Most ‘traditional’ martial arts have a specific focus and these arts may be trained to improve in that area. Popular disciplines of each type include:
- Stand-up: Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Karate, Taekwondo, Combat Sambo, Savate, and Sanshou are trained to improve stand-up striking.
- Clinch: Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, Judo, JuJutsu, Sambo, and Sanshou are trained to improve clinching, takedowns and throws, while Muay Thai is trained to improve the striking aspect of the clinch.
- Ground: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, JuJutsu, Sambo, Catch wrestling, Luta Livre and submission grappling are trained to improve ground control and position, as well as to achieve submission holds, and defend against them.
Most styles have been adapted from their traditional forms, such as boxing stances which lack effective counters to leg kicks and the muay thai stance which is poor for defending against takedowns due to the static nature, or Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, techniques which must be adapted for No Gi competition. It is common for a fighter to train with multiple coaches of different styles or an organized fight team to improve various aspects of their game at once. Cardiovascular conditioning, speed drills, strength training and flexibility are also important aspects of a fighter’s training. Some schools advertise their styles as simply “mixed martial arts”, which has become a style in itself, but the training will still often be split into different sections.
While mixed martial arts was initially practiced almost exclusively by competitive fighters, this is no longer the case. As the sport has become more mainstream and more widely taught, it has become accessible to wider range of practitioners of all ages. Proponents of this sort of training argue that it is safe for anyone, of any age, with varying levels of competitiveness and fitness.