Mixed martial arts or MMA is a full-contact combat sport where fighters are allowed to use one or a combination of boxing, wrestling, grappling and other fighting styles and/or martial arts skills to defeat their opponents.
There are a lot of different sports and techniques you can use to best your opponent in an MMA match, and in this post I’ll talk about using Krav Maga techniques for MMA.
MMA officially began in the USA in the State of Pennsylvania on March 20, 1980; however, due to the violent nature of this sport the Pennsylvania Senate banned the company that runs the MMA competition, CV Productions, and MMA all together through the “Tough Guy Law” or Bill 632.
Since the ban was only in Pennsylvania, the rest of the country picked up where CV Productions left off and UFC 1 was created on November 12, 1993.
More MMA companies and organizers followed CV Productions’ bold endeavor and started competitions with prize money for the winners.
But even before MMA fights started in America the Four Asian Tigers (Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong) have already been running MMA fights in their country since the dawn of the 20th century.
So it’s not completely new.
Now if you’re familiar with Krav Maga and have seen MMA fights, then you know that KM fighters employ their KM skills during fights, but they tone down their attacks and defensive moves to acceptable levels that adhere to the MMA rules in order to not kill their opponents.
Yes, Krav Maga is a very effective self-defense technique, but it is too dangerous if you’ll use it for sport.
This is the reason why MMA organizers discourage KM fighters from using all of their skills when fighting.
MMA Rules and Regulations
Since the MMA has been brought to the attention of American politicians after its first appearance in Pennsylvania it was heavily criticized by them and human rights activists alike.
At one point the sport was banned in most parts of the United States which was spearheaded by the late Senator John McCain calling the MMA “human cockfighting.”
It was not long after when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill legalizing and regulating the sport into law. When this law took effect a myriad of new MMA rules and regulations were also set in place to prevent a fight-to-the-death-like scenario being broadcast live on television.
As a result what you see in UFC and Singapore One sporting events is the watered down version of the original MMA from the 1980s and 1990s.
Here are some of the MMA rules for you to know:
• Attacks to the groin are prohibited.
• Knee strikes to the head whether the opponent is standing or on the ground is against the rules.
• Punching, elbow or knee strikes to the back of the head or spine is also prohibited.
• Head butts are not allowed.
• Gouging your opponent’s eye will get you disqualification warning (if you’ll ignore 3 successive warnings will eventually disqualify you from the fight).
• And so will fish hooking.
• Attacking your opponent’s orifices using your fingers will get you a DQ warning (disqualification) from the referee.
• Biting is not allowed either.
• Pulling of your opponent’s hair is prohibited and it actually makes you look weak, so better not do it if you want to keep your pride.
• Striking or grabbing your opponent’s throat is a no no.
• Attempting to break your opponent’s fingers or toes is prohibited.
• Grabbing the cage or the ring to gain leverage against your opponent and/or to get out of a joint lock is against the rules too.
• Even if you’re exceptionally big or strong that you are more than capable of throwing your opponent outside the cage or ring, you shouldn’t do it as it will get you a DQ as well.
An MMA fighter can only win in a fight via these scenarios:
Decision – a unanimous or split decision may happen in an MMA fight if it finished all the rounds for the bout and a KO, TKO, DQ, Submission, Forfeit or No Contest wasn’t made. The decision will be made based on the judges’ scoring the punches, kicks, elbow and knee strikes of both fighters. Whoever has the higher score wins or, in some cases, the decision is a draw as both fighters have equal scores. Each MMA organizer, company or promotion have their own unique point or scoring system.
Disqualification (DQ) – the referee may disqualify a fighter if he made an illegal move on his opponent. In most cases the fighter will be given 3 chances (3 warning cards) before he will be totally disqualified. If he makes an illegal move after that, then he is automatically disqualified from the fight. On the other hand, if a fighter has made an intentional and illegal move which resulted in an injury of his opponent, then the referee can disqualify him immediately.
Forfeit – if a fighter was injured by accident before the fight begins, then he can forfeit the game and his opponent wins by default.
Knockout (KO) – if a fighter was able to land a blow hard enough to make his opponent lose consciousness, then he will win by the knock out rule.
No Contest – if for some reason both MMA fighters violate the rules, or if one of them gets injured by an illegal, albeit unintentional move from his opponent, then the judges can declare the fight a no contest. This rarely happens in MMA though.
Submission – if a fighter achieves any of the submission holds (e.g. rear naked choke, triangle choke, armbar, guillotine choke, knee bar, kimura and the arm triangle), then his opponent can announce his defeat to the referee by tapping out on his opponent’s body or the mat, or by saying it out loud to the referee. Sometimes the opponent being held in a choke or joint lock might not be able to tap out or speak, because they’ve been incapacitated or lost their consciousness, therefore it is up to the the referee to end the fight.
Technical Knockout (TKO) – the fighter’s corner, doctor or the referee can stop a fight if, as a result of the opponent’s attacks, renders the fighter unable to fight back or defend himself – this is considered a technical knockout. TKOs are the second most common ways on how an MMA fight ends with the first being submission.
