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MMA – what is this sport about?

Posted by Clark on

Many of you might have heard of MMA, or at least of the UFC, and are wondering what’s it all about. Even the complete name of Mixed Martial Arts can only give one a vague idea about the specific of this sport, and that’s how it mixes different martial arts and fighting styles. However, there is a lot to talk about when it comes to this combat sport, from its history and development to the arts and sports involved and international acknowledgement.


While the idea of using different styles in combat sports is far from new, MMA only began being an official combat sport in the late ‘90s, and has gained since then thousands of adepts and spectators, proving that there is always room for new ideas even in sports.


At the beginning of the century’s second decade, the “Gracie challenges” (a sort of “fight club” initiated by the Gracie family) helped shape much of what we nowadays as MMA. The fights they organized were meant to demonstrate that the Brazilian jiu-jitsu was the most efficient combat style out of all of them. It’s kind of ironic, if you think about how this ended up in connecting and combining martial arts and combat sports in general.

Nowadays, the styles are plenty and fighters have a large freedom in choosing the moves and strikes they employ. From the above mentioned Brazilian jiu-jitsu, to Muay Thai, Judo, submission wrestling, western boxing, grappling, taekwondo, karate, and many more. As this type of competition grew in popularity, national sports authorities and federations began shaping the rules and regulations in order to give them a more sports-like allure. This would not only make the competitions easier more accessible to the public, but would also better protect the fighters from suffering major injuries as they did when the fights were completely free of limitations.

However, it seems that injuries still occur at a higher rate than in other combat sports, which is why equipment safety measures have been taken and professional fighters are obliged to wear certain protective items. Head guards and mouthguards are meant to keep the head, mandible and teeth safe during matches, and while the headguards are subject of different opinions regarding their actual effectiveness, the mouthguard is mandatory in official competitions.

Gloves are also an important gear item for MMA fighters, and their design varies greatly from boxing or kickboxing gloves. Because of the large range of movements and strikes allowed in MMA fights, fingers are to be free. So in order to protect the hands and knuckles and still leave the fingers free, the MMA glove was designed to have a thick layer over the knuckles and cover only about an inch of the fingers.

MMA Shin guards are made to cover up and protect the part of the leg beneath the knee. This part of the body is subjected to great stress during a fight, and this often results in hairline fractures, bone bruises and so on. Shin guards are usually covering up the front part of the leg, being strapped to it, but you can also find boot-like guards, that come on the foot like a sleeve.

Aside from these basic gear components, MMA fighters use different clothing to enhance motion and keep the dry during the fights.


Common misconceptions about martial arts

Posted by Clark on



Hey guys how’s it hangin’? Still downward, I hope. My adventures into sports journalism begin with this blog. I am not what you would call a struggling comic artist. In fact, I keep a regular day job as a sports journalist for a newspaper, which, pardon me, I am not at liberty to divulge at this point, but we’ll come to that eventually. As of now, just keep crossing your fingers but don’t hold your breath, okay? This blog is a culmination of my passion for what I do for a living. Yes, I live and breathe sports and will not hesitate to engage in a meaningful conversation about football, basketball and anything that uses balls.


Ever noticed how games can often use the art of self defense? No, you don’t have to kick your opponent to do significant damage to them so they can no longer play against your team. I meant this more in terms of warding off a wayward kick with the proper footwork or or using evasive maneuver to get the ball from hitting the goal, that sort of thing. I would love to immortalize that in some comic drawings but the only thing i have succeeded on doing have been sketches since my knowledge on how seasoned goalkeepers and basketball guards do it is more technical than anything, not real solid science.


While we are on evasive maneuver, I would like to talk about the common misconceptions on martial arts.



Contrary to popular belief, martial arts is not a sport. It is an art. The efforts of some people to make martial arts more mainstream can be lauded since the more instructors there are, the more fine tuning and ideas that can result in the process. Of course, if Aikido had been left to languish in the Tokyo Hombu dojo instead of getting spread all over the world, it would be a truly sad situation. Accessibility is not the evil here, it is the way the mentality for martial arts and the techniques have been cheapened by competition. I believe a true martial artist will not cease training just because there’s no financial reward that goes with it or just because he is not garbed in sparkly robes. This is exactly what competition has succeeded at sidelining and making shallow. Basically, the winner is decided by various referees who don’t seem to be focusing enough on the technique than on the showmanship factor.


This is also the reason why martial arts is not for everyone. You can’t do martial arts just because you have a torso, arms and legs or you can spare the time to train. Many have tried and failed to complete training and those who do succeed at getting to the top ladders need to still train in the same art. What should jolt awake those who think that anyone can be a martial artist is the fact that there are so few women in martial arts, and there’s a limited number of seniors who make it from the brown belt up, considering hundreds of children younger than 12 years old get to the brown belt. Martial arts happens to be one of only an elite number of physical activities in which all genders can be represented during training despite things turning emotionally and physically demanding.

That being said, female Sensei‘s can emerge as powerful, incredible and dedicated martial artists. Moreover, even males can drop out of training as frequently as their female counterparts.


Martial arts is not some kind of religion or special spirituality that requires the customary bowing and barefootedness. Bear in mind that those observances are as traditional as they are practical. Taking your shoes off at the door is traditional and practical as it is more hygienic compared to being in your socks or soles. The bowing is needed to express gratitude to your partner for their time and trust. It also serves as a signal to the ‘nage’ or person performing the technique that their turn is completed, and the ‘uke’ or the person receiving the technique has to take theirs.
Most importantly, it takes years and years of training for you to be able to do ground fights with someone of the same size. Often, sheer weight and strength can even outclass years of training.