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Mixed Martial Arts Overview

Mixed Martial Arts combines a range of styles and techniques from martial arts and combat sports. It requires a balance between fighting both standing up and on the ground. Striking, takedown and grappling techniques are used over a number of rounds with the intention of winning by submission, knockout or decision.

MMA is one of the worlds fastest growing sports and is increasing in popularity in Australia. We have a number of home grown organisations promoting Mixed Martial Arts events across the country. Fighters are split into weight classes and compete against those of similar weight. Both amateurs and professionals, males and females, take part in competition.

Fights take place in a cage, commonly an octagon. The cage is for the protection of fighters and prevents them falling onto the floor or spectators. The use of cages for competition is banned in Western Australia, posing all manner of safety risks, however there is hope this will be overturned in the near future.

Training

Training and development is continuously evolving when it comes to Mixed Martial Arts. Without the rigid structure and 100’s of years of tradition found with other martial arts, fighters are developing a variety of skill sets based on the need to be well rounded.

Gyms across the country offer classes for self defence and competition. As a form of self defence it can provide the skills and techniques to overcome a variety of situations whilst getting fit.

Equipment

Fighters use only minimal equipment in MMA bouts.

Open fingered gloves are worn for protection against cuts. These are usually between 4oz and 6oz depending upon the amateur/professional status of the fight. Hand wraps are also worn.

A mouthguard must be worn during bouts as well as a groin protector for males.

History

Mixed Martial Arts have been around in one form or another for 1000’s of years. Greek Pankration which combined boxing and wrestling techniques was part of the ancient olympic games in 648 BC.

Japanese Shoot Wrestling made use of grappling and striking and many Japanese featured in cross style bouts (Jiu Jitsu vs Boxing) in the early 1900’s.

Rough and Tumble bouts took place throughout America back in the early 1700’s, a style which permitted boxing, grappling as well as eye gouging and the like.

Bruce Lee is probably the most noteable proponent of Mixed Martial Arts through the development of Jeet Kune Do, a style that combines a range of techniques from other styles including boxing, kung fu, Jiu Jitsu and more.

MMA in its current incarnation is attributed to Brazilian Vale Tudo, which in english translates to anything goes. No Holds Barred matches were held in Brazil throughout the last century and would fill soccer stadiums with spectators. In an attempt to take Vale Tudo to the USA, Rorion Gracie along with Art Davie and Bob Meyrowitz created the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a no holds barred event for pay TV. After gaining rapid popularity, the show was outlawed in many US states and dropped from TV due to its brutality. A sale of the UFC, rule changes, sanctioning by the Nevada Athletic Commission in 2001, and MMA was back in a big way and has continued to grow since.

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