MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) stands for Mixed Martial Arts and it is the world’s fastest growing sport. It is a full contact combat sport that incorporates techniques from different martial arts disciplines like boxing, wrestling, judo, karate, jiu-jitsu and muay thai. These fighting styles are used to attack and control an opponent in a stand up or grappling style fight, with the goal of putting them in a position where they cannot continue to fight. This is done by using joint locks or chokes to submit them. MMA is a highly physical sport and requires a high level of fitness from its athletes, but it is possible for fighters to get hurt even when they have the best preparation.
Until recently MMA was a relatively obscure sport but it gained widespread popularity after the debut of the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993. The UFC pitted a variety of martial artists with different styles against each other, it was a hit with audiences and has since evolved into a huge multi-billion dollar industry. The popularity of the sport has led to incremental rule changes and governing improvements to make it safer for its athletes and more acceptable for spectators. These rules have managed to strike a happy medium that prioritizes the safety of its fighters and doesn’t take away from the electric thrill of full-contact combat.
In a MMA fight, competitors compete in a ring or fenced area and wear padded gloves that allow the movement of fingers but protects them against injury. The competitors are not allowed to use shoes and must wear protective headgear. During a match the referee will stop the fight if one of the fighters becomes severely injured, a doctor is called in and he/she will analyse the injury to see whether it is safe for the fighter to continue.
It is not uncommon for a fighter to be unable to continue if they have a broken bone, a serious eye injury or a large gash or cut. A doctor may also call a fighter off if they are suffering from an illness like the flu or have sustained an injury to the brain that prevents them from continuing to fight.
When it comes to learning MMA basics, students should start with the fundamental strikes and basic grappling techniques. The basic punches include the hook, jab and straight and students should work on these before advancing to more complicated techniques. Students should also practice sparring with fellow MMA enthusiasts. Sparring is intended to be fun, not a form of torture but some schools have tended to prioritise what looks good on camera over what actually works in a real fight.
There are many different martial art styles that are used in MMA but the top ranked fighters tend to use combinations of Boxing and Wrestling skills. Jiu jitsu is a crucial component of the MMA game as it teaches you how to take your opponent down and control them from the bottom.