The History of MMA II

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

The Middle Ages. Part 2 For many centuries in the Middle Ages, the traces of a sport that included Striking and Grappling techniques together, at least in the Western world, were lost. In Asia there are testimonies of Contact Martial Arts and one in particular was born in the Empire of Pyu (later Kingdom of Burma and Current Myanmar) from 2sec A.D. to Our Days but widely spread in medieval age the "Lethwei". This style imposes kicks, punches, knees, elbows, and head butts, the matches had no time limit and they fought in the sand without any protection until one of the fighters was knocked out or surrendered.

In the Kingdom of Siam today Thailand, the Muay Boran was a sport developed as a precursor of the modern Art of 8 limbs Muay Thai. The first evidence dates back to the 16th century where this art was used to train troops in combat, including punches, kicks, elbows, knees and throws, the efficiency and spectacularism of this style, who used hemp ropes wrapped in his hands and forearms with knots on his knuckles the” Muay Khat Cheauk” , was such to influence similar disciplines in the neighboring countries with the arts of Tomoi in Malaysia, Pradal Serey in Cambodia, Muay -Lao in Laos and a style totally dedicated to the military forces and still in use today by the Thai army Muay -Lerd Rit , but we will talk about it in more detail in the next articles.

A period of Interstice match.

The first to launch this fashion were the French, The middle of the 19th century saw the emergence of the new Savate sport in the circle of combat sports. The French Savate fighters wanted to test their techniques against the traditional fighting styles of their time. Savate is a style of kicks and punches where kicks were applied only with the foot, but covered with shoes, in fact savate means in French “old shoe or boot”. In 1852, a competition was held in France between the French savateur and the English bare-handed boxers in which the French fighter Rambaud, alias the Resistance, fought the English fighter Dickinson and won with his kicks. However, the English team also won the other four match-ups during the match. They also challenged Japanese karateka and judoka, as well as professional boxers, with mixed results. Catch Wrestling born in 1870 by J.G. Chambers and initially called "Catch as catch Can" was an English discipline that combined a series of English wrestling styles from Lancashire, Cumberland & Westmorland and Devonshire, the Irish style of “collar and elbow“ and also techniques from the Indian discipline of “Pehlwani”. They began to challenge every discipline to improve their techniques and will be fundamental in the modern MMA training. But the most illustrious Inter style match was the one in the United States, the first big fight between a boxer and a wrestler in modern times took place in 1887 when John L. Sullivan, then heavyweight boxing world champion, stepped into the ring with his trainer, wrestling champion William Muldoon, and was knocked on the canvas in two minutes. In 1898 an English pioneer engineer who had lived in Japan, Edward William Barton-Wright, invented Baritsu by combining catch wrestling, judo, boxing, savate, jujutsu and canne de combat (French stick fighting) techniques, also mentioned in Sir Doyle's Stories in his Sherlock Holmes is the first example of a true mixed martial art. He had a decade of success in the suburbs of London with his own Gym and some tournaments ,but was abandoned and rediscovered as a style in the 2000s. Later the Japanese created tournaments called "merikan" from the slang of American where mixed fighting could be carried out matches that ended in submission or knock out. In Russia around 1920 a new style of Sambo was successful, combining Judo techniques, wrestling and striking in a new way, in the same year in Brazil the movement of Vale Tudo "Everything Goes" bare-knuckle fighting with very few rules and all the admitted styles that will inflame his nation and that will be of fundamental importance for Modern MMA, we will discuss in depth in the next articles. In 1951 we find a great match that will be the crossroads of modern martial arts between Masahiko Kimura against Hélio Gracie, fought in Brazil between the judoka Masahiko Kimura and the founder of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Hélio Gracie. Kimura defeated Gracie using a gyaku-ude-garami armlock, which later became known as the "Kimura" in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Between the 60s and 70s a certain Bruce Lee with his Discipline the Jeet Kune Do carries on a fundamental principle still recognized today as one of the pillars of the MMA culture, the concept of being as adaptable as water. In fact Lee believed that "the best fighter is not a boxer, a karateka or a Judo man. The best fighter is someone who can adapt to any style, be shapeless, adopt an individual's style and not follow the style system". In 1976 we have a Historical Boxing Champion Muhammed Ali match against Antonio Inoki Legendary Japanese Wrestler all played in Japan with a draw after a battle of 15 rounds, the match inspired Inoki students Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki to found the Pancrase in 1993, which in turn inspired the foundation of the Pride Fighting Championships in 1997. In 1985 the Shooto was born in Japan.

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