As you have probably nocticed, recently there has been a huge phenomenom growing in popularity, MMA. The sport of MMA is grueling, physically and mentally demanding, and requires hours of practice for years to become proficient in. The most popular professional MMA show in the world is of course the UFC. With the best MMA fighters in the world fighting in the UFC their ppv events promise the most athletic, technical, and exciting fights in the sport. The UFC was started by the Gracie family in order to promote their fighting style know as Gracie jiu-jitsu and prove its dominance and relevance in the fighting world. While the UFC or MMA did not skyrocket into popularity or success the Gracie's did prove their point and establish their foothold in the martial arts community. When the Gracie family first came to the US they had dreams of proving to the world their fighting style was the most dominate in the world. They opened up their own martial arts gym in California and began teaching Gracie's jiu-jitsu. Continuing the Gracie tradition they had in Brazil they issued the Gracie Challenge welcoming all fighters of any style to come to their gym and fight one of them, anything goes.
The Gracie challenge eventually lead Rorion Gracie to start the UFC. It was a single weight class, single elimination, martial arts tournament. With almost no rules in the first UFC tournament fighters from around came to compete to prove their style was superior. The Gracie family chose Royce Gracie to represent them in the tournament. They felt he was small enough at around 160 lbs. yet skilled enough to win and prove the dominance of their jiu-jitsu. UFC 1 was much different than MMA today. The fights of UFC 1 consisted of style vs. style fights unlike the fights of today where fighters crosstrain in several different fighting styles.
While Brazillian jiu-jitsu or BJJ ( Gracie jiu-jitsu is a trade marked name for their own personal style of Brazillian jiu-jitsu) is a neccessity to be competitive in MMA today it is not the only fighting style required to compete. There are many different approaches to MMA but a general rule of thumb and good starting sport is to learn one form of striking while standing and one form of grappling.
Dominate your opponents with Muay Thai. The most common striking style used in MMA today in Muay Thai. Muay Thai is a martial art from Thailand that in corporates deadly kicks, punches, knees, and elbows thrown from standing or in a Thai clinch. Phil Nurse and Duke Roufus are two of the most famous Muay Thai coaches in the country and train some of the best fighters in the UFC today. Other striking styles used in MMA though not as common are karate, kickboxing, taekwondo and others.
Obviously BJJ is the most famous grappling style in MMA due to the excellent combination of takedowns, grappling, and submissions. While the Gracie's are the most popular jiu-jitsu teachers in the world there are many other excellent coaches known in the MMA community such as Eddie Bravo, Eric Paulson, and Marcelo Monteiro just to name a few. Other popular grappling styles are judo and wrestling. Submission defense must be incorporated into wrestling training since there are no submissions in wrestling itself and any fighter will inevitably face a jiu-jitsu practitioner.
MMA is rapidly growing in popularity and will continue to do so for many years to come. While not sanctioned by athletic fighting commisions in all 50 states yet it will be soon. Fighters of MMA are not paid as well as boxers BUT they are quickly closing the gap and will eventually surpass boxing in popularity and payouts. With its roots in BJJ and the incorporation of so many other fighting styles its no wonder MMA is rapidly growing as a sport. Dominate you opponents in MMA.
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