Mixed Martial Arts: Striking the World of Combat Sports
Mixed martial arts (MMA) tournaments have taken the sporting world by storm in the last ten years. It is now considered one of the fastest growing combat sports competitions with viewers reaching up to 8 million worldwide per major event. It showcases the best MMA speed and agility among combatants and is considered the ultimate show of strength, cunning, physical ability, and mental toughness.
The Tough History of MMA
Mixed martial arts is not actually a new sport. Ancient Greeks were the known forerunners of this sport with the striking and grappling contest known as Pankraton. The late 1800s saw the rise of competitions among different kinds of wrestlers in Europe. In the US, the first form of MMA was a bout between a boxer and a wrestler in 1887.
Various competitions were held in the early 1900s in Europe, Japan and other countries in the Pacific Rim. Fighters from different martial arts disciplines were pitted against each other—boxers against wrestlers, judo masters against karate experts—in no-holds-barred contests. Even the great Muhammad Ali fought in a MMA fight in 1976 against a Japanese fighter in Japan.
As the competitions progressed, sports governing bodies looked into the competition and started drawing up rules to make the combat sports more of a contest of MMA speed and agility and strength rather than brutality.
Strikes to the groin, head butts, hitting the back of the head, eye gouging, and a number of other potentially dangerous hits were banned from the sports. Regulation time was also put in place and fights were limited to three 5-minute rounds for non-title bouts and five when a championship belt is at stake. Weight classes were also introduced to completely eliminate mismatches which were so common in many pre-1990s MMA fights.
The popularity of MMA today can be traced to media promotion as it became a staple of many cable TV channels. But what captured the imagination of many viewers is the MMA speed and agility shown by the fighters. What used to be a contest between two martial arts discipline has evolved into a fight between two combatants with multiple martial arts skills.
MMA Speed and Agility Training
Training as a mixed martial artist needs total focus and dedication. Knowing that a fighter will be against an opponent with multiple skills is a big motivation to take MMA speed workouts seriously. A fighter must develop not only his physical prowess, but his mental toughness as well.
One needs to be disciplined enough to follow every speed and agility drill for MMA in order to gain an advantage against an opponent. MMA speed and agility equipment like oversized tires are used to condition the athlete’s core body strength.
Speed in MMA is also crucial and this has nothing to do with outrunning an opponent. Fighting in an enclosed space, a MMA fighter must be able to elude knuckle blows, takedowns, and leg kicks. He also must be extremely fast in taking advantage of every small opportunity to execute game-winning moves. This is the reason why MMA speed and agility training is not limited to just bulking up the muscles or learning how to throw punches or tackling to the ground.
Fighters usually start with just one martial arts discipline then become proficient in other styles of fighting when they join MMA. A variety of MMA speed and agility drills are needed to turn a boxer into an efficient grappler, kickboxer, or even a jujitsu master. Today, it is no longer unusual to see fighters who are experts in different martial arts disciplines like:
- Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
- Muay Thai
Mixed martial arts is not only about fighting in a cage—it is also a healthy way of keeping a person physically fit. Learning different martial arts techniques helps a person become more well-rounded and disciplined. MMA speed and agility training conditions a person’s mind and body to become the best they can possibly be.