Boxing is a combat sport in which two people strike each other by throwing punches with their fists. The fists are protected with gloves. Boxing can be traced back to ancient times as far back as the third millennium BC in ancient Sumer, in modern day Iraq. It was first introduced to the Olympics in Ancient Greece in 688 BC. Many MMA fighters do some form of boxing training. MMA fighters that do boxing training will improve their fitness, stamina, punching efficiency, reflexes, movement, and overall conditioning. Boxing training will bring about a lot of striking to head and torso, and will generally toughen up a fighter, and force them to move fluidly. Modifications need to be made from boxing techniques to compete in MMA effectively. The boxing stance is long, and MMA fighters would use a narrower stance to utilize their legs for kicks and knees.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is a ground based fighting and grappling martial art that was born from Kodokan Judo, hailing from Japan. Judo was brought over to Brazil by several Japanese experts, including Mitsuyo Maeda, and was then adapted by Brazilians (the Gracie brothers), to form the new art form. Commonly known as rolling, fighters engage on the ground and try to gain ascendency through locks, chokes, guards, and mounts. A fighter can win by submission through locks and chokes, when their opponent can no longer continue to fight, and he or she is forced to tap out. BJJ is one of the most popular and effective martial art forms in MMA. Fighters can quickly end a fight using BJJ on the ground, and many of the top MMA fighters use BJJ as their preferred combat art.
Judo is a martial art that was born in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano, and the translation of the word is, “gentle way”. Kano initially studied Jujutsu various dojos in Tokyo before starting his own dojo at a Buddhist temple and two years later the temple would be called Kodokan, “place for the expounding way.” Kano’s principles in Judo were of maximum efficiency and minimum effort, and mutual welfare and benefit. The idea is that you will not be too forceful, but rather use your opponent’s energy against him or her. Judo is predominantly a throwing and grappling art, and so can be beneficial to practice for those training in MMA. The throws can be especially useful for takedowns in MMA.
Karate was born in the Ryukyu islands of Japan in what is now Okinawa. It began in the 14th century when trade relations with the Ming Dynasty opened up and Chinese martial arts were brought to the islands. Karate is predominantly a striking art, with punches, kicks, elbows and knees. The art spread to the Japanese mainland in the 20th century, and after world war two became popular amongst US army servicemen who were in Japan. This popularity was increased globally when a series of Karate films came out from the 1960’s. Although some forms of full contact Karate, like Kyokushin, are used by some MMA fighters, most would rather choose to practice Muay Thai and boxing for their striking.
Taekwondo is a stand up martial art which sees two fight each other using various kicking techniques including jumping kicks, spinning kicks, and head kicks. The art was born in the 1940’s through by different martial artists using a blend of Chinese and Japanese martial arts. Full contact Taekwondo sparring has been an Olympic sport since the year 2000. It is a fast and smooth martial art. Although Taekwondo kicks can be effective in MMA, the art is not commonly practiced by MMA fighters. MMA fighters generally prefer to use BJJ, Muay Thai, boxing and wrestling, as opposed to Taekwondo which focusses mostly on kicking techniques.
Muay Thai is known as “The Art of Eight Limbs” as you strike with your hands, elbows, knees and shins. It is the national sport of Thailand and is renowned as the world’s most brutal ring sport. It was born in the 16th century in Thailand. Famous Thai fighter, Nai Khanomtom, was captured by the Burmese in 1767 and defeated ten Burmese fighters to gain his freedom, and so began the fame of Muay Thai. The full contact nature of Muay Thai makes it excellent for conditioning. The direct, simple and devastating techniques make it one of the toughest martial arts to compete in. Therefore, Muay Thai is a favored stand up martial art for MMA fighters. MMA fighters train Muay Thai to condition themselves and learn total stand up fighting techniques that include punches, kicks, elbows and knees, as well as clinch work.
Sambo is a Russian martial art that was developed in the 1920’s by the Red Army. The purpose of the art was to improve combat techniques in soldiers without using weapons. It was founded by Viktor Spiridonov and Vasili Oshchepkov, and merged different styles to that became Sambo. There are a variety of different styles of Sambo including Sport Sambo, Combat Sambo, and Freestyle Sambo. Sport Sambo is like Judo although doesn’t allow chokes. As the name suggests, Combat Sambo was developed for the military and in this form one can strike with kicks, punches, knees and elbows. Freestyle Sambo was created in the US in 2004 and allows for certain chokes and locks. Although some Russians fighters have successfully used the art in MMA, it is not widely practiced by MMA fighters.
Wrestling is a martial art that has a variety of styles and different rules, and consists mostly of grappling techniques that include throws and takedowns. Wrestling can be traced back thousands of years, and so is one of the oldest martial arts. Wrestling features in Ancient Greece and Roman times, and has been part of the modern Olympics since the 1904 games. There are a large variety of wrestling styles and forms. Wrestling is popular and highly beneficial for MMA fighters to practice. It provides great technical skill, as well as physical and mental toughness which can be a great backbone for success in MMA fights. The grappling nature of wrestling also leads to peak physical conditioning, which will enhance the overall ability of an MMA fighter.