Our program was developed by professional MMA instructors fighters. These classes stress no-nonsense training in all ranges of fighting: kicking, punching, clinching and ground fighting. Students learn stance, footwork and striking techniques, plus defense, grappling, takedowns, tackles, throws, positioning/controls, escapes/reversals and finishes/submissions.
Elite Training Center of Redondo Beach, in the South Bay of California, teaches Mixed Martial Arts as a safe sport with rules, discipline, honor and respect and strength. Training for MMA builds strong bodies and minds. “There is honor in tapping out,” signaling submission in a MMA context.
In addition to teaching Mixed martial Arts as a sport Elite Training Center teaches the practical self-defense techniques associated with Mixed Martial Arts. The strikes and softer techniques such as joint locks can serve to dissuade a potential threat in the streets. Some students use the MMA classes to augment their self-defense training. By the same token, some students use classes like Kickboxing to enhance their MMA combat skills.
As a sport, Mixed Martial Arts is bigger than ever. At Elite Training Center, you can join in our ongoing series of classes taught by MMA and combative professionals. It’s geared towards competition, but accessible to anyone who wants to participate in the world’s fastest-growing sport.
Striking in Mixed Martial Arts is different than striking in any other specific Martial Art. To be successful, an MMA fighter generally has to have a personal blend of several styles, and the fighter must train kickboxing in a way that addresses the constant threat of takedowns and not just train to fight another kickboxer. This changes techniques and footwork and movement to some degree. The evolution of kickboxing and standup fighting within MMA has changed as the sport has grown, and fighters are continuing to change it. The three basic styles that are currently the most successful in MMA are boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai or Thai boxing. The best fighters have an excellent grasp of all three and can combine them in a way that works for their personal strengths.
What Is “Stand Up?”
When we refer to the “stand up” aspect of mixed Martial Arts nowadays, we are not referring to a specific style such as Karate or Tae Kwon Do or boxing although aspects of those arts may be utilized. Many traditional arts were developed for use in combat; most have components of weapon attacks and defenses. When modern “mixed Martial Arts” contests began, fighters usually had a primary background in one of these more traditional styles, so the fights were “wrestler vs. karate,” “boxing vs. Jiu-Jitsu,” etc. As the sport has evolved, vulnerabilities in these traditional styles for MMA purposes were exposed, and as a result fighters began cross-training to fill the holes in their games. Most MMA fighters are now very well-rounded.
Although many MMA fighters still have an area where they are especially skillful and comfortable, they still know enough of the other aspects of a Mixed Martial Arts fight to survive. In contests based in one style, points are scored a certain way and there are many techniques that are illegal. For instance, boxers can stand more sideways and move their heads around a great deal to avoid being hit. But if you add kicking and kneeing, then a pure boxer is extremely vulnerable. By cross-training in several stand-up styles, fighters pick up their strengths of each system and weed out their weaknesses.
Grapplers and wrestlers are also turning to striking arts in order to round out their skill set for the broader rules of Mixed Martial Arts. If you took a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner who has an excellent ground game and put him against a kickboxer who has a great jab and fast feet, it would be difficult for the pure BJJ player to close the distance and take the fight to the ground. Once specialized MMA fighters began to see the holes in their games, they began to seek out more training and knowledge in other arts. For example, the above BJJ player may have sought out a wrestler to teach him takedowns. The kickboxer began training on the ground to develop the skills to escape submissions and reverse positions. And heavily-stylized standup fighters who were skilled in more traditional arts began cross-training their boxing and kickboxing in order to round out their games to deal with other strikers as well as grapplers.
Striking & Mixed Martial Arts
So how does striking in Mixed Martial Arts work? Generally speaking, there are three ranges that MMA fighters must understand and be able to strike from, and the successful fighters can move between these ranges smoothly and effectively. The longest range is a kicking range, where kicks can land, but not hands. Next is the boxing range, where strikes with hands become a factor. And finally we move from the boxing range to the clinch range, where knee and elbow strikes are the primary weapons. There can be some overlap with techniques and ranges, for example, a long knee can be thrown from boxing range with the proper setup and kicks can be thrown from boxing range with some adjustments. If MMA fighters are not able to understand and move between ranges, then they are at a disadvantage.
