Right from the start MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts meaning it’s not one fighting style only but a combination of different styles. The top fighters in the world use a combination of several fighting styles. They don’t rely on just one but are experts in many. Still, the debate rages on about the true definition of MMA and what exactly it entails.
There are some core styles that every fighter must master. These are the ones you must learn and apply while on the cage if you wish to identify as an MMA fighter. These styles are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, and Boxing. Creating a technique using these five styles will set you up to be a force to reckon with.
Understanding Martial Arts
We all have some clue of one or two martial arts even if we don’t have the full picture of what they entail. Martial arts are a wide variety used by people around the world to learn skill sets and some go further and turn them into full time professions. They are not new to this world and have been in existence around the world for hundreds of years.
In the olden days, soldiers and warriors employed martial arts not for sports but to prepare for battle. Today, however, we use them for fun, entertainment, fitness, and competitions. There are numerous titles being sort by professional fighters every single day.
Martial arts have grown in popularity that there is no age limit for them. You’ll find young boxers, teen wrestlers, and even older MMA fighters. For as long as training is available, all those interested can take part in martial arts. It’s an equal sport with no gender restrictions. There are numerous competitions available across the world for both genders.
Martial arts are grouped into two categories. Some focus on grappling and those that focus on striking. This makes it easier to categories them.
Grappling plays a significant role in some martial arts. It mainly involves taking down and opponent and overpowering them by pinning them to the ground and keeping them there until they accept defeat. The different martial arts that use grappling as part of their routine are MMA, Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Sambo.
In some martial arts you can use grappling together with weapons and striking, but in others this is not allowed. It’s best to learn which permit and which don’t. It all depends on which art attracts you the most.
Grappling is further divided into sweeps, escapes, turnovers, submissions holds, and clinch fighting. Using grappling in your fighting technique will depend on the type you choose. Grappling can be done on the ground or while standing up.
Striking involves getting hit directly by an opponent using punches, head butts and kicks. It’s used in different martial arts including boxing, MMA, Wing Chu, Taekwondo, Muay Thai to name a few. Striking is not limited to the three forms of attacks as some allow attack using knees, elbows, palms, shoulders, wrists, and even feet to ensure you make contact with your opponent.
There are certain set of rules which all martial arts fighters who use striking must adhere to. You must study these rules by heart if you wish to take part in competitions. There are supervisors always present to ensure they are followed to the letter. Rules help keep the match civil and organized otherwise it would be chaotic.
Striking is very prone to injury because of using sensitive parts of the body to drive a strike to your opponent. Even with proper protective gear, the risk of injury is still there and may be unavoidable.
Different MMA Fighting Styles
1. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
As earlier stated MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts. This means you must study several martial arts and combine them into a technique that you use while facing an opponent on the cage. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the best martial arts to have under your belt and apply as part of your MMA technique.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a form of combat sport that mainly focuses on submission with a lot of grappling involved. When grappling, opponents are normally on the ground trying to pin each other to submission. Whoever gives up first loses. While taking part in this martial art, your main focus is to get control over your opponent using chokes and locks to get them to submit you’ve overpowered them.
With the rising popularity of MMA worldwide, interest in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has also sky-rocketed with people of all ages taking part in it. More gyms are opening up to offer this martial art too. This martial art is all about overpowering your opponent and taking them down. This gives you room and leverage to dominate them.
There is no limit to who can take part in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for even young children are learning the art at an early age. It might be a combat sport but this doesn’t seem to deter them at all. This is mainly because it’s a gentler combat sport than others. It’s only about subduing your opponent meaning anyone of any sex and age can take part in it.
The main part of this martial art is to know how best to take down your opponent and keep them pinned down. You must be swift in your technique too. You’ll learn to use your mind together with your strength in this martial art. You get to sharpen your mind in the process.
With the growing popularity, more people are involved in it as a way to keep fit. You may be looking for something new to do besides normal gym routines. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a great way to work out a sweat and learn some great self-defense techniques in the process. You get to use part of your body that may not apply in normal gym routines meaning you get a full body workout in the process.
Use of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in MMA
MMA entails a mixture of martial arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one that you need to master. With the skills you learn in this martial art, it becomes easier to get the upper hand over your opponent. Many coaches will ensure their pupils take part in regular Jiu-Jitsu training because they understand its importance in a real match.
