Info / Faq

What is Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)?

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is combat sport that incorporates techniques from multiple martial arts disciplines, primarly Brazilian jiu jitsu, wrestling, Muay Thai, and boxing.  With the creation of major MMA promotions, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Bellator, the sport has become the fastest growing spectator sport in the world.

Because MMA incorporates many other martial arts, learning it ensure you get a broad and deep foundation of all the major functional fighting skills: stand up/ striking, takedowns, and grappling.  This provides the most effective combination of skills for self-defense. 

When you learn MMA, you get the benefits of each individual discipline you learn so check out our FAQ on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & Striking above.

Mixed martial arts dates back to the ancient Olympic Games in 648 BC as a sport called pankration, which was the training system used by the Greek army.  Like modern day mixed martial arts, pankration practicioners combined wrestling, boxing, and other skills to defeat an opponent in hand-to-hand combat.  A victory was the result of one competitor quiting (or “tapping” as we call it today) or being rendered unconscious.  The sport of pankration disappeared after Roman Emperor Theodosius I banned the Olympic Games in 292 AD.  

In the early 20th century, the pankration style of fighting reemerged in Brazil and was known as vale tudo which means “anything goes” in Brazilian Portuguese.  Vale tudo was popularized by Gracie brothers Carlos and Helio Gracie who had developed the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (see faq on BJJ History for more info).  

Helio’s eldest son, Rorion Gracie, moved to the US in 1978 and formed the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).  The original goal was to pit fighters of different styles against each other to determine the most effective martial art form.  Royce Gracie used BJJ to dominate the early UFCs despite having a size and athleticism disadvantage.

As the sport of MMA matured, athletes’ ability and exposure to multiple martial arts also matured.  Today, to be successful in MMA, one must be adept at all the major disciplines.  

The benefits of doing MMA include all the benefits of doing each individual sport, plus the value that comes from being able to seemlessly integrate those skills in a real combat situation.  

  • Practical Self-Defense
  • Rapid Weight/Fat Loss
  • Improved Confidence
  • Enhanced Athleticism (strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, condition, muscle tone)
  • Improve Mental Strength and Discipline
  • More Energy
  • Less Stress
  • Better Focus at Work/School
  • Deeper Sleep
  • Better Attitude & Overall Happiness
  • Healthier Lifestyle
  • Meet Lifelong Friends

FAQs

Do I need to be in good shape?

No. You do not need to be strong, flexible, or in particularly good shape to start any of the disciplines of mma.  By practicing mma, bjj, or striking, you will most certainly improve your strength, flexibility, and conditioning (plus balance, coordination, and more), but you do not need to have those traits to begin with.  Of course, it’s always smart to ensure your doctor agrees your health can handle any strenuous activity.

Is Mixed Martial Arts safe?

Yes.  MMA is generally a very safe sport, and safety is a central principle at Team Lima.  Our curriculum, practice methods, and instruction prioritize a safety-first environment.

Are the belt rankings in MMA?

No – MMA is not a stand alone art so there is no belt system for it, but you do earn belt rank in the other disciplines that make up MMA – Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai.

How do I get started?

Getting started is the most difficult step.  But it’s as easy as filling out this form and coming in for a completely FREE trial.  Do it today.  It will help you Unlock Your Potential.

 

Am I too young to start mma? Or too old?

While kids mature and are ready for mixed martial arts at different ages, generally 4 years old is a good target age to start.  Before that age, kids often lack interest or the ability to concentrate for 30-45+ minutes at a time.  Our kids program foundation is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but it also includes striking so both our Lil Champs (age 4-6) and Big Champs (age 7-12) get the well rounded skills mma provides. 

The upper age limit is only confined by ones ability to exercise strenuously.  There are many participants who start late in life.

Can women or kids do mma?

Yes!  Anyone can do mixed martial arts – regardless of sex or age.  BJJ, as one of the primary disciplines of mma, was developed specifically to allow smaller, weaker people to defend themselves against larger, stronger attackers.  It relies on technique and leverage rather than strength and athleticism.  Muay Thia and boxing both have extensive programs around the world for kids and women.  All the disciplines of mma are perfectly suited for women, kids, young and old. Anyone and everyone can participate!

What do I wear for practice?