Standing Styles in MMA
There are several standing styles which are heavily represented in MMA. Three of these are boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai Kickboxing. Muay Thai or Thai boxing is fantastic for Mixed Martial Arts because it is brutally efficient. Kicks are designed to cause a great deal of damage, and the elbow and knee strikes are perfect for MMA. If Muay Thai has traditionally had an area of weakness, it is in the punching techniques. Thais have brought in Western Boxing instructors in the last 20 years or so and Thai fighters have improved dramatically, but here in the United States, many of our Mixed Martial Arts fighters train in boxing at some point in their careers. Boxing teaches head movement and punch avoidance as well as training fighters to hit hard and fast. Footwork is emphasized to get you in and out of range.
Kickboxing is a generalized term for many similar styles from Combat Karate to Dutch Kickboxing. Muay Thai is sometimes categorized here as well. Kickboxers generally have excellent footwork, great hands, and powerful kicks. They are usually only missing the elbow and knee strikes that Muay Thai provides (although some systems do include them). At Elite Training Center, we have instructors who are experienced in each of these heavily represented styles. Many of our instructors also have a background in more traditional styles, so our MMA program is very well-rounded in the striking or stand-up portion as well as in the other aspects of an MMA fight such as takedowns, grappling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and “ground and pound.”
Unique to Striking in MMA
One interesting thing to point out that is unique to striking in MMA is the number of southpaw (left-handed stance) fighters there are in mixed Martial Arts and the UFC. Many traditional striking arts have a stance with the left foot forward for right handed practitioners. This enables the strong right hand to deliver a more powerful punch. But in MMA, a knockout punch isn’t always what the fighter is seeking. Wrestlers traditionally have their right foot and right hand forward for takedowns. The right hand does much more grabbing, so in MMA, where there is both punching and grabbing, more and more fighters prefer to take a southpaw stance. Again this is an example of the evolution of kickboxing and stand-up striking in Mixed Martial Arts.
Striking and standup in MMA is so much more complicated than simply kicking and punching. It has evolved from fighters of specialized styles to a style of its own, taking the best techniques and defenses from many specific arts (such as Western Boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai) that work for the rules and structure of an MMA fight. At Elite, our kickboxing and MMA programs are designed to complement one another so that students can train in either or both seamlessly, progressing and having success in each.
Wrestling in MMA
Mixed Martial Arts has always been about attaining the best skills in each area of fighting: striking, control, and submissions. Throughout the years, a solid wrestler seems to have had an upper hand in big league fights. The ability to control an MMA bout is one of the most sought-out skills in the world of fighting. A successful athlete constantly practices to attain the ability to defend a take-down and keep a match standing in order to use their Muay Thai Boxing skills or get a huge showtime slam to take the fight to the ground. At Elite Training Center, we teach a strong Wrestling base with some Judo throws in order to build students who will dominate wherever the action takes place whether in a competition setting or in a self-defense encounter. Wrestling may seem like a daunting task to a person that has not had prior strength or explosive training through team sports, but at Elite it is always technique vs. strength. It is in the practice of using an opponent’s energy and resistance that truly makes you a great wrestler and in turn an outstanding Martial Artist. Bruce Lee once said to “flow like water,” and we believe that implementing his wisdom into a once barbaric wrestling style makes you all the better.
Kenny Johnson’s BOLT Wrestling: Balancing Techniques
MMA is a blending of techniques from a variety of Martial Arts with the purpose of seamlessly connecting stand-up striking to ground control. MMA takes the most practical, effective, and efficient techniques from Boxing, American Kickboxing, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Collegiate wrestling, Judo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. There are bits and pieces from many other Martial Arts, but the ones listed above are the most dominant. For the stand-up aspect of MMA, techniques from Boxing, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai are the most widely used. Boxing provides head movement, faints, powerful strikes with the fists, head and body defense, as well footwork. American Kickboxing builds on the boxing techniques by adding kicks and additional hand striking. Muay Thai kickboxing brings all the stand-up techniques together by adding elbow strikes, knee strikes, devastating kicks, kick defenses, sweeps, and the clinch.
Before the Submission
Before you can submit your opponent or strike them on the ground you need to get them to the ground. Two of the most effective Martial Arts for taking down an opponent are Judo and Greco Roman Wrestling. Once you have entered the clinch, wrestling and Judo become extremely important. Judo provides a solid base that allows you to perform a variety of hip throws and leg sweeps. Wrestling gives you the tools to control your opponent against the cage, take them down with double or single leg set ups, and defend against takedown attempts.
