In 648 BC, pankration was included in the Olympic programme. Pankration was a mixture of Greek boxing and wrestling. Pankration quickly became the most popular sport at the Olympic Games and in the Greek world. Standing punches were allowed, but most fights were decided on the ground, where different types of locks and punches were allowed.
Modern Mixed Martial Arts (MMA ) has its origins in the Vale Tudo martial art (few rules), which became popular in Brazil from 1925. The sport became internationally known in 1993 in association with the Ultimate Fighting Championship 1 (UFC) MMA encompasses all distances of unarmed combat and is based on sparring and tournaments. The aim is to introduce as few rules as possible without compromising safety and avoiding serious injuries. The styles that contribute techniques to MMA are boxing (kickboxing and Muay Thai), wrestling (freestyle and Greco-Roman styles) and Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ). Most MMA fighters fall into one of the three categories above. The goal of a ground fight (Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Sambo) is to take the fight to the ground and try to force the opponent to give up. The groundfighter is the closest thing to a pure grappler in MMA. This tactic is called, among other things. “mission submission”. The wrestler’s forte is takedowns, and he usually follows a strategy of taking his opponent to the ground in a dominant position and striking from there. This tactic is called “Ground ‘n Pound”. The boxer’s goal is to keep the fight going in order to win by knockout. The boxer tries to counter takedowns with a so-called sprawl. This technique is called “Sprawl’n Brawl”. In MMA there are four forms of competition: Vale Tudo – These rules allow punches and kicks in both standing and ground fighting. This makes it the most difficult of the three and only suitable for advanced amateurs and professionals. Shootfighting – The rules allow punches and kicks in standing combat, but not in ground combat, where only breaking and locks are allowed. This type of rule is ideal for amateurs. Submission Wrestling – The rules do not allow punches and kicks. The goal is to block the opponent with different types of locks. These rules are usually used by beginners. The rules of Brazilian jiu jitsu (fighting with a Gi) are the same as in Submission Wrestling, here the fighter wears a Gi, which can also be used as a weapon in various locks. These rules apply to both new and advanced fighters.