by Santos Flaniken
Across the United States, Brazil, Japan and several other nations, emerging groups of amateur athletes are embracing the ever popular extreme sport known as Mixed Martial Arts.
Competing in regulated hand-to-hand combat until a winner is determined by a knockout or a submission, these modern day gladiators develop their skills mainly by studying a variety of Boxing, Kickboxing, Wrestling, Karate, Judo and Jiu-jitsu techniques, and by training at dedicated MMA camps.
These days, it’s not uncommon for devoted athletes of other types of contact sports to abandon old time favorites, like baseball and football, only to begin anew with Mixed Martial Arts competitions in hopes of achieving a professional career and an increasingly big payday. These athletes have watched the sport grow explosively over the past decades as more martial artists and members of the public continually catch on.
Mixed Martial Arts events are surpassing professional Boxing in pay-per-view events and more so, the word has it that “Boxing is boring and was your fathers sport”. Statistics indicate the eighteen to forty demographic has a hankering for a newer and more extreme sport!
Terms like “tap-out, triangle-choke, knee-bar and kimura” are now fairly commonplace, and even the fan base and non-athletic types fans now know the vernacular of MMA competitions.
The chief fighters are like rock stars who maintain a ‘celebrity like’ following with groupies, fan clubs, clothing lines and huge endorsement contracts...Harley Davidson Motorcycles is the latest to sponsor big Mixed Martial Arts events.
To prevail athletically, these modern day combatants must remain on the cutting edge of martial arts concepts. The training techniques are always evolving - especially when your opponent has fighting skills that are equal to yours - executing a single technique can be difficult, that is the reason why knowledge of submissions and the transitions to accomplish these techniques can be confounding for even some of the best of athletes.
It’s been said that the martial arts have evolved more in the past decade or two than they have in the past millennium. In large part, that is because of the discoveries on the top MMA athletes are making in the gym and in the ring.
Early UFC events quickly helped to prove that knowledge of various disciplines provided athletes with a much better success rate in the cage or ring, so the sharing of information soon became more commonplace. Also, the internet now makes navigating an abundance of credible MMA sources and training information, which most often provides some clear training video footage, easily accessible to athletes and admirers of the sport.
This easy access to new techniques, strategies and nutrition have allowed the professional MMA fighter to excel in a “sport” which eventually trickles down to the amateur competitors and self-defense enthusiasts.
Whereas in the distant past, most individual disciplines would openly draw dividing lines when it came to cross-training in multiple systems, nowadays it is the flavor-of-the-day to study a truly pliable mixture of martial arts.
Meanwhile, MMA gyms continue to open up practically on a daily basis in nearly every country on earth. Mixed-Martial Arts (MMA) has now become a mainstream affair in most places. Seems like the only thing required to learn MMA is an open mind and the desire to gain knowledge.