The History and Origins of MMA

Mixed martial arts or MMA have a long history that dates many years into the past.  MMA, which has become one of the fastest-rising sports and a favorite of many, sets its roots in the Olympics of Ancient Greece.

Along with that, many compelling facts are surrounding mixed martial arts. You might be a true fan that wants to know more about your favorite sport, or even a student looking to write your next paper. No matter your end goal, here are some more interesting details about the history and origins of MMA.

Why learning more about the history of MMA is important

This might be an interesting topic you have just come across, but there are so many details behind this fascinating sport. Before we dive into learning more about its origins, here are some reasons why learning more about MMA is essential:

  • It is an ancient sport dating many centuries into the past
  • It can become a great career choice as well as a hobby for people of all ages
  • It can help you understand the individual mixed martial arts and the rules of MMA better
  • It can provide valuable self-defense skills
  • It has helped athletes from all over the world build confidence and self-esteem

With all these important reasons in mind, here is a better look into the history and origins of mixed martial arts.

Where it all begun

Mixed martial arts started as hand-to-hand combat in the form of a sport called pankration. This sport consisted of grappling as well as striking skills which are observed in today’s modern MMA. Pankration made its first appearance at the 33rd Olympiad in 648 BC.

Every athlete that was participating in this sport was called a Pankratiast. They had to follow two rules. The first rule was not to bite their co-athletes, and the second was against eye-gouging. As long as they followed these rules, the athletes could compete and become real-life heroes in their time.

Along with that, all they had to do was fight until one could no longer continue. The sign that signaled submission was the raise of their index finger, and the athletes would keep fighting until someone lost. Pankration was very popular in its time, not only in Ancient Greece but also in many other places worldwide.

Along with the sport that started in Ancient Greece, another similar sport was taking place beforehand in Ancient China. A combat sport in the form of Leitai was practiced. That included a combination of martial arts, boxing, and wrestling. Similar type of mixed combat sports were also reported to have taken place in India, Japan, and Ancient Egypt.

Paving the way to modern-day MMA

Learning more about the origins of MMA will help people of all ages understand and appreciate this sport more. This is especially important and useful for younger students who need to understand the topic to write an assignment. What you need is an educational resource offering the right examples, which can help you understand how to format your MMA essay. The more you get into the history and progress of a sport, the more you can write about it.

The sports of grappling and striking continued to develop over the centuries, in this case separately. During the mid-19th century, savate became the next popular form of fighting, similar to what we know today as MMA. French savate athletes challenged fighters who practiced other types of martial arts to participate and test their combat techniques.

In 1852, a tournament was held between French savate fighters and English bare-knuckle boxers. This was one of the first times, in which different types of martial arts were combined in a single setting. This fascination over testing various martial arts against one another continued to develop over the years.

At around the same time, professional wrestling proceeded to become a sport in the United States after the civil war had ended. These earlier competitions gathered big audiences as they featured fights between popular strongmen of the era.

In 1899, another more advanced form of martial art that combined different techniques was born in England. The so-called Bartitsu combines European combat styles with Asian martial arts. This once again gave a lot of space for tournaments to take place, thus making this martial art significantly more popular around Europe.

Following that, in 1963, one of the most legendary fights took place and was televised in the United States. The mixed-style fight between “Judo” Gene Lebell and Milo Savage ended with the defeat of Savage. It was a victory that played a crucial role in the spread of MMA’s fame.

In the late 1960s to early 1970s, Bruce Lee, one of the most famous and talented martial artists of Hollywood started popularizing martial art. His unique technique of fighting called Jeet Kune Do wonderfully carried the style of MMA and successfully mixed all martial arts together. This single form of fighting helped Bruce Lee gain the title of the “Father of Modern Day MMA”.

Slowly but surely, the concept of MMA started to form more and more and became progressively more popular around the entire world. Boxing, as well as wrestling, gained a lot of ground over the years. They even made appearances as modern Olympic sports. These were all steps that helped pave the way to what we know as modern-day mixed martial arts.

The road to the MMA of Today

Throughout the years, the interest of people in martial arts and fighting is clear to see. All this progress led MMA to become what it is today, and it created the establishment of both the Japanese and the American MMA scene.

In the early 1900s, Brazil became a hotspot for the “Grazie Challenge”. Carlos and Helio Gracie, the fathers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu started this challenge that was taking place in many gyms. This challenged fighters worldwide to try and defeat competitors who were training with this method.

Most ended up losing because of how new and innovative this form of fighting was. This challenge was the first significant seed that allowed modern MMA to gain ground and start manifesting into what it is today.

Following that, the establishment of UFC in 1993 started its first-ever event in Denver, Colorado that very same year. More than 8,000 people watched the event. The two rules the fighters had to follow seem to have dated back to those of the Ancient Greek pankration; no biting or eye-gouging. The winner of that one-day, eight-man event was Royce Grazie, the son of Helio Grazie who was mentioned previously.

MMA, as we know it today, is among the most popular sports in the world. As the years go by, more and more young athletes decide to join one of many global MMA organizations across the globe. The rules that are now followed are much more specific and create a safe and healthy fighting environment for those involved.

These and many other reasons helped shape MMA into what it is today. This unique mixed-style combat will surely only continue to evolve and become better in the years to come.

Bio: Marques Coleman is a professional writer and editor. He has a strong passion for martial arts after having done Karate for years, and he loves to share this interest with his audience. In his spare time, Marques loves to spend time outdoors and read books.


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