A theory of Mixed Martial Arts
For the longest time the sport of MMA has been misdescribed as an ECLECTIC sport. A means of fighting that is a mix of various sport martial arts such as Western boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, jiu jitsu and others. This is to see MMA a patchwork of various styles sewn together. A much better way to understand it is to see it as four distinct skill sets
1 Shoot fighting: The skill of striking and takedowns in open position
2 Clinch fighting: The skill of striking and takedowns whilst locked in a standing clinch
3 Fence fighting: The skill of striking and takedowns whilst propped on the fence
4 Grapple fighting: The skill of striking, positional exchange and submission whilst on the ground. Each one of these skill sets derives much of its content from various sport martial arts. For example, ground fighting borrows much from jiu jitsu and wrestling, along with striking technique that can be derived from Muay Thai and boxing. It is crucial to understand however, the skill of ground fighting in MMA TRANSCENDS the various martial arts that form its base. Throwing elbows and punches on the ground is a very different action from doing so in standing positions and clinches, so the punches and striking strategy of boxing and Muay Thai must be greatly modified. Submission set ups may be derived from BJJ, but applying them in an MMA context will require extensive modifications. ONCE YOU START ADDING NEW ARTS AND SKILLS, THE OVERALL SKILL SET YOU ARE PRACTICING CHANGES DRAMATICALLY, UNTIL IT BECOMES A NEW, AUTONOMOUS SKILL THAT TRANSCENDS ITS VARIOUS SUBSIDIARY SKILLS AND IS ULTIMATELY QUITE DISTINCT FROM THEM. This is true in all four of the foundational skill areas of MMA. once you grasp this, you see MMA for what it is - AN AUTONOMOUS MARTIAL ART COMPRISED OF FOUR MAIN SKILL SETS, EACH OF WHICH IS HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY, YET DISTINCT FROM, ITS VARIOUS COMPONENT ARTS. Each of the four skill sets transcends and stands alone from the various arts that form its foundation. Getting this vision of MMA through to new fans of the sport will help them in understanding the nuances of the action and appreciate all four domains of the sport.