Modern Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competition has its roots in contests between practitioners of different fighting arts to determine which art was the most effective. These sorts of challenges had taken place sporadically for years, examples being the Gene Lebell-Milo Savage match in 1963 or the Gracie Challenge matches in Brazil. The advent of the first Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993 began an era where viewers could watch an ongoing series of full-contact matches between martial artists striving to defeat each other using all the tools of unarmed combat – punches, kicks, throws, pins, joint locks, and chokes. In the beginning, fighters tried to prove the superiority of their respective arts – karateka fought boxers, jiu-jitsu practitioners battled kung fu experts, savateurs kicked the teeth out of sumo wrestlers.
Over time, this changed. Fighters watched what was happening and realized that certain techniques, tactics, and principles consistently worked in competition and others did not. Instead of adhering to the traditions of their individual arts, they began cross-training in whatever worked. Strikers learned to grapple. Grapplers learned to strike. The MMA arena became the ground for a technical arms race as competitors worked to refine the most effective techniques and training methods.
The primary foundations of modern MMA are built on boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Individual competitors may bring in elements of other styles, such as karate, judo, or sambo. Effectiveness counts for more than stylistic purity.
Four Seasons Martial Arts is home to the Carlson Gracie Kentucky MMA team. Our students have been highly successful in both amateur and professional competition.