MMA for Dummies


Most people that go to this website know what MMA is and realize that MMA is not just two men beating the crap out of each other. There are techniques, skills and above all else a lot of heart involved in MMA.

However, what about those who are novices to MMA and they want to understand what’s going on. What’s a Kimura? What’s a Triangle Choke? Who is in side control? All these questions will be answered in depth.

What does MMA stand for? MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts.

What is it?  Mixed Martial arts is a combative sport, involving to male or female combatants.  Organisations in the US have rules that work like this;

  • 5 Minutes for each round
  • 5 Rounds for a title fight, 3 rounds for a non-title fight
  • 1 Minute break between each round
  • If a fight lasts three or five rounds, it will then go to the judge’s decision. The judges make their decision by scoring each round out of 10. One combatant will get a score of 10 whilst the other will get any number lower. These numbers are then added together to decide which fighter won the fight. Whether it be by Unanimous Decision (One fighter one all the rounds) or Split Decision (Fighter A managed to be given the decision by 2 of the 3 judges, whereas one judge gave the win to fighter B)

How does a fighter win a fight?

  • Submission: Applying a hold in which you’re opponent cannot handle the pain and taps out by hitting their hand on the mat or their opponent, verbal submitting or passing out. An opponent can also submit from strikes
  • Knockout: Fighter A strikes fighter B and they are knocked unconscious
  • Technical Knockout: This occurs when a fighter cannot continue. This can either be referee stoppage, doctor stoppage or corner stoppage.

What are the main organisations for MMA?

The main organisations for MMA in the states are UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and Strikeforce. In Japan, they have DREAM and Sengouku.

What type of disciplines do fighters use?

  • Karate (Lyoto Machida)
  • Judo (Dong Hyun Kim)
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ( BJ Penn, Royce Gracie, The Nogueria Brothers)
  • Wrestling (Georges St Pierre, Chael Sonnen, Brock Lesnar)
  • Greco Roman Wrestling (Dan Henderson, Randy Couture)
  • Muay-Thai (Shogun Rua, Anderson Silva)
  • Boxing (The Diaz Brothers, Marcus Davis, Dan Hardy)


These are some of the main disciplines that fighters use nowadays, but some fighters use such disciplines as Kung Fu and Aikido.

Define the ground positions for me


Full Guard – Where Fighter A is on his back and Fighter B is in between the legs of the opponent. This can be dangerous for either opponent as a good BJJ fighter can find the guard an advantageous position (George Sotiropolous and the Diaz brothers are great modern references for this. They use their flexibility to obtain Rubber Guard and lock in submissions). However, a fighter who is good at striking from the ground can take full advantage of the person on their back.

Half Guard – Fighter A is once again on top of Fighter B. Unlike the full guard, Fighter A has one of Fighter B’s legs entangled underneath him. This is more advantageous for the fighter on top, than the full guard is. The fighter that is on top can start to strike the opponent or even attempt a submission here, whereas the fighter on the bottom may find it difficult to do anything.

Side Control: Side control is when Fighter A would be on top of Fighter B, yet instead of being vertically on top of him, he is more perpendicular. This is a dominant position for Fighter A and allows him to use elbows, knees, submissions and even transition to the Mount.

Mount:  The mount is the most dominant position in regards to positions out there. Fighter A will be on the torso of Fighter B, therefore allowing Fighter A to unleash any form of attack they want to finish the fight. Fighter B isn’t in any sort of position to attempt a submission and fight back as with Fighter A on his torso, the power of his punches would have dropped significantly.

Things you can’t do in MMA – The US

  • Putting a finger into any orifice or into any cut or laceration on an opponent. (see Gouging)
  • Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh.
  • Grabbing the clavicle.
  • Downward elbows to the head of an opponent.
  • Kicking the head of a grounded opponent.
  • Kneeing the head of a grounded opponent.
  • Stomping a grounded opponent.
  • Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck. (see piledriver)
  • Holding the shorts or gloves of an opponent.
  • Spitting at an opponent.
  • Engaging in an unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to an opponent.
  • Using abusive language in the ring or fenced area.
  • Attacking an opponent on or during the break.
  • Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee.
  • Attacking an opponent after the bell has sounded the end of the period of unarmed combat.
  • Flagrantly disregarding the instructions of the referee.
  • Interference by the corner.



This is a basic FAQ for MMA, so now that you know the basics, enjoy the fights



  1. MMA for Dummies « MMA UK Blog…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. Pretty solid little guide here, just a few things I’d like to point out: mentioning rubber guard to people who know nothing about the ground game can get pretty confusing (or at least that’s what I imagine).

    Also, half guard is still a pretty neutral position in and of itself for the bottom guy. Is it safer than full guard for the top guy? Hell yes, seeing how you can somewhat control your opponent from here. However, the half guard is a great position to sweep from and even set up submissions (leg locks from the bottom of half guard can be very effective) so it’s far from a terrible position to be in. Just make sure the opponent doesn’t pass your guard completely because that guard is all that’s saving you from a beating.

  3. The athletic state commission in the USA don’t allow the 12 – 6 elbow, so UFC adopted that for their promotion, even when in other countries (Remember Jon Jones vs Matt Hamil)… Might wanna change that bigman.

    Its kinda funny though cause Joe Rogan bitches about it all the time lol

    • I guess it’s because there’s nothing really backing it up, at least from my point of view. When I’ve trained ground and pound on a dummy the 12-6 elbows never get any real leverage, especially compared to forearm strikes or just regular elbows.

      Maybe I just suck at them but the 12-6 never really did it for me either way

  4. Great resource … Wow its cleared a lot of simple terms up for me I ‘ve heard but wasn’t too sure what they were

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