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Our Head Coach and Former Professional MMA Fighter, Christian Montes answers your questions about one of the worlds most exciting sports, Mixed Martial Arts.
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AM I TOO OLD FOR MMA?
Yes. Lol ... just kidding, but not really ... MMA as a high level, professional contact sport, if you have to ask if you’re too old (to be in the UFC) then you probably are, however MMA, as a recreational sport that mixes in the combat sports of boxing, Muay Thai, judo, wrestling, and BJJ, maybe not. While there are high impact aspects to all these sports, if trained properly, and the practitioners’ safety as the primary concern, then there’s no reason you can’t practice MMA in a safe and guided manner
How old is MMA and where did it come from?
While most MMA enthusiasts know November 12, 1993 as the anniversary of the first UFC, the event where Royce Gracie dominated all his opponents and won, introducing his family’s brand of Jiu-Jitsu to the public sphere and kickstarting the MMA evolution in the modern martial arts world ... no rules (or limited rules) free fighting, involving an eclectic mix of styles were already happening in early 20th century Brazil, Japan, and Europe. However, the earliest recorded instances of this style of fighting can be traced back to Ancient Greece and the fighting sport of Pankration from the original Olympic Games
Is MMA better than boxing?
Depends on your goals - like an individual combat sport, boxing excels in its own range and focuses on developing punches, footwork, and head movement as its primary engagement tools, and will also develop the necessary athletic attributes needed for combat. However, an argument can be made that outside its specialized niche, MMA will help you develop tools and attributes which are ignored in boxing, namely kicking, clinching/takedowns, and ground fighting.
Is MMA good for street self-defense?
In terms of overall combat efficiency and attribute development, yes, very much so. However, it’s important to remember that there is a sport mentality that does not always translate to realistic engagement protocols when facing a street situation that may involve a much larger opponent. The competition component of MMA and all the disciplines that it’s derived from, will often limit their fighting to opponents who most closely resemble you in size and weight (sometimes age and skill/experience level as well) The mindset and strategies needed for success in this arena might not always be the most efficient and realistic against a bigger and heavier opponent, where a survival mindset coupled with control and subdue tactics may yield better results
Is MMA dangerous?
MMA encompasses the same dangers and any other mainstream combat sport, particularly professional football, where major head trauma and uncontrolled, falling body weight tend to be the main culprit of injury. This can be curtailed in practice by avoiding or being judicious regarding hard sparring and adopting a cautious approach to practicing throws and takedowns
SHOULD I DO MMA OR BJJ?
This will depend on your goals and personal preference - MMA will offer access to striking/takedown emphasis and more a ballistic modality of training that comes with that, which also brings with it the risk of injury associated with those training elements. BJJ will focus mostly on grappling, while not uncommon to learn takedowns, the vast majority of BJJ training typically takes place in the ground, mitigating the chance of injury (if premature introduction into sparring. Is also avoided) and will yield the benefits of a deeper understanding that comes only focusing on one (major) aspect of fighting as opposed to spreading yourself to through three disciplines or more.
Who is the father of MMA?
Bruce Lee has been credited by UFC President, Dana White, as the “Father (or Godfather) of MMA” Bruce Lee was considered a martial arts maverick in his day for his view on the limitations of classical martial arts, eventually forming his own unique martial arts brand and philosophy, known as Jeet Kune Do, to be an eclectic blend of the most effective martial arts techniques and strategies that he had been exposed to at the time - many consider these philosophies to be the precursor to the modern MMA fighting formula, it is important to note that outside of anecdotal street encounters and challenge matches (and one famously recorded demonstration at the Long Beach International Karate Expo in 1965) this aspect of Bruce Lee’s martial arts career was never posited in the main stream arena, which should not be confused with his fame and notoriety in cinema, where there would be a distinct difference in the martial arts he presented to the public for its sheer entertainment value. Contrast this to pioneers like Helio Gracie or Jigoro Kano, who were not in any way entertainers, but martial artists first who fought various documented challenge matches (albeit in other parts of the world, Brazil and Japan, respectively) in order to prove the effectiveness of their martial arts. Their successors would continue to in this tradition and eventually bring their fighting methods to Europe and North America. When taken into consideration, you may find that these two men, among others still, are more fitting of the mantle, Father of MMA. The more cynical martial arts historians who understand the business of MMA will see this as potent public relations move by Dana White to build a bridge and social connections to the world’s biggest martial arts movie icon and indoctrinate that subculture to his growing sport in general, and UFC brand, specifically.
What is the difference between UFC and MMA?
The same difference between the NFL and professional football, one is the premier organization of its sport, and the other is the sport itself
What is an MMA fighter?
Someone who regularly fights in MMA events, either at an amateur or professional level. They are typically well-versed in all the major ranges that comprise the sport (Striking/Clinch/Ground) and may often be a specialist at one of the specific disciplines, i.e. Black Belt in BJJ, All-American Wrestler, Muay Thai champion, etc. ...
Can I train myself in MMA? Do I need to take classes?
It is possible to train yourself for MMA competition, but it requires some level of proficiency in one or more of the components that make-up an MMA Athlete: stand-up, clinch and ground fighting. For example, you may be a Division 1 Wrestler in college and so you would incorporate some cross-training with strikers to modify your base discipline in order to defend against strikes.
However, if you do not have a base discipline it is a good idea to join an academy that can introduce you to striking, clinch and grappling. Each dimension comes with its own techniques, principles and theories, so it is helpful to work with an academy that provides a structured learning environment.
How long does it take to get good at MMA?
MMA is multi-faceted. Take Boxing for instance, the competitors need to focus on developing their hand speed and power striking, footwork and physical fitness. However, there are concepts, theories and principles that (when combined) create different styles of boxers. Now imagine, incorporating striking with hands, elbows, knees, shins and feet. Also incorporating techniques in grappling that include clinching, wrestling and submissions. The many dimensions, create more divers possibilities for MMA fighters. Your success in MMA really depends on your level of dedication, natural talent and athleticism. It's not impossible to get good at MMA in one year, but it comes down to the effort your put in and how efficient your training is.
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