Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full contact combat sport that allows a wide variety of fighting techniques, skills and styles, from a mixture of martial arts traditions and non-traditions (Karate, Kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wrestling, Boxing) to be used in competitions. The rules allow the use of striking and grappling techniques, both while standing and on the ground. Such competitions allow martial artists of different backgrounds to compete.

Most ‘traditional’ martial arts have a specific focus and these arts may be trained to improve in that area. Popular disciplines of each type include:
• Stand-up: Various forms of boxing, kickboxing/Muay Thai and forms of full contact karate are trained to improve footwork, elbowing, kicking, kneeing and punching.
• Clinch: Freestyle, Greco-Roman wrestling and Judo are trained to improve clinching, takedowns and throws, while Muay Thai is trained to improve the striking aspect of the clinch.
• Ground: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, shoot wrestling, catch wrestling, Judo are trained to improve ground control and position, as well as to achieve submission holds, and defend against them

The roots of mixed martial arts can be traced back to various mixed style contests that took place throughout Europe, Japan and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s. Modern MMA competition emerged in 1993 with the founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championships, although professional MMA events had been held in Japan by Shooto starting back in 1989. Originally organized with the intention of finding the most effective martial arts for real unarmed combat situations, competitors were pitted against one another with minimal rules for safety.

Later promoters adopted many additional rules aimed at increasing safety for competitors and to promote mainstream acceptance of the sport.