Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is one of the largest growing sports in the world. It all began with the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), an event created with the ultimate aim being to solve the age-old debate of which martial art/fighting technique is the most effective. These techniques ranged from traditional boxing to sumo wrestling. It was Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that came out on top against all of the other fighting arts, with Royce Gracie, considered to be an all-time great, winning UFC 1. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that mainly involves fighting on the ground with the aim of applying joint locks or chokeholds to your opponent. The beauty of this martial art is that it is less about strength and size and more about technique and leverage. Since UFC 1, the sport has grown exponentially and UFC events attract millions of viewers worldwide.
The sport is constantly evolving with fighters taking the best elements from individual martial arts and fusing them together to form modern day MMA, consisting of striking (mainly Muay Thai kickboxing and western boxing) and grappling (mainly Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Roman Greco wrestling).
The University of York MMA club train four times a week with Monday fitness sessions, Wednesday BJJ/ grappling sessions, Friday sparring/open mat and Saturday’s Muay Thai session led by former world Muay Thai champion Rich Cadden. Rich Cadden, a resident of York, is a former UK, European and World Champion Muay Thai fighter. His sessions on Saturday are available for only £2. This is comparable to a training session with Cristiano Ronaldo or Floyd Mayweather but local and ridiculously cheap! The first two training sessions are completely free so if you have ever thought about getting involved, come down and give it a shot and see if it’s for you at no cost to your wallet. Safety is emphasised with all the techniques being taught in a safe and controlled manner.
There is a mixture of students that attend the sessions. There are those who come along to improve their fitness, as it is a great full body workout. There are those who come along to learn self-defence, as it is arguably the best method of this in the fact it can mimic real life confrontations. Finally, there are those who are looking to fight competitively for the University. There is a wide range of abilities that attend the sessions, with the more experienced fighters always looking to help the less experienced fighters improve. Everyone is welcome at the training sessions; with the varying levels of ability meaning the club is a very close-knit community.
Every March, exhibition fights are held at the Roger Kirk centre. These are 3 round contests, with each round lasting two minutes. The University of York MMA club match fighters, often fighting for the first time, are pitched against people of a similar weight/ability to make for the fairest fight and the most interesting spectacle.
Feel free to like the University of York MMA page for questions, more information and updates.