio, the martial art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was developed. Maeda was an impressive fighter and earned a 7th dan black belt from the Kodokan Institute.

Maeda’s primary teacher was Tomita Tsunejiro, and he certainly has earned his place in the world of Judo’s Greats. Tsunejiro was one of the very first students of Judo, trained by Kano Jigoro himself. Tsunejiro also was the first student to earn a black belt and is also considered to be one of the Four Guardians of Judo.

Aside from boxing and wrestling, Judo was the first true martial art to be a part of the Olympic Games, and it was displayed as early as 1932 and became an official part of the summer games in 1964. The first gold medalist in the sport was not from Japan, but The Netherlands. Anton Geesink was the first Judo gold medalist, and although he eventually earned the rank of a 10th dan black belt from the International Judo Federation, this rank was unrecognized by the Kodokan Institute, which has awarded very few 10th dan black belts and none to anyone outside of Japan.

Because Judo is so effective as a way to overcome an opponent no matter what their size, it is very useful for mixed martial arts. There are several Judo experts in the world of MMA, such as Yoshihiro Akiyama and Anderson Silva. Ronda Rousey has used Judo effectively to win each of her professional MMA fights, and she won the bronze medal in Judo at the Olympic Games of 2008.

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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