1 History of Mixed Martial Arts
The idea of melting different kind of martial arts is not a new one. Before modern weapons were invented and integrated into warfare, each culture – no matter if western or eastern countries – had to develop its own way of fighting. Otherwise the chance of survival was more than doubtful. At the same time competitions evolved from different cultures – so martial arts were used for …
✔ strengthening fighters and soldiers in times of war,
✔ entertainment in times of peace.
So history of MMA is a history of different martial arts from all around the globe. The only reason why the arts of war are associated with Asia is that Asian countries have trained their martial arts more than the Western world – and thereby saved them from oblivion. Asian people passed knowledge and abilities on from generation to generation while the West has forgotten its skills in hand-to-hand fighting as soon as they’ve put their hands on firearms.
1.1 Examples of the early martial arts
The great pyramids of Egypt present hieroglyphics bringing proof to the fact that Egyptians already trained martial arts five millennia ago – and so do different mural paintings in the tombs along the Nile. Even the soldiers of Mesopotamia (3,000 to 2,300 BC) knew technics of “empty hands”.
Boxing, wrestling and further competition sports were essential part of the Greek Olympics until 7th century. Pankration – an ancient Greek kind of sports that can be translated as “all of might“ – completed the Olympic Games in 648 BC. Roman gladiators belonged to the first pankration fighters; they combined the technics of boxing and wrestling.
1.2 Martial arts of Asia
Historical evidence and artefacts give proof of martial arts developing 200 years BC.
➥ Siam (now: Thailand)
Muay is an art that was used to be known as an approved warfare before developing into a spectacular way of entertainment. Muay contests became an important part of local festivities and of royal amusements. Today it is called “muay thai” and it’s the national sport of Thailand. It falls into line with many international boxing events but in the early stages there were hardly any security rules. In the end, there are still many MMA underground fights without rules in Thailand.
Apart from China Japan belongs to the most important originating countries of Asian martial arts: karate, kempo, jiu-jitsu, judo, aikido – just to mention a few. However, Japan also looks back upon a long tradition of MMA as MMA fights had been very popular in Japan, Europe and Brazil at the beginning of the last century: Japan sent its best jiu-jitsu masters into the world to fight against successful boxers.
➥ The Philippines
The Filipinos knew many different kinds of martial arts and competitions, e. g. panatukan (boxing), dumog (wrestling), sikaran (kickboxing) and the weapon-based arts of kali and escrima. They used to fight with swords until the Americans invaded the Philippines in the year 1898. It was not before the 1930s that duels turned to full contact rounds being fought with rattan sticks. At close range also elbows, knee and throws are employed.
The Philippine fights closely resembled the modern MMA, however, the fighter held a stick in his right hand while he was boxing with his left hand. To win the fight one of the opponents had to die or at least to be unable to fight on. Those events were brought to Hawaii by Philippine immigrants. In 1959 Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States and many kali and escrima fighters immigrated to California where they were able to earn much more money with boxing.
1.3 The influence of Brazil and the United States
The United States of America have always been known as a melting pot of different cultures. So they also look back upon a long history of martial arts and combat sports: Even George Washington, the first president of the United States, was involved in Irish collar & elbow wrestling fights. Other presidents as Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt used to practice an American style of wrestling.
At the end of the 19th till the beginning of the 20th century a lot of professional wrestling and “all-kinds-of” fighters appeared to travel from funfair to funfair to entertain the crowd. They mixed American wrestling, European collar & elbow as well as Lancashire wrestling with Japanese jiu-jitsu and Indian pehlwani to a style that reminded of those street fights of the early 1700th: Allowed was
✘ pushing eyes
✘ deep hits
✘ and more
There were no rules at all. To win you had to knock your opponent unconscious or to tap him out.
Bruce Lee was also meant to have a big influence on the development of the modern MMA: In the 1960s/1970s he created a mixed martial arts consisting of kung fu, boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, muay thai as well as other fighting technics and named it “Jeet Kune Do”. Bruce Lee was one of the first fighters practicing MMA in America.
With the 1980s also Brazil began to influence the further development of MMA in the United States:
Brazil is known as the place of birth of vale tudo freefights – in English: “all is possible“. It’s about competitions to detect the best of all martial arts as well as the best fighters. And so opponents of different styles came together:
✦ Brazilian jiu-jitsu,
✦ luta livre,
✦ muay thai.
At the beginning of the 20th century Mitsuyo Maeda, master of the art of judo, emigrated from Japan to Brazil to establish a Japanese colony. He made friends with the Gracie family and taught his judo to the family’s son Carlos Gracie. One day Carlos Gracie and his brother Helio started to run a jiu-jitsu school in Rio de Janeiro. They organised open fight contests in more than 1,000 freestyle vale tudo fights. In the 1980s Rorion Gracie, the eldest son of Helio, moved to the United States to introduce the highly controversial “Gracie challenge” with his brothers. But it was not before the establishment of the “Ultimate Fighting Championship“ (UFC) with Art Davie and Bob Meyrowitz that the Gracie sons succeeded in bringing the Gracie jiu-jitsu to America.