After the Submission
Once you have taken the fight to the ground, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu provides you with the ability to control the position of your opponent so you can set up powerful “ground and pound” combatives as well as the ability to set up fight ending submissions. Defensively, Jiu-jitsu will help set up sweeps and reversals that can change the outcome of a fight in a matter of seconds.
The Fastest Growing Sport in the World
MMA has become a well-known and highly respected sport over the past decade with the rise in popularity of organizations such as Pride, Strikeforce, UFC, and Bellator. MMA fighters command huge salaries as well as major endorsements. In 2006, the UFC’s gross Pay-Per View totals far surpassed all other PPV events to that date. Why is MMA appealing to so many people? It’s a fact that people all over the world like watching other people fight. How was MMA able to surpass the popularity of boxing? Boxing follows a discriminating set of rules while MMA pits two people against each other in the purest form of hand to hand combat.
The Modern MMA Program
Unlike most traditional Martial Arts that have an unchanging curriculum and rigid structure, Mixed Martial Arts has become so popular because it is always evolving and adapting. If you look at a UFC fight from 1993 and a fight from 2013, the styles and techniques are so different that it’s hard to even compare them at all. MMA has evolved more rapidly than other professional sports and will continue to do so because every time two fighters step in the ring the current techniques are put to the test. If it works, it will continue to be used. If it fails, that technique will become obsolete. If a technique is effective, someone will find a counter. MMA is the perfect framework for seeing what techniques are actually successful against another trained opponent.
Jiu-Jitsu in MMA
The sport of Mixed Martial Arts and the reigning king of MMA entertainment, the UFC, can trace its roots in America directly back to the Martial Art known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. To give a brief overview of Jiu-Jitsu’s relevance in MMA, we will have to start at the beginning.
The story begins with Mitsuyo Maeda, a Martial Arts prodigy from Japan who used a combination of Judo and classical Japanese “Jujitsu” to win countless Judo and “No Holds Barred” matches. Mitsuyo finally settled in Brazil where he began to teach his Martial Arts skills to what has become the first family of BJJ, the Gracies. Carlos Gracie soon opened his own academy and issued the famous Gracie challenge, inviting all fighters to try to beat the Gracies in no holds barred matches. The Gracies were victorious in these matches and even developed new techniques with the emphasis on the need for the moves to work “in real fighting.”
Jiu-Jitsu Moves to the U.S.A.
The Gracies eventually made their way to the United States and were instrumental in creating the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Royce Gracie showed in the early days of the UFC that a smaller man could beat a much bigger and stronger one with the techniques of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This art was focused mostly on the ground and used leverage and skill to make opponents “tap out.” Royce Gracie made terms like “Arm Bar” and “Rear Naked Choke” into common names. These submission techniques use your body to manipulate someone’s joints into a painful position or cut off oxygen or blood flow until the opponent yields the match.
Although it has had its rough patches, the sport of MMA eventually exploded in America. The UFC is very prominent and the sport of BJJ is growing in popularity as well. There are some very high-level BJJ fighters doing very well in MMA like Demian Maia and Ronaldo Jacare Souza, but the fact remains that every single person competing in MMA has had some sort of training or experience in BJJ because without it they would not last.
At Elite Training Center we offer Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA training with the emphasis on the sport application of these techniques in training and for real world solutions in self-defense scenarios. Most people have never experienced what it’s like to fight on the ground and how to use your arms and legs correctly to sweep your opponent or use a fight-ending submission. The ability to fight from your back, the guard, and its many variations is essential for any combatant in a cage or ring and in the worst-case scenarios of street fighting or self-defense. Jiu-Jitsu teaches you how to move fluidly, conserve energy, and defend yourself or even attack from what may look like a bad position on the ground to the uninformed.
The landscape of today’s Mixed Martial Arts competitions encompasses a broad spectrum of fighting styles, from Western Boxing and Muay Thai for standing and striking, to a blend of wrestling styles to get the fight to the ground. But Jiu-Jitsu is still the go-to method of defense and attack once the fight hits the floor. Although it may seem intimidating to roll around on the ground while fighting, at Elite Training Center it is done in a controlled and friendly environment under the supervision of talented and helpful instructors. It is an amazing workout as well, involving muscles you may not be used to using, and it helps greatly with breath control and cardiovascular endurance.
If you decide to journey into the world of mixed Martial Arts at Elite, you will receive high-level technical instruction in striking and wrestling and there will always be an emphasis on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu because it is one of the cornerstones of MMA. The classes are meant for teaching proper technique and the skills and lessons learned will be useful in and out of the cage.