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What is MMA?

MMA, which stands for “Mixed Martial Arts,” can be several things:

1) A combat sport best know by the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) brand

2) A method of fitness training, discipline, and conditioning similar to MMA fighters but for the average person who isn’t interested in ever fighting or competing in combat sports

3) A hybrid system of fighting skills that draw complimentary techniques and tactics to create a new, more effective system of fighting and self-defense than the individual parent arts alone possessed.

Most martial arts and combat sports, especially those from Asia, focus on the doctrine of a single area of discipline.  For examples: Boxing is strictly a punching art; Judo is known for its throws; Karate has hard punches and deep stances; Wrestling is all about takedowns and pins; While Taekwondo is best known for its jumping, flashy kicking style.  In following a single doctrine, each style or sport creates severe and glaring weaknesses, especially where self-defense is concerned!

MMA is literally a mixture of various disciplines, with a focus of having skills in three critical ranges:  Striking, Clinching, and Ground.  By having skills in all three ranges of combat, a person has a well-rounded skillset for self-defense or combat sports engagement.  The sport of MMA, best known by the UFC, has also gone a long way to show which styles are very effective in actual fighting situations (such as wrestling, kickboxing, and Jiu-Jitsu) and which styles are more for just fitness, family fun, and cultural appreciation (such as Taekwondo and Karate).

Beware, however, as some unscrupulous (and previously single-discipline) schools are now advertising their “MMA” classes alongside the legitimate MMA academies.  Unfortunately, these gyms are simply trying to cash-in on the growing popularity and trend of MMA training, often by just mixing a little grappling in with their Karate or Taekwondo (or other) martial art specialty.  Real MMA is not just a simple matter of mixing two separate systems together, but takes years of research and training in order to synthesize a harmonious blending, eliminating those moves that don’t work together, while creating new setups and strategies to take advantage of the techniques that do blend well.  While there is no official “MMA” certifications or belts at this time, the difference can often be told by the certifications and pedigree an instructor holds.  A “Master” of a single style who adds an additional system to their curriculum, is probably not teaching the same quality of “MMA” that an instructor with multiple certifications is.  Always check out more than one school before signing up; the differences between frauds and the “real deals” are readily apparent.  The “truly mixed” martial arts and combat sport instructors have literally spent years, sometimes decades, learning various systems and studying in great depth and detail how to combine them effectively.  Regardless of your training goals, always make sure you choose a legitimate, honest, and safety-oriented instructor.