A father of two single handedly fights off five robbers who were armed with machete swords. 55-year-old sales manager David Pugh was sound asleep when a gang of thugs stormed his house in Solihull, West Midlands, wielding machetes, baseball bats and golf clubs.
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Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport that allows both striking and grappling, both standing and on the ground, using techniques from other combat sports and martial arts. The first documented use of the term mixed martial arts was in a review of UFC 1 by television critic Howard Rosenberg in 1993. The term gained popularity when newfullcontact.com, then one of the largest websites covering the sport, hosted and republished the article. The question of who actually coined the term is subject to debate.
During the early 20th century, various mixed-style contests took place throughout Japan, Taiwan and in the countries of the Four Asian Tigers. In 1980 CV Productions, Inc. created the first regulated MMA league in the United States, named Tough Guy Contest, later renamed Battle of the Superfighters. The company sanctioned ten tournaments in Pennsylvania. However, in 1983 the Pennsylvania State Senate passed a bill prohibiting the sport. In 1993 the Gracie family brought Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, developed in Brazil from the 1920s, to the United States by founding the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) MMA promotion company and implemented a different set of rules (example:eliminates kicking a grounded opponent) unlike other leagues which are more favorable of realistic fights.
Originally promoted as a competition to find the most effective martial arts for real unarmed combat, competitors from different fighting styles were pitted against one another in contests with relatively few rules. Later, individual fighters incorporated multiple martial arts into their style. MMA promoters were pressured to adopt additional rules to increase competitors’ safety, to comply with sport regulations and to broaden mainstream acceptance of the sport. Following these changes, the sport has seen increased popularity with a pay-per-view business that rivals boxing and professional wrestling.
Over 6,000 years ago the earliest form of a mixed martial art was invented in ancient China by Han Chinese military generals and soldiers called Shuai jiao. It is an ancient style of Wrestling and Kung-Fu that incorporated grappling techniques that are the earliest ancient precursors of modern jujitsu and judo combined with kicking, punching, throwing, joint locks, finger locks, leg sweeps, leg locks and close range trapping techniques used by elite ancient Han Chinese military forces to kill enemy soldiers on the battlefield.
In Ancient Greece there was a sport called pankration, which featured a combination of grappling and striking skills similar to those found in modern MMA. Pankration was formed by a combination of the already established wrestling and boxing traditions and, in Olympic terms, first featured in the 33rd Olympiad in 648 BC. All strikes and holds were allowed with the exception of biting and gouging, which were banned. The fighters, called pankratiasts, fought until someone could not continue or signaled submission by raising their index finger; there were no rounds. According to E. Norman Gardiner, ‘No branch of athletics was more popular than the pankration.' From its origins in Ancient Greece, pankration was later passed on to the Romans.