Without a doubt, mixed martial arts (MMA) is one of the most popular combat sports in the modern area. It’s not just the excitement of the fight, it’s also the fact that it is really useful in real life and – today – very much available all around the world. A lot of children look up to their idols in the octagon and want to become like them. Just a decade or two ago – that wasn’t possible. Today, luckily, it is. This is why we have decided to dedicate today’s article to the basics of MMA so that you can see what you can expect from the sport. Keep reading to find out more!
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What is MMA?
Mixed martial arts originated as mixed combat sports in Ancient China and Ancient Greece. The Chinese combat sport of Leitai is one of the first mixed combat sports and utilized elements of different kung fu styles, boxing and wrestling.
In Ancient Greece, such an example can be found in the art of pankration, a very specific martial art that combined boxing – which was very popular in Ancient Greece – and wrestling – which probably originated in Mesopotamia or Ancient Egypt.
Pankration was extremely popular (even the most popular sport, according to some historian) in Ancient Greece and there is vague evidence that similar mixed combat sports were practiced in Ancient Japan, Egypt and India.
Different hybrid martial arts developed as centuries passed, but despite a large number of historical influences, modern MMA is considered to stem from Brazilian jiujitsu and vale tudo; the latter is yet another full-contact hybrid combat sport that originated in Brazil. Vale tudo events date back from the 1920s.
MMA events continued to develop as decades passed until 1993, when the first official global MMA event – the UFC 1 – was held in Denver, Colorado. This is the official “birth year” of MMA and one of the most important events in the evolution of mixed and hybrid combat sports. UFC 1 was televised and it was in a review by critic Howard Rosenberg that the term “mixed martial arts” appeared for the first time.
What does the training look like?
MMA training builds you from outside as well as inside. You will gain confidence, a lot of it, just make sure to use it the right way, and not to look for a fight around every corner.
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MMA training sessions have a lot of benefits. One of the biggest benefits of MMA training is a significant increase in strength. This is due to the different styles and techniques that are associated with MMA training and require full bodywork.
Strong fitness training is also included in MMA training. By gradually increasing endurance, your heart, lungs, and other body systems will be at much higher levels. With MMA training, your level of overall fitness will drastically improve.
MMA fighters are perhaps the most trained athletes of today. Students are taught to be persistent and never give up, which significantly reflects on their persistence in everyday life. After an MMA training session, you will feel satisfaction in other segments of life. Many participants felt drastic improvements not only physically but also psychologically.
Is it hard to learn? Do I need prior experience?
Since MMA is a composite combat sport, we cannot state that it is or it isn’t difficult per se. Namely, MMA is a combination of several martial arts that are utilized as a single unit. So, the difficulty of MMA depends on the difficulty of the practiced martial arts. The only thing you have to do is combine them for use in an MMA fight, which is not that easy, but is easier if you already have a martial arts background.
As far as your prior experience is concerned, it is not necessary, but it is certainly a plus. Since, as we’ve said, MMA is a composite sport that utilizes a lot of techniques from various martial arts, it is certainly better and easier for you if you have some prior experience in those martial arts. Why? Well, it’s simple – you’ll advance quicker since you don’t have to learn the basics. But, as we’ve also said, it’s not a prerequisite since you’ll learn what you need to learn along the way.
The benefits of MMA training
Now that we’ve seen how the basic elements of the MMA training function, let us answer some questions on its usefulness in certain fields.
Is it good for strength, cardio and weight loss?
MMA definitely is good for all three elements. Unlike some other martial arts, who focus more on one element or the other, MMA gives you a complete package that focuses on all elements – strength, cardio and weight loss. Due to the fact MMA is really demanding and physically straining, it is a good cardio exercise and we all know that cardio exercises are good for losing weight, but it will also increase your strength, which is an essential element for MMA fights.
Is it good for self-defense?
The simplest answer is – yes, it certainly is. How? Although it combines a lot of martial arts, MMA doesn’t use the sophisticated teachings of some Oriental martial arts, which are highly focused on self-defense and learning how to defend yourself in a variety of different situations.
On the other hand, people who have experience with MMA training sessions state that it’s the best possible discipline for self-defense. Why? It’s complex, it’s diversified and it teaches you a lot.
Certainly, MMA is a regulated sport and the cage fights aren’t completely identical to street fights, i.e. real-life fights you might be a part of in an unavoidable situation, but they teach you a lot. The combination of different styles can be extremely beneficial for your defense.
It is exactly what the critics say is wrong with MMA, but many practitioners say that this diversity is the best thing about MMA’s self-defense techniques.
Of course, MMA’s self-defense isn’t your standard self-defense you can see in Oriental martial arts, but is rather an offense-based self-defense style; sometimes, the offense is truly the best possible defense.
If you are interested in the best martial arts for self-defense, check our article on the link cause we have sorted 11 of them.
What age should you start MMA?
Since MMA promotors won’t sign anyone under the age of 18 and a career in MMA without one is practically useless (unless you really like to do it as a hobby), the best age to start your preparations would be around the age of 15, at least.
Adding to the above-mentioned facts that MMA demands some kind of background knowledge to advance quickly, it’s good to start training martial arts like Muay Thai or Brazilian jiu-jitsu at least 2-3 years before you’re 18, because it will give you enough time to start an MMA career.
Of course, it’s even better if you start earlier than that, but 2-3 years of experience should be a minimum for you.
Should I take it up first?
MMA is probably not the first martial art/combat sport you should take. It requires basic knowledge in at least a couple of other martial arts, so it’s not a good choice if you don’t have any experience at all. We’re not saying it’s impossible, but if you want our advice – MMA is something you should set as a goal, rather than as a beginning.
And that’s it for today, guys. We’ve covered all you need to know about MMA and its fundamentals, and we hope you’ll find our information useful. See you next time!