Have you ever watched a mixed martial arts bout? There are plenty of mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts on television, but in some countries, most of them are on Pay-Per-View (PPV). MMA is a very violent and hard-hitting sport in which almost anything goes. Most of the fights in America are organized by the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
MMA began about 2,000 years ago when it was a sport in the early Olympic Games. It passed out of the games for some unknown reason, but it discovered a resurgence in Europe in the late Nineteenth Century.
Again, it passed out, but returned with the Kings of the Square Ring in which Muhammad Ali took part in about 1980.
Again, MMA, which it was not known as then, waned. In those earlier matches, the idea was to find out which was the best martial art, so they would put a boxer against a wrestler or a boxer against a student of karate. In the early 1990’s, the emphasis shifted to finding out who was the best combatant, not which was the best discipline.
Fighters were allowed to use any methods they knew. ‘Vale Todo’ (‘Everything Goes’) from Brazil was important in this expansion. In fact, many if not most of the contemporary MMA fighters have trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The Gracie family from Brazil was (and still is) central to MMA.
In the Nineties, there were no rules to speak of and everything went. Astonishingly, this appeared to hamper MMA’s rise in popularity, because as more rules were added to (slightly) limit the brutality, so MMA has boomed.
MMA is still very aggressive and brutal and fractured limbs are not uncommon. Fortunately, the death rate in the ring is far below that of some other martial arts like boxing, in which fighters focus more on the head than the body.
In contemporary Mixed martial arts, a fighter is permitted to use his or her body as a weapon according to any discipline they have learned. Most top fighters have studied three of four and are still learning more.
The most popular starting point seems to be Brazilian jiu jitsu, followed by boxing, wrestling, Thai boxing, karate, judo and aikido.
Because there are so many martial arts techniques, it means that no two fighters are likely to have the same approach. This has the potential to make MMA more interesting than say, boxing, because MMA includes boxing, but boxing is merely boxing.
Wrestling damaged the image of TV fights with its silly, choreographed dances known as bouts. It did not fool many fans and it was more of a joke than a serious sport. MMA is categorically not the same.
It is not scripted, although a branch of scripted MMA might come about, who knows? The sport is still in its experimental days, despite having such ancient origins. Maybe it will even be a sport in the Olympic Games again.
Owen Jones, the writer of this piece, writes on a variety of subjects, but is now concerned with Mixed Martial Arts Training Gyms. If you would like to know more, please go to our website at Mixed Martial Arts Quotes