Updated: Nov 25, 2020
The Ancient Times. Part 1 I've always thought that in order to understand where we are going it is necessary to understand where we are coming from. Regarding our sport, Its roots come from a distant past. Despite its recent popularity, as well as the sport with the greatest growth in the last 20 years, MMA is a sport that makes use of all the faculties and parts of the human body. Fighting was the first sport where the fighters were fighting hand-to-hand, the same structure of the human body makes us understand that the trunk is the most powerful and extended part, if we watch children play, they will imitate gestures of grappling, they will roll and push, this because it is an innate instinct in the human being.
The First Testimonies come to us from ancient Greece exactly from the 7th century B.C. where Pankration was practiced, which literally means "All Power" Pan: All , Kratos: Power. Prelude of Every Fight Pankration had very few rules, actually it had exactly two rules: No Bites, No Fingers in the Eyes It was fought with naked hands and the fighters were naked themselves (in fact the word Gymnasium means “place to practice sport” and comes from Greek Word “Gymnos” which means “Naked” with the modern word known as Gym) and fighters were covered in olive oil to avoid abrasion, and it took place until the surrender of one of the two contenders. It was a unique show for the spectators of that time who crowded the arenas and the amphitheatres, the sport was also understood as a great attraction at the Olympics. Sometimes in the pankration fight was included the "Caestus", a form of antique glove made of leather strips but we will talk more about this in the next article about the evolution of the fighting gloves. Who won the pankration matches was not simply a champion but a Hero! As evidence we have a statue "the Boxer at rest" Greek bronze statue from the fourth century before Christ that is in Rome, the Subject a Boxer at rest during a fight is sitting and full of wounds and wearing the caestus, what is very interesting is also the presence of cauliflower ears common feature of many practitioners of wrestling and MMA nowadays. In Ancient Greece, the homeland of Divine Ambition, every warrior chases glory with his own strength, and it was this fame and the extension of the Greek colonies that made the sport known outside of Greece. After the Greeks, the Romans perpetuated the tradition of pankration in their games , and in the training of their troops, but a substantial difference was made by the wearing of the “Zoma” a Strap Of leather to Cover the Pelvic Area. These forms of fighting, even though not very regulated, became bloody and counterproductive. So in Rome Emperor Theodosius The First, banned hand-to-hand combat in 393 A.D.
In Ancient China since the time of the Qin Dynasty 221 B.C., there was a method of combat that combined traditional Chinese martial arts with forms of boxing and wrestling and sometimes even weapons the "leitai" that among all the sports was the most popular. The leitai was a raised square-shaped platform without ropes or obstacles of 7 meters on each side and raised from the ground 1.5 meters, where the fighters challenged each other in various forms of combat. With Chinese boxing, Kung fu, Shuai Jiao a form of wrestling with a reinforced kimono only in the upper body, the Fighters had no protection whatsoever and they won either by surrender or inability to continue the opponent or to be thrown off the platform, there was a referee and judges on each side who were usually the elders of the Village, who simply started the match and declared a winner. The Modern Descendants of this discipline are Sanda and Wushu.
Some Evidence from the 5th Millennium Before Christ (referred to epic poems but written centuries after )tells us that in India there was a Discipline called "MallaYuddha", In Sanskrit, mallayuddha literally translates as "Wrestling fighting". Strictly speaking, the term indicates a single boxing match or prize fight rather than a style or school of wrestling. It is a tatpurusha compound of malla (wrestler, boxer, athlete) and yuddha or juddho (fight, battle, conflict). The compound is attested for the first time in the Epic Poem of Mahabharata referring to boxing matches. The first written attestation of the term mallayuddha is found in the Ramayana epic, in the context of a wrestling match between the Kings for the Dominion of a Region. The Hanuman God was the Protector of this Art, while the God Krishna fights several times defeating his opponents with knees on the chest and Punches to the head, it is said that Siddharta Guatama was also a wrestler, a skilled archer and swordsman before becoming the "Buddha". In addition to these Ancient Cultures we have evidence of similar Disciplines in Ancient Egypt and Japan.