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The history of Mixed Martial Arts

The history of Mixed Martial Arts

For anyone who takes part in Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, you’ll know the importance of ensuring that you have the right space to train in. As a combat sport, MMA can be extremely physical and demanding, meaning those who partake in it have to ensure high stamina levels and good levels of fitness at all times.

From making sure that you have the right equipment in place, through to ensuring that your training technique is safe, there are a number of things to consider. 

These days, there are a wide variety of different elements you can employ in order to enhance your training and your skills, including ensuring that you have the correct gym flooring or MMA mats in place. 

The popularity of MMA has exploded in recent years, thanks in part to the popularity of UFC. These events draw huge crowds and fighters have become celebrities in their own right. As a result, more and more people are getting involved in the sport at grass roots levels.

However MMA is an ancient skill, developed over the centuries to combine a range of different martial arts techniques. 

In this blog post we’ll take a look at the history of MMA, and discover how this sport has developed over time.

An ancient sport

Mixed martial arts is a sport which is centuries old. Predating other popular activities such as football, it is believed that it is one of the oldest forms of organised sport in the world. In fact, it can be traced back to the ancient Greeks over 2,000 years ago, where a type of contact sport called ‘Pankration’ was popular. 

Much like modern day mixed martial arts, Pankration competitors used grappling and striking techniques to bring their opponents down.

However, it isn’t just ancient Europe where the roots of mixed martial arts can be found. Its origins can be traced from many points across the globe, with each country bringing its own style to the sport. 

In Asia, there are multiple sculptures and freezes which depict various forms of martial arts practice. From wrestling in Cambodia through to striking in Indonesia, there is evidence that martial arts has been an important part of their culture for generations.

Back in these days, there was no such thing as health and safety! As a result, mixed martial arts could be an extremely violent and dangerous sport. People would be training on hard ground (either stone of wood), which would’ve provided next to no protection for falls and trips. In fact, it was deemed so dangerous by the Romans that they actually banned the practice!

Luckily we have come a long way from those days.

Growth in popularity

In the 20th century, interest in martial arts started to grow once again. In the 1920s, Brazilian jiu-jitsu was developed. Brazilian jiu-jitsu focussed on ground fighting and submission holds, and is a fundamental part of modern day mixed martial arts today.

By the 1970s, martial arts was starting to become big business. In Japan, tournaments started to be held and it wasn’t long until Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon with a flurry of martial arts themed movies. Consequently, interest in the sport grew even further.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the first UFC events were held. These early events had very few rules meaning that fighters could use a wide variety of different martial arts techniques – leading to the ‘mixed martial arts’ name being coined. As a result of their brutality, UFC events and mixed martial arts became notorious and attracted a lot of attention. However, this only served to fuel their popularity event further.

Mixed martial arts today

Today, mixed martial arts is an extremely popular sport, with more and more people getting involved all the time. 

In the UK, MMA clubs can be found up and down the country, offering everyone from beginners through to experienced pros, the opportunity to train and learn this ancient skill.

Health and safety is a vital part of the sport these days and is something which is taken very seriously by all those involved. Protecting competitors from falls, blows and strikes is the number one priority for coaches and event organisers. As a result, ensuring that gyms and training facilities have the right flooring in place is a key consideration.

At Gym Floors Direct, we specialise in MMA flooring and have provided high quality, durable surfaces to gym owners and private clients alike.

Speak to one of our gym flooring experts today to find out how we can help support and enhance your MMC training experience.

Mixed martial arts today

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