When mixed martial arts first hit the scene with the inaugural Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993, most of the competitors were limited in the martial arts styles they employed. Billed as an event that would show which fighting art was the best, UFC 1 sought to pit individual martial arts against each other, in a sense leaving the “mixed” out of the mixed martial arts equation. Since that time, however, MMA fighters have increasingly added different techniques from different combat forms to their arsenals, resulting in well-rounded competitors who are able to strike just as well as they can grapple.
At the first UFC event, the world saw what jiu-jitsu could do as a relatively small fighter from Brazil, Royce Gracie, used his grappling and submission prowess to defeat accomplished standup fighters, oftentimes ones who had a significant size advantage. After seeing Gracie’s performance, MMA competitors realized that they needed to have jiu-jitsu knowledge if they wanted to be successful in the sport.
Why Learn Muay Thai
But jiu-jitsu isn’t the only fighting art that has made waves in the MMA world. Increasingly, MMA fighters are studying Muay Thai, a brand of kickboxing that originated in Thailand and incorporates not only punches and kicks, but knee and elbow strikes, as well. Learning Muay Thai has become so important that many of MMA’s top names regularly travel to Thailand to train with the sport’s best instructors and practitioners.
Such a journey is not always practical, not only because of the distance that needs to be traveled but the costs associated with such a trek. Yet there are options for the US-based fighter who wishes to learn Muay Thai or improve the skills they already have in the art. As MMA grows in popularity, so too have the number of American training facilities offering instruction in the different techniques needed to win in the cage, including Muay Thai. These can be found not only in high population areas like major cities, like Philadelphia and New York but also in surrounding areas and suburbs.
So if you’re a wrestler or grappler looking to add devastating punches, kicks, and elbows to your list of techniques, or if you’re already well versed in the different aspects of MMA competition but want to brush up on your striking abilities, check out the different gyms in your area. You’ll find that many offer Muay Thai instruction and pretty soon your standup game will be better than ever.