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Mind, body and self-defence: Intro to mixed martial arts
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Mind, body and self-defence: Intro to mixed martial arts

MMA blends several martial arts disciplines into a dynamic fighting system, which not just hones self-defence skills, but its training conditions the body as well as the mind
Rules are crucial in combat sports disciplines to promote safe and fair play because the fundamental goal of MMA, or any combat sport for that matter, is to defeat the opponent, not injuring them.
MMA incorporates techniques from combat disciplines and martial arts.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a combat sport that combines various martial arts disciplines into a dynamic martial form. It manifested as a result of the quest to determine the most effective martial art, combining the best from the numerous fighting styles and systems. Its origins as a competitive sport can be traced to the early 1990s when The Ultimate Fighting Championship or the UFC (now the world’s top MMA promotion/tournament) began in the US, where fighters from different disciplines were pitted against each other.

While it began as an unrestrained fighting competition at first, rules have evolved over time, transforming MMA into a regulated sport. It incorporates techniques from combat disciplines and martial arts such as boxing, wrestling, jujutsu (Japan), Brazilian jiu-jitsu, karate, sambo and Muay Thai.

MMA, the multidisciplinary combat sport

“Learning mixed martial arts is like having a superpower”, says Siddharth Singh, an MMA fighter and trainer from Delhi.

“A superpower that comes with the physical and mental strength to face the challenges in life,” adds Singh, the first brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu in India and a 14 Khan Grading, Silver Mongkol ‘master’ in Muay Thai. “MMA is a game changer; I have seen qualitative improvement in people’s lives through MMA training. It gives a lot of power and confidence that helps people to realize what they are capable of and be beneficial in other areas of their lives.”

The elements from different martial art disciplines ensure an MMA practitioner develops a well-rounded and versatile fighting skillset.

“In MMA, Muay Thai or kickboxing helps with your punching, kicking, and elbowing techniques, wrestling teaches you how to defeat someone on the ground and jiu-jitsu enhances your overall grappling and submission skills,” says Singh.

MMA rules

Rules are crucial in combat sports disciplines to promote safe and fair play because the fundamental goal of MMA, or any combat sport for that matter, is to defeat the opponent, not injuring them. Safety as a tenet permeates into the training halls too. So, rules have to be adhered to while fighting or training.

A typical MMA bout (in competition) will have stipulated timed rounds (usually it would be three rounds of five minutes each. Competitions are based on weight classes (divisions that categorize fighters based on their body weight).

“Apart from the prerequisites, there are variations of other rules across most MMA organizations,” adds Singh. “They tweak the rules a little bit to make it more personal to them. For instance, you are not allowed to kick a grounded opponent in the head, according to the UFC. Whereas there are several federations in Asia where that is allowed,” he added

MMA as a fitness activity

Fighting skills in MMA enhance one’s self-defence capabilities, while the systematic training conditions the body and improves a person’s physical prowess.

“Resistance training is a part of MMA because we are lifting other people’s weight,” says Singh about one of the many physical rewards of MMA.

“There are psychological benefits as well,” adds Singh. “If you are working out in a gym, you might become fatigued and take a break from it. Considering you are doing it at your convenience. In an MMA bout, each round lasts for five minutes. You could become fatigued after three minutes or four minutes during the fight. Still, you cannot walk off or end the round, you must try your best to see the victory. In these circumstances, you try to push yourself further and go beyond your boundaries, which makes you mentally stronger and more strategic.”

Takeaways

  • Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a dynamic combat sport that blends different martial arts disciplines including boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and Muay Thai.
  • The combined use of numerous aspects from several martial art disciplines in MMA provides the practitioner a well-rounded and adaptable fighting skillset.
  • Numerous rules must be followed while fighting or training because the fighters’ safety is one of the top objectives.

 

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