Martial arts are a sport that combines a variety of different methods of combat. In some cases, martial arts are used only for use, in other cases, they are used in head-to-head combat, in generally controlled situations, such as matches or shows. Because martial arts includes a variety of different styles, it is normal when a person thinks of them, that they think of one specific types, for example, karate.
However, there is more to martial arts than just karate. For instance, Karate is a stand up style of the art, in which Kung Fu, San Shou, Tae Kwon Do, Wushu, Kray Maga, Kickboxing, and Boxing also belong. When focusing on styles such as these, also known as stand u styles, blocking, kicking, and punching are the foremost focus when it comes to these forms of arts.
Another style of the arts is called grappling or ground fighting. These are forms of wrestling, that includes the martial art practices of Greco-Roman wrestling, Sambo, Shoot fighting, Shooto, and Brazilian Jujitsu.
Yet another style is what is called throwing styles, in which an opponent attempts to unbalance the other by using means of locks, trips, or throws. Within this style, arts such as Hapkido, Shuai Jiao, Aikido, and Judo reside.
For weapons based martial arts, these are arts performed using weapons, and for the most part are only used during cultural and traditional displays, though Kali is still used as an effort of self-defense and combat. Arts within this category include Kendo, Lado, and Kali.
Not all martial art styles are used for combative purposes today, even if they were originally designed for that purpose. Now, many are instead used for exercise, relief of stress, internal energy, and breathing. Some of these meditative or low impact styles include the arts of Chi Gong, Ba Gua, and Tai Chi.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
What happens when you combine techniques from the different forms of martial arts? You get what is called Mixed Martial Arts, which is also commonly known as MMA. Mixed Martial Arts is a combination of a variety of styles of the art, in which opponents attempt to overpower the other using a variety of techniques.
While it is a combination of a variety of techniques, the most popular techniques are those in stand up styles, clinch styles, and ground styles. Most fighters focus on a particular skill, but must have training in all skills to be successful. It is more common for fighters to have a variety of coaches that train for the various phases of combat, it is not common place nowadays for a fighter to specialize in one specific area of combat.
Because mixed martial arts is a recognized sport, with two specific organizations, the PRIDE Fighting Championships and the Ultimate Fighting Championship, there are rules and regulations.
For example, weight classes are a requirement in these rules, they pair like weights with other like weights to make fights more fair. In these rules there are a variety of fouls and penalties as well. These rules were designed to eliminate the picture of barbaric fighting, in which two people fight to the death, as many people once believe mixed martial arts to be. These fouls were designed to protect the fighters. Penalties are awarded to the fighter for fish hooking, biting, pulling hair, gouging eyes, and head butting.
Attacks to the groin is illegal in mixed martial arts, as well as strikes to the kidneys, spinal area, and the back of an opponents head. The trachea is off limits as well, a fighter may not grab or strike the trachea of the opponent. Joint manipulation, such as toes and fingers, is allowed. There are many rules, this area has only touched the surface, but you can basically get the idea that mixed martial arts is a controlled and very regulated sport, designed for the physical fitness and enjoyment of the sport, with the health of the fighter in mind.
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