Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has grown by leaps and bounds since the early 1990s, and has arguably surpassed boxing as the most popular contact sport in the world today. Thanks to the popularity of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and other organizations, fighters like Royce Gracie, Frank Shamrock, Randy Couture, George St. Pierre, and Jon “Bones” Jones have become legends and household names.
As the name implies, MMA allows a variety of striking, clinching and grappling techniques from a vast array of martial arts and combat sports. You are allowed to fight standing up, or if you prefer, wrestle on the floor to seek a submission. Most champions are accomplished strikers and wrestlers, with boxing, Muay Thai (striking and clinching) and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (grappling) being the most popular fighting styles.
Why MMA is so Damn Exciting!
MMA professional fights offer enthusiasts up to twenty-five (25) minutes (five rounds of five minutes for championship fights) of action per bout. These finely-tuned athletes engage in a clash of fighting styles and strategies that severely test the skill and stamina of each combatant. In fact, it is the variety of techniques that force serious MMA athletes to be well rounded in basic techniques:
- Striking techniques: Kicking, kneeing, punching, elbows.
- Grappling techniques: clinch holds, pinning holds, submission holds, sweeps, takedowns and
Strategies like “ground and pound” and clinch fighting are popular for neutralizing opponents with a strong upright striking game. On the other hand, fighters who prefer boxing will employ “sprawl and brawl” tactics to avoid going to the ground.
The variety offered in MMA combat contrasts sharply with the predictability of classical boxing. Over the year, the excitement generated by top-flight competition has helped UFC in particular crack the sporting mainstream. Highly charged pay-per-view (PPV) events are popular in the U.S. and worldwide.
MMA for Fitness.
Given that competitive boxers and martial artists from individual combat sports must achieve the highest level of fitness possible, it ‘s not surprising that a mixed martial artist must take physical training an even higher level.
MMA’s basic workout model also applies for regular folks who just want to get into shape, although at a less intense level. You must first establish a strong core and conditioning base, which will permit you to attack more specialized training:
- Speed Training.
- Explosive Power Training.
- Strength Workouts.
- Stamina Workouts.
A typical MMA circuit of 30 minutes or less may include specialized squats, dumbbell punches and elbows, simulated boxing and punching with resistance cords (e.g. TRX), and roundhouse kicks for your “active” rest periods.
Another option can be a 15-minute circuit with three or four exercises (e.g. 30 seconds maximum effort followed by 30 seconds of rest). Twisting medicine ball slams, plyometric push-ups, and rowing machine work are popular exercises for meeting your fitness goals.
MMA for Self-Defense.
MMA is excellent for self-defense, because it gives you many options for getting out of bad situations quickly. However, non-professionals should not suffer any illusions. The rules of the octagon do not apply to the bad streets of America and elsewhere. Therefore, do not confront troublemakers or get yourself isolated in bad neighborhoods. The sad reality of life is that there are a lot of hardened criminals out there who will think nothing of maiming, crippling or even killing someone who looks at them the wrong way. Confrontation avoidance (prevention) is always the best policy.
In a worst-case scenario, where you are isolated by one or more thugs, awareness and the element of surprise are your best weapons. MMA provides a good technical base, so long as you practice actual combat and don’t mistake it for real street fighting.
MMA is the most exciting combat sport around. As an all-round combat sport, the training alone will raise your self-confidence, build a stronger, tougher physique; better posture, and equip you with strategies for escaping street attacks.