For your trial, we will lend you everything you need!  Each discipline has different apparel.  For beginner BJJ classes, you will wear a gi (sometimes called a kimono). For your trial, you’ll just want to wear something comfortable to class.  For Muay Thai, you will wear shorts, shirt, gloves, and shin guards. 

 

Why is MMA considered more effective than other arts?

Since MMA is the integration of other martial arts, you benefit from the well-roundedness that integration provides.  Stand alone, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an extremely effective overall fighting system, but it’s strength lies in the ground control techniques.  Muay Thai and boxing are incredibly effective fighting styles, but their strengths lie in stand up techniques.  By combining the best of both, MMA allows  you to be effective at any distance and any position.  You are taking the best of BJJ and combining it with the best of Muay Thai and boxing.  It’s a recipe for success in any hand-to-hand sport or self-defense situation.

 

What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the fastest growing martial art in the world.  It is a sport, self-defense system, and a fitness program. It has proven to be the most practical and effective self-defense system in the world.

It relies on leverage and technique, rather than strength and size so you can defend yourself against much bigger, stronger attackers. As a result, BJJ is a great sport for everyone – including women and kids.

BJJ focuses on grappling and ground fighting with the goal of getting into a position to force an attacker or opponent to submit or give up.

It is also an intense aerobic and anaerobic workout so your overall health and fitness will improve, including your flexibility, strength, cardiovascular fitness, ability to burn fat, and muscular endurance.

Joe Rogan (BJJ Black belt, UFC commentator, podcaster, & comedian) says “Brazilian jiu jitsu is a vehicle for developing your whole life.”  Check out the videos below to see him, Sam Harris and other celebrities (explicit language warning) talking about jiu jitsu – along with some great training and competition footage.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu originated in feudal Japan for samurai to use when they lost their sword. Its objective was to get an armor-clad opponent on the ground in order to kill him with a knife. After war subsided, it became less useful and a variety of styles emerged.

​In the late 1800s, Jagoro Kano consolidated the styles prioritizing practicality and efficiency. He renamed the art Judo.

Kano’s student, Count Maeda, immigrated to Brazil and began teaching judo. Two students, Carlos and Helio Gracie, excelled and further expanded the art with an increased emphasis on street fighting and self defense. What emerged is called Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).

Helio’s eldest son, Rorion Gracie, moved to the US in 1978 and formed the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to showcase BJJ’s effectiveness. Royce Gracie dominated the early UFCs despite having a size and athleticism disadvantage. This accelerated the expansion of the sport, and BJJ has become an essential skill in Mixed Martial Arts.

Many people start jiu jitsu to learn self defense or get in shape, but they quickly learn that it is an addictive sport that can have a profound effect on many aspects of your life.

  • Practical Self-Defense
  • Rapid Weight/Fat Loss
  • Improved Confidence
  • Enhanced Athleticism (strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, condition, muscle tone)
  • Improve Mental Strength and Discipline
  • More Energy
  • Less Stress
  • Better Focus at Work/School
  • Deeper Sleep
  • Better Attitude & Overall Happiness
  • Healthier Lifestyle
  • Meet Lifelong Friends

FAQs

Do I need to be in good shape?

No. You do not need to be strong, flexible, or in particularly good shape to start jiu jitsu. By practicing jiu jitsu, you will most certainly improve your strength, flexibility, and conditioning (plus balance, coordination, and more), but you do not need to have those traits to begin with.  Of course, it’s always smart to ensure your doctor agrees your health can handle any strenuous activity, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu safe?

Yes.  BJJ is generally a very safe sport, and safety is a central principle at Team Lima.  Our curriculum, practice methods, and instruction prioritize a safety-first environment.

What are the belt rankings in BJJ?

The belt order for adults is: White, Blue, Purple, Brown, & Black.  After someone has been a black belt for 30 years, there are special recognition belts of Red/Black, Red/White, & Red that can be attained.

The belt order for kids, until 16 years of age, is: White, Grey, Yellow, Orange, and Green.

This chart depicts the IBJJF belt ranking system that is followed by Team Lima.

How do I get started?

Getting started is the most difficult step.  But it’s as easy as filling out this form and coming in for a completely FREE trial.  Do it today.  It will help you Unlock Your Potential.

 

Why is BJJ considered more effective than other arts?