1.4 Martial Arts in Europe
So MMA spread from the Ancient Greece to Brazil and from Brazil to the United States of America. It was influenced by Asian – especially by Japanese – martial arts. The Netherlands belonged to the first European countries discovering the mixed martial arts; Germany followed a decade later.
Finally the so-called mixed fight galas were introduced at the beginning of the 1990s: Opponents of different martial arts came together, e. g. to fight
✔ several kickboxing tournaments
✔ followed by various boxing fights
✔ as well as different MMA fights.
In 1994 the Free Fight Association – the first MMA association in Germany – organised a pure MMA event in Germany; further events followed in Austria and Switzerland. However, the description “free fight“ was misleading as there were rules each fighter had to observe. And so the way was cleared for the international term of “MMA“.
In the year 2000 the persons in authority decided to adjust their own rules to the worldwide accepted “Unified Rules of MMA“. Nine years later a committee consisting of
➥ international experts of martial arts,
➥ K1 as well as MMA organisers
created the “International Rules of MMA“ based on the FFA set of regulations. This draft also included rules and experiences of
➥ the GBA,
➥ the IPTA,
➥ the MTBD,
➥ the WKA,
➥ the WKN,
➥ the FFA,
➥ the FFA Swiss,
➥ the Shidokan Karate
➥ as well as different other boxing associations.
From now on the “International Rules of MMA“ applied for Austria, Czechia, France, Switzerland and Germany. They are standard for all kinds of MMA tournaments – no matter if pro or amateur sports.
Since 2005 MMA enjoys a rising public interest as well as a higher attentiveness of the media. This might be attributed to various events of the UFC and the success of German associations.
2 Why MMA Berlin?
2.1 Technics of Martial Arts Berlin
“Mixed martial arts – brutal fights“, “MMA still discussed – punches till breach of taboo“ … that’s how the sensational headlines of modern news magazines sound. MMA seems to be for people tired of life or at least completely insane. However, reality is much more unspectacular:
It’s true, MMA was meant for trials of strength – no rules, no limits. But history of various kinds of martial arts gives proof to the fact that MMA doesn’t differ from other, maybe more accepted martial arts styles, e. g. kung fu: Kung fu masters used to fight till death just to achieve the right to establish a new or take over an existing school. Over time rules were added to save life and health of the competitors … just as it happened with mixed martial arts.
So let’s cancel the catch line ”till breach of taboo“. The decision for MMA Berlin lessons doesn’t mean entering an underground fight club – on the contrary:
✔ The lessons adapt to the skills and knowings of the single fighters. It’s built on individual learning processes and the requirements rise with the progressions of the pupils.
✔ MMA Berlin offers a perfect opportunity to get rid of school stress, everyday work and other problems instead of venting one’s anger on someone else.
✔ MMA combines effective technics of different martial arts styles. So a variant of close combat developed that proves successful not only theoretically but also in real situations requiring self-defense skills.
✔ Mixed Martial Arts Berlin brings like-minded people together. Find more social contacts and interesting friendships.
✔ Tournament rules, weight categories and safeties guarantee fair and safe combats. The risk of injuries is not higher than e.g. in boxing fights.
✔ However, MMA Berlin remains a challenging full contact type of sport bringing the fighter to his limits – and maybe a bit further. It leads to an interior growth.
✔ “Thugs“ definetely don’t belong to the target group of MMA Berlin – persons ready to use violence on the streets are not welcome.
2.2 Physical conditions
Who thinks of MMA fighters often thinks of muscly guys wrestling highly concentrated and intense. MMA Berlin indeed requires a certain fitness and condition; and of course muscle power can’t hurt as well.
This is why beginners sometimes consider if it might be a good idea to start with another martial arts before learning MMA Berlin. And indeed: A lot of pro athletes devote themselves to those martial arts that are included in our MMA Berlin. They’re training e.g.
➨ a grappling martial art once or twice a week: wrestling, judo or Brazilian jiu-jitsu
➨ and a striking art also once or twice a week: muay thai, kickboxing, boxing, karate or taekwondo
There’s no need for it as long as you are a recreational athlete because Mixed Martial Arts Berlin already consists of chosen technics from
● the jiu-jitsu
● the Brazilian jiu-jitsu
● the boxing
● the wrestling
● the muay thai
as well as special grappling and striking technics of MMA Berlin. You see, the programme is well covered and can just be supplemented – but this is not essential.
As there are special weight categories, a fighter of MMA Berlin doesn’t necessarily need the physique of a bodybuilder – of course there are no objections to an additional fitness programme. That’s at your own discretion.
Due to the physically challenging fights, most MMA classes demand a minimum age to participate. That might range from 14 to 18 years – but sometimes also younger kids are allowed to train and wait with fighting situations until they’re a bit older. MMA Berlin would like to inform you about its concrete conditions of participation.
People with diseases who would like to participate in Mixed Martial Arts Berlin should
a) consult the attending physician before
b) inform MMA Berlin about present diseases and handicaps.
A disease doesn’t necessarily have to be a knock-out criterion but chronic health condition need the special attention of master and participant.
Last, but not least: Girls wanted! Martial arts just as MMA isn’t only for male fighters – nowadays, there are very successful female fighters as well – and hopefully there are many, many more to come!