Folk styles

All over the world, there are traditional styles of folk wrestling, and in some cases also stick fighting, rooted in local culture and folklore. In East and Southeast Asia, these are forms such as Korean, Khmer or Mongolian wrestling and Japanese Sumo, in South and Southwest Asia Indo-Persian Pehlwani, in Central and Western Asia Turkic (Uzbek, Tatar) styles; in Europe, there are Icelandic, Swiss and various English wrestling traditions. African folk wrestling includes the West African style of Lutte Traditionnelle. While these arts are based on historical traditions of folklore, they are not "historical" in the sense that they reconstruct or preserve a historical system from a specific era. They are rather contemporary regional sports that coexist with the modern forms of martial arts sports as they have developed since the 19th century, often including cross-fertilization between sports and folk styles; thus, the traditional Thai style of Muay Boran developed into the modern national sport of Muay Thai, which in turn came to be practiced worldwide and contributed significantly to modern hybrid styles like kickboxing and mixed martial arts. Mixed martial arts (MMA), is a full contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, from a variety of other combat sports. The roots of moder mixed martial arts can be traced back to the ancient Olympics where one of the earliest documented systems of codified full range unarmed combat was in the sport of pankration. Various mixed style contests took place throughout Europe, Japan and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s. The combat sport of vale tudo that had developed in Brazil from the 1920s was brought to the United States by the Gracie family in 1993 with the founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which is the largest MMA promotion company worldwide.[1] The more dangerous vale-tudo-style bouts of the early UFCs were made safer with the implementation of additional rules, leading to the popular regulated form of MMA seen today. Originally promoted as a competition with the intention of finding the most effective martial arts for real unarmed combat situations, competitors were pitted against one another with minimal rules.[2] Later, fighters employed multiple martial arts into their style while promoters adopted additional rules aimed at increasing safety for competitors and to promote mainstream acceptance of the sport.[3] The name mixed martial arts was coined by Rick Blume, president and CEO of Battlecade, in 1995.[4] Following these changes, the sport has seen increased popularity with a pay per view business that surpasses boxing and professional wrestling.