Grappling is part of MMA and it’s a huge portion of Jiu-Jitsu hence the importance of learning this martial art. If you harbor dreams of fighting among the best, part of your training must involve learning this art.
Part of it is learning to control your opponent by using your mind. BJJ involves spotting opportunities where you can easily take down your opponent and keep them pinned down until they submit. This means your mind has to be sharp and alert throughout the training session or competition.
Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu safe?
Compared to other martial arts, it’s one of the safest and hence why it’s referred to the gentler one. It has one of the lowest injury rates in the world of combat sports. It mainly involves grappling and some striking. Only on rare occasions will you hear cases of serious injuries especially affecting the head in this martial art.
The main injuries that occur involve bruised joints, tearing of the ACL, rotator cuff, and herniation of the spinal disc. These are not permanent and can be rectified by undergoing surgery.
Because BJJ mainly involves being down on the ground, many fighters get serious carpet bruising which affects their skin. If the mats are not properly cleaned, they can cause these wounds to get infected in the process. This leads to skin diseases like impetigo, staph infection, and even ringworms. Another common injury is to the ears due to the chock hold which can easily damage your ears.
Wrestling is one of the most popular martial art and is known by almost all people in the world. This is in large part due to televised professional wrestling programs that have been around for decades. Long before it became a household name enjoyed as entertainment by the masses, wrestling was used by warriors to prepare for battle. It’s been in existence for centuries.
The principles and techniques you learn in wrestling will make part of a very effective technique in MMA. MMA has made wrestling even more popular than it was before with its rising popularity. Any trainer who understands MMA will insist you add wrestling to your training routine.
Some argue that wrestling is one of the most important martial arts to learn. It plays an integral part in any MMA fight. Study your favorite UFC fighters and see how much they rely on wrestling as part of their cage technique. Wrestling teaches you the basics of fighting. When you know how to wrestle well, you have a great advantage over your opponent who may not have equal training.
MMA requires you take down your opponent as fast as possible. To be a skilled fighter you need the fastest transition rate from a standing position to the ground. This is best taught through wrestling.
There are three types of wrestling which are Folkstyle, Freestyle, and Greco-Roman wrestling. To learn the best take down moves, focus more on Folkstyle and freestyle wrestling. Many wrestlers have found it easy to transition into MMA fighters and are dominating the martial art.
Using Wrestling in MMA
Wrestling involves learning how to cut angles against your opponent for easier take down. While they stand up straight, this may be difficult to achieve. Learn how to best control your hands because using your hand you can get advantage over your opponent easily and bring them to a submissive stance on the ground.
Wrestling calls for a certain level of hand control which is how you get leverage over your opponent. Use your hands to get them down and keep them there until they concede defeat. In MMA, the importance of hand control cannot be emphasized enough when it comes to taking your opponent down and submissions too.
For a fighter who has good training in wrestling or is transitioning from being a professional wrestler to MMA, grappling is their secret weapon. Wrestling involves putting each other in similar positions as in grappling. However, it’s important to note that unlike BJJ which involves gentler grappling, the same cannot be said about wrestling. It’s more aggressive.
Wrestling Safety Concerns
Wrestling is a more aggressive martial art and numerous safety concerns are surrounding it. Getting injured while wrestling is an inevitable occurrence, therefore, it’s best to be mentally prepared for that eventuality.
This martial art has injuries like nose bleeds, carpet burns, cauliflower ears, bruises, and scrapes that occur frequently. Others like concussions and broken bones are more serious and may land you in the emergency room.
There are taekwondo fighters who have recently transitioned into MMA fighters. Taekwondo is a martial art that can trace its roots from Korea. The name translates to ‘the way of foot and fist’. This martial art involves mainly striking using fists and kicks. You have to be standing up throughout the match or training session as there is no submission or grappling involved.
It calls for striking using your fists, elbows, and knees to overpower your opponent. Taekwondo calls for excellent footwork on the ring together with stances too and you get better the more you spar with a partner. This martial art will help you get more flexible and use parts of your body you may not have used before.
There is a special uniform any taekwondo trainee must don before they get started. It’s normally while in color with a belt to tie it at the front. It’s called a dobok.
There are different techniques applied here which are created in short sets. They include attacks by hand, kicking, blocking, and patterns. Fighters use hand attacks in replacement of kicks to strike each other at close range. You must learn how to deliver a combination of strikes to your opponent as fast as possible.
