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MMA Terminology and Definitions (updated 01-20-2011)

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Standing- Standing refers to when both fighters are on their feet with some distance between them. Most fighting from this position is done with punches, kicks, or other strikes. Offensive and defensive capability in this position is called the stand-up game. The standing position is the default starting position in MMA. At the beginning of every round or if the referee calls for a reset, fighters will be in this position.

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Clinch- A clinch is when both fighters are still on their feet, but engaged in grappling. Knees and other short range strikes are often seen during a clinch, as well as attempts to force the opponent to the ground or smother them against the wall of the octagon. There are several types of clinches. Examples include a Thai clinch, named for its popular use in Muay Thai kickboxing, where one fighter will cradle the back of his opponents head with his hands in order to control his upper body movement or pull him down into a knee strike.

Guard- The guard is when both opponents are engaged in grappling on the ground with one on top of the other. The fighter on the bottom is on his back, facing up, with his legs between him and the fighter on top. The fighter on top is referred to as being in the other fighter’s guard, as the fighter on bottom can use their legs to limit the top fighter’s movement. When the fighter on the bottom has his legs wrapped around his opponent’s waist, this is called a closed guard. If he simply has his legs between him and his opponent, it is called an open guard. The guard position is considered disadvantageous for the fighter on the bottom in MMA and is scored negatively. However, many submissions (explained in part 2) can be executed from guard and some fighters, like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, are notorious for being able to mount an offense from this position.  Since mounting an offense from guard is a large part of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the ability to attack from the bottom is often associated with fighters who have an extensive Jiu Jitsu background.

Half-guard- The half guard position is like the guard position, except that the fighter on the bottom has his two legs wrapped around one leg of the fighter on top. This provides the bottom fighter less control over the opponent’s movement than guard and is considered an even more disadvantageous position. Submissions can still be attempted from half-guard, but are more difficult to accomplish. In turn, the top fighter can more safely strike the one on the bottom.

Side control- Side control, also called a side mount, is when one fighter is perpendicular to the other, pinning his opponent down with the weight of his upper body placed on the other fighter’s chest. This is a very advantageous position for the fighter on top, as the fighter on the bottom has almost nothing in the way of offensive options except to try and get into a better position.

Mount- A mount is when one fighter is on top of the other, without the bottom fighter’s legs between them. This is another situation where the fighter on the bottom has little to no offensive options, and is often considered preferable to side control given the range of offensive options the top fighter has.

General Martial Arts Definitions:

10 Point System: In the 10 point must system of scoring a fight the winner of a round must receive 10pts. The loser of a round will receive from 9 to 6pts. A close round: 10-9. One knockdown. 10-8 Two knockdowns and so forth. No knockdowns but the fighter completely dominates the round: 10-8. Can’t pick a winner: 10-10.

12 oz, 14oz, 16oz: Weight of boxing gloves.

Abs: Abdominal muscles. Also refereed as the core.

Arm Punch: A punch thrown from the shoulder only, without help from the legs or torso.

Bag Gloves: Boxing gloves designed to hit punching bags. Usually have a flat striking surface.

Below the Belt: Below the belt is a imaginary line from the belly button to the top of the hips where a boxer is not supposed to hit. The hit below the belt is a not to behave according to the rules of decency.

Bent-Leg-Drill: A bag exercise where a boxer throws punches with knees fully flexed.

Block: Usually refers to the type of arm block a boxer uses to protect his head or body.

Bout: A bout is a boxing match consisting of rounds with a one minute break.

Boxers Handshake: Touching knuckles is how boxers greet each other whether they’re wearing gloves or not. Touching gloves before the opening bell is also part of boxing protocol.

Calisthenics: Exercises used to develop strength and explosive power.

Clinch: A clinch is a last resort defensive technique; it’s when one boxer holds onto the other to avoid being hit or muffle an opponents attack.

Combination: A combination is a series of punches thrown in a sequence.

Corner Man: At the junction of the ropes where a boxer rests between rounds. The corner man advises him or her, gives water, tries to reduce swelling or bleeding.

Counterpunching: Punching into the exposed or unguarded area an opponent leaves as he punches.

Count: A count is tolling of the seconds by the referee after a boxer is knocked down. If the boxer is still down after the end of the count, then the match is over by knockout.

Cross: A cross is a straight power punch thrown with the boxer’s dominant hand. Also refereed to as a straight.

Cutting off the Ring: Positioning your body and footwork to redirect your opponents direction eventually forcing them into the corner of the ring. Most of the time used against a boxer who has fancy footwork and moves around a lot on the outside.

Dirty Fighting: Continuous fouls towards the opponent making it look like an accident.

Duck: Moving under a punch by bending a t the knees and coming back up in the direction of the punch in a V motion.

Double End Bag: Type of punching bag suspended between the floor and ceiling with elastic cords.

Feint: A feint is a fake punch or any offensive movement used to get your opponent to react and move out of his good offensive position opening himself up to your real attack.

Flinch: To draw back from and offensive attack.

Flow Drills: Continuous action partner drills. Boxers throw and defend against each other according to a planned exercise given by the coach.

Focus Mitts: Hand targets used by Coach/Trainers. The mitts really develop the boxers precision and combinations. Chance for the coach to evaluate and improve certain areas of the boxer.

Fouls: Fouls are actions by a boxer that the referee doesn’t feel meet the standard for a fair blow or is unsportsmanlike conduct. There are intentional fouls a accidental fouls.