Jiu jitsu has proven itself in actual 1-on-1 combat situations:  (1) challenge matches, (2) the Ultimate Fighting Championship (Mixed Martial Arts), and (3) the military/law enforcement:

  1. One of the primary methods of advancing the sport during its early development was to issue or accept challenge matches to test the art against other martial artists, fighters, and/or tough guys.  Jiu Jitsu practitioners consistently won those confrontations, and losses or weaknesses that were exposed resulted in adjustments to the sport (less useful moves/positions were changed or eliminated and more effective techniques added).  Here is one example of such challenge match.
  2. Inspired by the challenge matches and subsequent videos, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was created in 1993 by Rorion Gracie, Art Davie, and John Milius to showcase the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Royce Gracie (Rorion’s younger brother) entered the first four UFCs.  Despite being the lightest competitor in all 4 events, he won 3 of them (UFC 1, UFC 2, & UFC 4).  He withdrew from the finals of UFC 3 due to dehydration.  He didn’t lose a match and won 11 consecutive victories by submission, a record that still stands today.  Perhaps the only more meaningful attribution to jiu jitsu is that every Mixed Martial Artist and nearly all serious martial artists now incorporate Brazilian jiu jitsu as a core part of their training program.
  3. The US Army’s Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP) is based largely on brazilian jiu jitsu, and its founder, Matt Larsen, is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

These are evidence of jiu jitsu’s effectiveness, and they are also an explanation for its effectiveness. Most martial arts are based on philosophy or form but Brazilian jiu jitsu has always stressed reality as the ultimate arbiter of effectiveness. By testing the art against others, the sport evolved into one that works in real life situations. This is furthered by the fact that one can practice BJJ in class at nearly 100% – basically in exactly the same way you might do it in real life. Most martial arts are based on powerful, fancy punches or kicks, but you can’t really practice those kinds of strikes at 100%, lest you render your partner unconscious or hospitalized. As a consequence, most martial arts practice in the air (forms), or they hit pads/bags/boards, or it is done at partial speed/power. Neither the air, boards, nor bags hit back. It is almost impossible to know whether or not the kicks would work in a real life encounter, and history has shown us that they often don’t — especially if the attacker/opponent is bigger or stronger. Since BJJ can be practiced at full speed, you constantly get feedback on what works and what doesn’t which allows you to adjust your technique to improve effectiveness.

Am I too young to start jiu jitsu? Or too old?

While kids mature and are ready for jiu jitsu at different ages, generally 4 years old is a good target age to start.  Before that age, kids often lack interest or the ability to concentrate for 30-45+ minutes at a time.

The upper age limit is only confined by ones ability to exercise strenuously.  There are many participants who start late in life (famously, Anthony Bourdain started jiu jitsu at age 56) and many others who participate well into their 80s.

Can women or kids do jiu jitsu?

Yes!  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is for everyone – regardless of sex or age. It was developed to allow smaller, weaker people to defend themselves against larger, stronger attackers.  It relies on technique and leverage rather than strength and athleticism.  This is one of the most empowering aspects of jiu jitsu as you will discover, in live sparring with 100% resistance, that you can overcome larger (stronger, faster, more powerful) opponents by using knowledge (technique).  As such, jiu jitsu is perfectly suited for women, kids, young and old. Anyone and everyone can participate!

How long does it take to get your black belt?

The journey in jiu jitsu is much more rigorous that most other martial arts so when you see a black belt, you know it was earned. Although each person is unique, it generally takes between 8-15 years to reach black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. It takes 9 months – 18 months to go from white to blue belt and then 2-5 years each for the subsequent belts, up to black.

What do I wear for practice?

For your trial, we will lend you everything you need!  For all beginner classes, we wear a gi (sometimes called a kimono). For your trial, you’ll just want to wear something comfortable to class.  

A gi consists of a cotton jacket, reinforced cotton pants, and a belt. It was adapted from the uniforms used in traditional martial arts like karate.

After you’ve gained some experience, you may also decide to practice without the gi. This is called “nogi” jiu jitsu or “submission grappling”. The “nogi” attire consists of fight/board shorts and a rash guard like what is used in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

*Female participants will want to bring/wear an athletic top underneath the gi top.

What is Muay Thai/Boxing??

