As the popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA) continues to grow apace, new fans are being attracted all the time. While MMA has moved on dramatically from its early days of mismatches and freak show elements to become a legitimate, widely respected and hugely popular sport not everybody fully understands what it’s all about.
A great deal is happening at any given time in a mixed martial arts fight. Transitions between the sport’s component arts—Muay Thai, wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, to name only three—take place in a split second. Fighters might execute dozens of different techniques in hundreds of individual moves in any given fight, and the commentators rarely have time to explain the mechanics or nuance behind each one. Bruce Lee was one of a number of people who were instrumental in introducing the idea of MMA into the West. He famously said that “The best fighter is not a Boxer, Karate or Judo man. The best fighter is someone who can adapt to any style, to be formless, to adopt an individual’s own style and not follow the system of styles”.
Using techniques from other disciplines is important because a fight is much more than individual moves. Offensive output and pace, transitions from phase to phase, confidence, rhythm and a dozen other advanced concepts all matter. Each of those things, however, is built on the foundation of basic technical acumen.