Forearm Block: Type of block used to stop body punches.

Glove Block: Type of block used to stop an uppercut.

Haymaker: A haymaker is a wild swinging punch thrown with all of the persons weight behind it. YOu usually see haymakers in street fighting or in the movies. Haymakers are also used in boxing as a last resort. The term first appeared in 1912 ”hit the hay” or ”go to sleep”.

Heavy Bag: A large punching bag either suspended from above or attached to a heavy foundation.

Heavyweight Drill: Type of a drill where a boxer exercises like heavyweight boxer with an emphasis on power.

Inside Fighting: Boxing within the striking zone or the boxers frame. Usually entails furious offensive action with short punches and side to side head motion. Also referred to infighting.

In/Out Fighting: A boxing style that utilizes the characteristics for inside and outside fighting.

Interval Training: Boxers core workout for developing endurance, speed, and power in the muscles. Interval training is why boxers can go the distance and fight 12 rounds.

Jab: Punch thrown with the leading hand. This is a straight shot from the chin powered by the arm and sometimes the hips. The busiest punch in boxing.

Jump Rope: Rope designed to help boxers improve coordination, and cardiovascular health.

Knockoffs: Knockoffs are boxing matches where a heavily favored fighter gets defeated.

Knockout or KO: When a boxer loses by way of knockout is unable to get up by the count of ten.

Lightweight Drill: Type of drill where a boxer exercises like a lightweight boxer with emphasis on speed of movement.

Left Hook: A power punch thrown with a hooked left arm powered by leg and torso

Long rhythm: An easy back and forth motion between the feet.

Mandatory Eight Count: An 8 second count that a fallen boxer must take when he gets back on his feet. It allows the referee time to decide whether the boxer can continue the fight.

Medicine Ball: A weighted ball used for conditioning the body.

Mirror Training: Drilling punches, defensive moves and footwork in front of a mirror. Also referred to shadow boxing.

Mouse: A swelling on the face, forehead or head.

Neutral Corner: One of two corners of a boxing ring that are not assigned to either boxer during a fight. Aka the white corners. After a boxer has knocked down his opponent, is required to go to the furthest neutral corner.

One-Two: The jab and straight right combination.

On-Two-Three: The jab, straight right, and left hook combination.

Orthodox: Refers to a right handed boxer.

Outside: Refers the area outside of the boxers striking zone or outside the boxers frame.

Outside Fighting: Boxing outside the striking zone, usually entails active footwork and jabs. Also range fighting.

Parries: Arm and hand movements executed to redirect incoming punches.

Partner Drills: Exercises between boxers that develop specific punches and defensive moves.

Power Punch: Any punch powered by legs and torso.

Rabbit Punch: A punch to the back of the head or neck. It’s illegal in boxing.

Right-Left: The straight right and then the left hook combination.

Road Work: Most people call this running or jogging. In boxing it’s called road work because it’s the foundation of a boxer. Also called ”getting your gas”, because that’s what road work does: gives you fuel for the ring. It’s the single most important exercise a fighter does.

Roll Out: Side step to the left or right moving out of punching range.

Round: The three minute periods that make up a bout.

Shadowboxing: A training exercise where a boxer practices and perfects technique on his own, usually in front of a mirror.

Short Rhythm: The busy side to side head motion that accompanies inside fighting or infighting.

Shoulder Block: A defensive move where a boxer throws his shoulder into the path of straight punch to the head.

South Paw: Refers to a left -handed boxer.

Situational Sparring: Controlled sparring between boxers. Each plays a specific offensive, defensive or style role.

Slips: Slight movements of the head and neck to avoid punches.

Slip Bag: Small swinging bag hung from the ceiling and used to practice slips.

Slip Cord: A rope tied between two points about 15 feet apart. The boxer U-slips while walking and throwing punches under the rope. When it’s time to turn he pivots and slides left or right without breaking contact with the rope. The rope stays on the shoulder through the exercise.

Slugger: It’s a boxer who lacks finesse in the ring, moves slower, lacks mobility, has predictable punching pattern, but makes up for all that with raw power and the ability to knockout their opponents with a single punch.

Sparring: Practicing boxing. Closely supervised training bouts between fighters often designed to develp specific areas of technical proficiency.

Sparring Gloves: Specially designed and padded boxing gloves used for sparring.

Speed Bag: Bag specially designed to develop the boxers speed, rhythm and hand-eye coordination.

Squaring Off: Coming out of the sideways boxer’s stance and facing a opponent with an open chest.

Stick and Move: To throw a punch or punches and move out of the way immediately, before your opponent throws a counter punch.

Straight Right: A power punch thrown with a straight hand powered by leg and torso.

Style Drill: Type of drill where a boxer emulates the characteristics of different boxing styles usually those of outside fighting, infighting, couter-punching and in/out fighting.

Technique Drill: Type of drill where a boxer emphasizes offensive and defensive form.

Uppercut: A power punch thrown up from the waist powered by legs and torso.

Uppercut Bag: A bag designed for focusing on uppercut shoots.

White Collar Boxing: Boxers that are not registered as amateur or professional. Boxers that are only interested in fitness and learning to fight. They may or may not spar although not interested in competition.

Wraps: The long strips of cloth or gauze used to wrap and protect the hands before putting on boxing gloves.

Please add more definitions below by adding a comment!


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