By Jillian Bullock
World famous martial artist Brue Lee created Jeet Kune Do, which means “Way of the Intercepting Fist,” and he believed that only what worked for you should be used in martial arts and the rest discarded. Mixed martial arts can actually be compared to Jeet Kwon Do, which is a hybrid fighting system or fighting styles and theories from several different martial arts.
Today, MMA mainly consists of boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling and Jui-jitsu, and to be a world champion a fighter needs to be well-rounded by learning at least three of these four fighting styles.
Which Martial Arts Is The Best?
When the first MMA event was held in November of 1993, the UFC promoted it as a contest to determine which martial art was the most effective. The fighters who participated at that first event consisted of eight men who represented Kickboxing, Sumo, Boxing, Savate, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Wrestling, Karate, and Shootfighting. The winner of that event, and many more matches, was Brazilian Jiu-jitsu master Royce Gracie, who even as a small guy was able to beat other fighters who outweighed him by 100 pounds. Since other fighters mainly focused on stand-up striking and kicking techniques they had no defense for Gracie’s fighting style, which emphasized takedowns and submissions through choke holds and joint locks.
Today, not all forms of martial arts are used much in MMA, e.g. kung fu, Wing Chun and Tae Kwon Do, because they have proven not to be very effective for this type of fighting. The main fighting styles used in MMA emphasize striking, submission and wrestling.
MMA Fighters and Styles
Several fighters in MMA study their competitors to learn their strengths and weaknesses. The ones with a weak wrestling game will suffer the consequences if they go up against fighters like Brock Lesner, Rashad Evans, Matt Hughes, Dan Henderson, and others who have a dominant wrestling background. However, even superior wrestlers still benefit tremendously from learning Jiu-jitsu, because this style allows a fighter to control their opponent on the ground. Plus, he will be able to utilize submission moves and apply joint locks or chokes, which aren’t used in wrestling. This means fighters who have learned styles that mainly focus on stand-up as a game plan should train in wrestling, which gets an opponent to the ground and Jiu-jitsu in order to defend against submissions and Ground ‘N Pound, which is strikes (MMA gloves) and elbows to the face and body while mounted.
Obviously the opposite is true for fighters who are amazingly skilled in wrestling or Jiu-jitsu. Being limited to these two styles will surely make you a weak candidate for someone who has extensive training as a boxer, kickboxer or Muay Thai fighter. These three styles make fighters strong when it comes to stand-up and striking, especially Muay Thai, which also focuses on using not only fists for striking but elbows, kicks and knees.
Now don’t get discourage and think that the style you have trained in for all these years won’t help you become a serious MMA fighter. Other mixed martial artists started in other styles and blended that knowledge with their MMA training. Fighters like George St. Pierre, who studied Kyokushin karate, Lyoto Machida, who studied Shotokan karate, Frank Mir, who studied Kenpo, Anderson Silva, who studied Judo, and others have all gone on to become world champions.
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