Note: Each MMA promotion and/or company have their own unique set of rules and regulations. What is presented here are just the most commonly observed across MMA promotions.
Krav Maga’s Techniques are Far Too Brutal Considering the MMA Rules
If you’ve seen Krav Maga on YouTube videos, or have witnessed it in person, or you’re a Krav Maga practitioner, then you must already know that its brutal tactics have no place in MMA no matter how “badass” you think the MMA is.
In fact, by comparison, the MMA would seem like child’s play compared to Krav Maga used on actual street fights or massive brawls.
For example, in Krav Maga you are taught to focus your most powerful attacks on your opponent’s weakest spots or key pressure points, such as the eyes, nose, chin, throat, testicles, knees, temples, ears and other parts of the body where you can inflict the maximum amount of pain to put your opponent down.
Just a single punch, an elbow strike or knee strike to the groin with enough power could kill your opponent, and what did we just learn on what’s not allowed in MMA?
That’s right! These kinds of moves will end your MMA career instantly, or worse – land you a jail sentence for murder.
Krav Maga does not sugar coat its advertisement – the tactics it teaches is how to end a fight quickly and how to not get yourself injured in a fight – and that means delivering paralyzing attacks to your opponent, which sometimes may result in their disability or death.
Of course, if you used your KM skills in self-defense, you’d be off the hook in court, but not in a game of sport, you’re not.
How the MMA Help Krav Maga Fighetrs Train to be MMA Fighters and not be as Lethal Weapons in the Ring or Cage
When a Krav Maga-trained person joins an MMA fighting competition the MMA company or organizer may require him or her to undergo additional training.
This kind of training is tailored for MMA fighting and, in the KM fighter’s case, it’s actually a step backwards and they train to remove the dangerous moves from the fighting style they’ve known all their lives as a Krav Maga student.
This is needed so that they understand that fighting in MMA doesn’t mean intentionally injuring your opponent, because the goal is to either score points, make your opponent submit, or get a TKO or KO your opponent without seriously injuring him/her.
The KM fighter may undergo this type of training in order to be considered for the MMA:
- Practice 70% on your Discipline and Learn New Skills Too – the MMA promoter may require the KM fighter who wants to join their competition to hire an MMA coach to learn specific MMA moves, so that he will not violate the rules. He may enroll in an MMA gym that offer martial art classes like Brazilian jiujitsu, Muay Thai, or Tae Kwondo along with sparring techniques and boxing. He’ll also learn to adapt his KM moves and merge his new skills with it in order to become a better MMA fighter all the while keeping all the rules in mind. So maintaining 70% of his core discipline and learning 30% new skills is the way to go.
- Increase Endurance Level – in Krav Maga you will be trained to put your opponent down in the most efficient and timely manner. Now if you’ve been in an actual street fight and you’ve succeeded in putting your opponent down in less than 3 minutes, then kudos to your excellent KM skills, but it’s different in an MMA fight. Why? Well, if you’ll look back at the circumstances when you were in a real street fight versus when you’ll enter the octagon cage, you’ll notice that you never had to follow any rules in defeating your opponent when you fought in the streets and it’s quite different when you fight an equally skilled opponent in MMA. Power endurance training, which is the capacity to perform repeated explosive movements near maximal exertion is the key to your success. So train your ability in power endurance and try to reach that level where you can exert a lot of power for most of the time while in a fight and still be able to maintain it for up to 5 rounds or longer. If you can do this, then your chances of winning will increase dramatically.
- Implement Plyometrics – strength, speed, stamina and agility should be at the core of the power of an MMA fighter and we’ve already discussed strength and stamina above on top of developing your core skills as well. Speed and agility go hand-in-hand and if you want to excel in this department, then it would be good if you trained in plyometrics. Plyometrics is also known as jump training or plyos, are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power (speed-strength-agility). Blocking your opponent’s attacks is good, but dodging them and launching successive counter attacks blindingly fast that will catch your opponent off guard would be even better, and that is what agility can do for you.
- Train your Core – the core includes the traverse abdominis (TVA), erector spinae, obliques and your lower lats. These muscles work as stabilizers for the entire body. You can augment the power behind your kicks, punches, and throws if you strengthen your core. Here’s a cool tip in order to achieve this: do bodyweight crunches but instead of increasing the reps incrementally, focus on adding more weight in your training and lessen the reps. In a few months you should be able to see the difference.
- Ditch your Bodybuilding Split – remember that in MMA you’re training to be the best fighter and not to be the best looking fighter. If you’re looking to have a physique like that of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Calum Von Moger, then you should compete in Mr. Olympia and not in MMA, because looking pretty will get you nowhere. So you may not want to get your bicpeps and triceps too huge that they’ll restrict your movements and cause you to become less agile. Instead do weight training that simulates what you do in the ring such as hitting the punching bag, kicking the kicking bag for Tae Kwondo and Muai Thai. Straight-leg deadlifts, close-grip presses and leg presses would be good to enhance grappling, punches and rear naked chokes or any other types of choke holds, which can give you an edge in getting a win by submission, TKO or KO.
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