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Mixed Martial Arts, better known by the abbreviation MMA, is an ancient fighting style, having its roots in the medieval Greek sports, reinvented in 1993 with the advent of the MMA league – UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). It was a matter of time before MMA became the fastest growing sport in the world.
MMA is “hybrid” in nature whereby a mix of diverse martial arts (boxing, wrestling, Jiu-jitsu, Karate, Judo) is used to overpower the opponent, making it the more practical and efficient choice for self-defense purposes, a major reason why it has now replaced the more traditional forms of martial arts in military, special forces and police training regimens globally.
The explosive growth of MMA also brought a sports revolution in Pakistan, and thanks to the efforts of an American-born Pakistani Mixed Martial Artist – Bashir Ahmed, the modern sport of MMA was introduced to the main traditionalist Pakistanis. Since then, several hardcore MMA gyms have popped up all over the country and local Pakistani’s are doing wonders in the international MMA scene.
There are plenty of great MMA gyms to choose from and here are some of the things that are bound to happen once you start training:
1) The “paralysis” you experience the day after your first MMA session:
The extensive rolling on the mats and having your way with the punching bag stretches muscles all over your body. You are scared beyond imagination when you can’t move a muscle and feel paralyzed waking up the next day.
“Arey koi hai? Jaldi aao, mujh se hila nahi ja raha”, “Jaldi aao!!”, your panicked screaming and shouting make everyone rush to you. But don’t worry, it gets bad before it gets better. In a few days, the pain goes away when your body gets used to the MMA workout.
2) The constant struggle to explain your new hobby to others:
“Beta Judo Karate karate ho na tum tou?”, the age-old obsession of our nation with “Judo Karate”, never seems to end when people stereotype any form of martial arts as Judo Karate. When you are done explaining that you train MMA, another golden response awaits, “MMA: Muttahida Majlis Amal?”
3) The face you make when you are asked to demonstrate some fancy Bruce Lee moves:
4) Your friends begin to see you as a potential candidate for their “Phadda” team:
A constant struggle ensues when your best friends upon learning of your MMA training, try to drag you in their “Phadda’s”, “Kidhar hai bhai? Phadda hogya hai jaldi pohanch”. Now this one can be a real pain in the ass, since saying NO can cost you your friendship.
Suggestion: Never, I repeat never talk about your MMA experience with the “Phadda Baaz” friends or give any hint that you know a thing or two about fighting.
5) Your friends get super annoyed of your constant MMA/UFC related posts:
Once you start learning MMA, terms such as “UFC”, “choke-hold”, “head kick” become a household name for you. Not only does your family get sick of your new habit of tuning the TV to watch UFC all the time but you annoy your friends too, by filling up their Facebook news feeds with MMA related memes, tutorials, and fighting/knockout videos even forcing some of them to unfollow you, but that doesn’t bother you in the slightest because MMA is life.
6) When you are not training MMA, you are thinking about it:
Once you start your training in MMA and get the hang of it, you have a hard time letting it go, even on off days. When you can’t attend the class if the club’s closed, life becomes boring and you get frustrated.
You try hanging out with friends to distract your mind from MMA, but it doesn’t work. Your physical self is there, but the heart and soul are both longings for the training. You just can’t wait to get back to the club and lay on the mats.
7) You are expected to become the “hero without cape” whenever a crime is happening:
“Yaar tum ko tou MMA aata hai, jaa ke kuch kar na”, “Tumhara mobile snatch hogya? Tum ne kuch kya nahi?” are just some of the stupid comments you get. As much as it is the most effective form of self-defense to get out of life-threatening situations, learning MMA doesn’t transform you into a Bollywood hero that can take on armed robbers or multiple attackers single handily.
The volatile nature of MMA makes it not just exciting to watch but an attractive form of self-defense to the younger generation that have grown all but tired of watching old grumpy masters belonging to the traditional martial arts, spend long hours lecturing them through rotely learned stuff.
Gone are the days when martial art enthusiasts were forced to wear long dresses and learn the boring “kata’s” that are of no practical use but consume a lot of time. Fortunately, if you wish to learn to kick ass you no longer need to waste time and money in some old school “dojo” in the middle of nowhere.
After you start training in MMA, slowly but surely your daily life changes for good, because MMA is not just a fighting style but a whole lifestyle. Like anything else, you hate the training as it gets too much but when those hard-learned moves come in handy, you can’t help but be thankful to your coaches and the sweet science of MMA.
This story was submitted by Ahsan Zafeer.