History of MMA

What we think of today as Mixed Martial Arts is a relatively young endeavor. But the roots of this exciting combative sport reach back to ancient times.


While many classes taught at Elite Training Center teach “mixed martial arts” in the sense of a combination of several martial arts such as Krav Maga and LOTAR®, Elite Training Center is pleased to offer hands-on courses in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) for both adults and youth.

History of MMA Elite Training CenterA Long History

In 648 B.C.E., the Greeks added pankration (meaning all powers) to the Olympic Games. This was the first mixed martial arts fight. Fighters had no rules. Those Greek mixed martial arts fights ended only when one competitor was knocked out or submitted by raising his hand. These fights could go on for hours. The fights occurred in a square, small ring, forcing close quarter combat. Techniques included strikes, choke holds, elbow strikes, knee strikes, joint locks, and kicks. This sport fell out of favor with the decline of the Greek civilization until it was resurrected in the 20th century in Brazil in the 1920’s when Brazilian Jujitsu was developed and the sport of mixed martial arts was reborn. Many believe that the Greek mixed martial arts made their way to Asia where they became the catalyst for Asian martial arts.

In the early 1980’s, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu came to California where it became popular and spawned the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993. The “no-holds-barred” style was fought in an octagon cage, but then evolved to make the sport a much safer, “cleaner” affair with actual rules, judges, time limits, and weight classes. This new style of Mixed Martial Arts is currently the fastest growing sport in the United States.

A Fusion of Styles

Modern MMA competition became popular in the United States in 1993 with advent of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. MMA has evolved from real combat situations to a more controlled sport to increase safety. Mixed Martial Arts is now a full contact combat sport that allows a wide variety of fighting techniques taken from traditional martial arts techniques such as boxing, Muay Thai kickboxing, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. MMA rules allow most striking and grappling techniques from standing or ground positions. Rules prohibit some of the techniques taught in LOTAR enhanced Krav Maga, such as groin strikes and eye gouges, for the safety of the participants.

Mixed Martial Arts techniques include striking (such as kicks, knees and punches) and grappling (such as clinch holds, pinning holds, submission holds, sweeps, takedowns and throws). MMA competitors cross-train in a variety of styles to counter their opponent’s techniques. While Mixed Martial Arts was initially practiced almost exclusively by competitive fighters, this is no longer the case. As the sport has become more mainstream and more widely taught, it has become accessible to a wider range of practitioners of all ages.

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