MMA, or mixed martial arts, is a relatively new combat sport that was brought to public attention with the advent of the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993. It brought the Brazilian concept of Vale Tudo fighting, or anything goes, no-holds barred fighting, to worldwide attention, throwing fighters from different styles against each other. While Brazilian submission specialist Royce Gracie won the first tournament with ease, today's fighters are much more well-rounded.
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When the UFC was created by Art Davie and Gracie, their intention was to pit fighters from different styles against each other in order to determine the best styles of fighting. It was also designed as a showcase for Gracie's family style of Brazilian jiu jitsu, which Gracie's brother, Royce, used to devastating effect as he submitted all his opponents to win the first UFC. Grappling became one of the key components of MMA training and modern fighters cross-train in striking, wrestling and grappling.
The best MMA training programs cover a range of skills. Gone are the days where one-dimensional grapplers submitted strikers with no knowledge of the ground game. While fighters will normally favor one area of fighting, a well-rounded fighter needs to be able to survive in every area of the game or face being overwhelmed outside his comfort zone. Furthermore, he will need to be able to put the separate aspects of the game together in actual MMA sessions.
MMA training programs are often split into the individual components of striking, wrestling, and submission grappling. In addition, you must work on your strength and conditioning. Because of the numerous demands on your time, the best MMA training programs must be efficient. Generally, you will want to focus on the basics, the simple, most high percentage techniques such as the jab and cross, the double leg takedown, and positional work on the ground. You need to ensure that you are training smart and resting as well, otherwise you will be unable to perform to your best.
Trainer Martin Rooney, according to an article on T-nation.com written by Rooney and Bryan Krahn, advises against spending too much time trying to find the ultimate training program. He sees too many fighters attempting to copy a famous fighter's workout in an attempt to emulate them, doing the latest fitness craze or doing endless circuits until they throw up. In his experience, the top fighters and trainers do low volume work, basic strength training and sprint work along with their technical work. In his mind, the keys to a good program are technical work combined with basic strength training and sprinting while also ensuring you get enough rest.