Boxing and Muay Thai (sometimes called “Thai Boxing”) are both arts that utilize strikes (punches, kicks, elbows, and /or knees) for both offensive and defensive purposes.  Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand and is referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs” because of the 8 points of contact used as weapons: feet, shins, hands, and elbows.

Boxing’s focus in on strikes just using the hands; however, a boxer’s hands are typically more dangerous than a Muay Thai practicioner because in traditional Muay Thai fights, hand strikes do not count towards points.  Another advantage for boxing is the footwork.  Since boxers don’t use their legs for striking, they are able to move around more quickly to evade strikes from their opponents.

Our striking program combines the most practical traits of both disciplines to provide the most effective striking for sport MMA or self-defense situations.

 

Muay Thai

Muay Thai originated in the 13th century in Thailand as a military art designed to aid in the many wars being fought between neighbouring tribes.  It has remained an important part of Thai culture until this day as it’s still the official sport of Thailand.  

Boxing

The earliest evidence of boxing dates back to 3000 BC in Egypt, and it was a staple of the ancient Olypic Games by the late 7th century BC.  With the fall of the Roman Empire, boxing vanished until it reemerged in 17th century England.

It was reintroduced to the modern Olympic Games in 1904.

The benefits of doing Muay Thai and boxing are similar to the benefits of learning BJJ or MMA.

  • Practical Self-Defense
  • Rapid Weight/Fat Loss
  • Improved Confidence
  • Enhanced Athleticism (strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, condition, muscle tone)
  • Improve Mental Strength and Discipline
  • More Energy
  • Less Stress
  • Better Focus at Work/School
  • Deeper Sleep
  • Better Attitude & Overall Happiness
  • Healthier Lifestyle
  • Meet Lifelong Friends

FAQs

Do I need to be in good shape?

No. You do not need to be strong, flexible, or in particularly good shape to start Muay Thai or boxing. By practicing them, you will most certainly improve your strength, flexibility, and conditioning (plus balance, coordination, and more), but you do not need to have those traits to begin with.  Of course, it’s always smart to ensure your doctor agrees your health can handle any strenuous activity.

Is Muay Thai/Boxing safe?

Yes.  Both Muay Thai and boxing are generally very safe sports when practiced properly, and safety is a central principle at Team Lima.  Our curriculum, practice methods, and instruction prioritize a safety-first environment.

Are the belt rankings in Muay Thai?

Rarely do Muay Thai or boxing programs have belt grading systems like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  The World Thai Boxing Association (WTBA) in the US has developed an armband system ranging from white to black and gold that some schools utilize.  At Team Lima, because our striking program is a combination of Muay Thai and boxing, the WTBA system doesn’t apply.

How do I get started?

Getting started is the most difficult step.  But it’s as easy as filling out this form and coming in for a completely FREE trial.  Do it today.  It will help you Unlock Your Potential.

 

Am I too young to start Muay Thai/boxing? Or too old?

While kids mature and are ready for martial arts at different ages, generally 4 years old is a good target age to start.  Before that age, kids often lack interest or the ability to concentrate for 30-45+ minutes at a time.  Our kids program foundation is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but it does include striking from Muay Thai and boxing.  So both our Lil Champs (age 4-6) and Big Champs (age 7-12) get the well rounded skills mma provides.

The upper age limit is only confined by ones ability to exercise strenuously.  There are many participants who start late in life.

Can women or kids do Muay Thai/ boxing?

Yes!  Anyone can do mixed martial arts – regardless of sex or age.  BJJ, as one of the primary disciplines of mma, was developed specifically to allow smaller, weaker people to defend themselves against larger, stronger attackers.  It relies on technique and leverage rather than strength and athleticism.  Muay Thia and boxing both have extensive programs around the world for kids and women.  All the disciplines of mma are perfectly suited for women, kids, young and old. Anyone and everyone can participate!

What do I wear for practice?

For your trial, we will lend you everything you need!  Each discipline has different apparel.  For beginner striking classes, you will wear shorts, shirt, gloves, and shin guards. 

 

Why is Muay Thai / boxing considered more effective than other arts?

The combination of Muay Thai and boxing are the perfect striking art form.  Muay Thai trains you to use all 8 striking appendages – hands, elbows, shins, and knees – while the sweet science of boxing trains you to use great footwork and evasiveness.  

They have both been tested in competition and real-life situations for literally hundreds of years.

 

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