Mixed Martial Arts is essentially an unarmed combat sport, often described as no-holds-barred combat sport. Also popularly known as MMA, this free style martial arts involves various fight forms – Muay Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Boxing, and Wrestling. Mixed Martial Arts is quite popular among martial arts fans who take it up for varied reasons – fitness, self-defense, fight tournaments, or as a fun activity.
The documented history of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competition is traced back to the ancient Greece. Back then it was known as Pankration. Similar to today’s MMA tournaments, the fighters in those days used a combination of wrestling and boxing techniques in the Pankration tournaments. However, it was in 1993, after the first Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), that the world took notice of this sport. It is closely associated with the Gracie family (the creators of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) as MMA tournaments are quite similar to the Vale tudo martial arts tournaments held in Brazil by the family in the 1920s. Not just that, the winner of the first UFC was Royce Gracie of the Gracie family. The sport is largely developed in Brazil, the US, and Japan as compared to other nations.
Striking and grappling are the two predominant techniques that are combined in Mixed Martial Arts that are borrowed from the martial art sports of America, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, England, Holland, France, and Russia. Unlike other martial arts sports, rules were not standardized and the sole aim was to locate the best fighter in the world. However, the fighters must follow a few rules for safety as well as to go with the spirit of the sport. Biting, eye-gouging, fish-hooking, attack on the groin, use of abusive language, small joint manipulation, etc are considered unethical and illegal.
MMA athletes are generally categorized as groundfighters, wrestlers, or strikers. A groundfighter follows a strategy to force a fight to the ground seeking submission, while a wrestler focuses on takedown and a striker aims to win with a knockout. No matter what category they belong to, a comprehensive training is paramount in order to be a complete MMA athlete. Traditionally, the MMA fighters were trained in one or more of the martial art sport like Muay Thai Boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or any other. Nowadays, the students get trained specifically for MMA irrespective of their previous martial arts training, under the guidance of professional trainers.
There are a number of professional training schools all over United States, including in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. area that provide specialized training to be a refined MMA athlete.