Taekwondo in MMA
The main focus of this sport is to ensure you get as many strikes in to your opponent as possible while defending effectively against their retaliatory strikes too. You must be very alert on the ring which works to sharpen your mind and focus too. A sharp and focused mind will benefit you immensely in an MMA cage fight.
You can strike using several surfaces of your hand. These include the thumbs, fingertips, elbow, palm, fist, knuckles, nails, and wrist.
Kicking in taekwondo is delivered in the form of jumps, spins, jump-spins, or a spin kick involving multiple rotations. There are numerous kicks for you to learn in this martial art. They are front kick, side kick, back kick, roundhouse kick, hook kick, reverse side kick, axe kick, fly kick, spin kicks, jump kicks, and monkey kicks.
Blocking is very crucial because you must defend yourself from an attack by your opponent. Blocking involves using your hands and there are different types which depend on the part you use. They are single forearm block, rising block, low block, knife hand block, palm block, double forearm block, double knife hand block, upper block, and nine block.
MMA requires you have excellent kicking techniques as this is allowed. You have to know the most efficient way to throw a kick to get an advantage over your opponent. This martial art has grown in popularity too thanks to MMA and has seen a growth in the number of people training in it. There are many taekwondo classes available for all ages and sexes across the world.
All these are very applicable and effective in your MMA fighting technique. Want to be the best in the world, join a taekwondo class.
Concerns on Safety
This martial art involves striking each other at full force inflicting pain to overpower the other. That means the risk for injury is high. Your body at the start of it will get much bruised and you can even have broken bones. It will take time to get conditioned to being hit regularly and at a fast rate.
4. Muay Thai
This martial art has also benefited to getting a global audience through MMA. Originally from Thailand, it’s now present in most parts of the world. This combat sport involves striking and submission. Muay Thai is not new and has been in existence for hundreds of years. It’s a very simplistic but efficient combat sports that calls for raw power while on the ring or cage.
Striking is an art form on this martial art. You must learn how to do it and do it well. The striking methods employed here have been refined for centuries and proven to be very effective. Be ready to be very sore and exhausted at the beginning before your body gets conditioned to then constant and fast striking.
Muay Thai is an effective way to learn excellent stand up fighting by using your hands, knees, elbows, and shins. These can be very effective weapons against an opponent. You’re able to kick, punch, and clinch your opponent all while standing up. It’s an easy yet challenging art to learn. It’s very simplistic but will require lots of training to master how to do it effectively.
You can easily use Muay Thai for self-defense. You learn how to block an opponent’s strike and can even be sharp enough to use their momentum against them. Many people who are involved in Muay Thai don’t all want to be professional fighters. Some just enjoy learning something new and others use it for their fitness goals.
A good Muay Thai routine will give you one hell of a great workout. You get to remain fit and string due to the intense training involved. The training routine will see you work up a sweat and spurring will lead to a stronger body. Use it to burn calories in a different and more exiting way.
Muay Thai and MMA
There are certain techniques you’ll learn in Muay Thai that can be very beneficial in MMA. There are very few MMA fighters who are not versed in this martial art. It has to be part of your training and fighting technique. Study your favorite MMA fighters and you’ll realize part of their technique borrows heavily on Muay Thai. This means the two go hand in hand.
MMA calls for you to have good striking power. The best place to learn this is Muay Thai. This is because this martial art involves a wide variety of strikes that doesn’t involve the hands only. You get to use your elbows, knees, feet, and shins too. Watch an MMA fight and see how these strikes prove important to fighters trained in Muay Thai.
An MMA fighter with a Muay Thai background will throw better strikes than one without. They will also have a better stance which can give them an added advantage over their opponent.
Risks of Muay Thai
Getting injured in Muay Thai like in many other combat sports is an eventuality. You simply cannot venture into this world and believe at one point you won’t be nursing an injury. If getting injured is your concern, this is not the sport for you.
The kicks that come flying your way are bound to cause damage as they make contact with your body. This is why getting the correct protective gear is important and insisted on. Still, this doesn’t accord you 100% protection. Even when sparring the risk of injury is imminent. The best thing is to learn the technique as best as possible to reduce chances of injury.
MMA is truly a combination of different martial arts. It has widely contributed to the growth and popularity of all the different martial arts mentioned in this article. As a beginner, find a way of incorporating them into your technique. You may decide to take beginner classes in one or two on top of your MMA training too. It takes time to master even one so don’t be in a hurry. It’s even more ideal to get started at a much younger age.