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The Martial Arts of MMA

You may have heard of MMA, but which ancient techniques inspired these martial arts lessons? Learn more and sign up for martial arts programs at American Karate Academy!

Martial arts are traditional combat practices and techniques that can help a person in fighting situations but are also rooted in improving character. Mixed martial arts, or MMA, has been on the rise in popularity lately but what are the martial arts practiced in an MMA class? Well, this depends on the school, but all MMA classes will take inspiration from a few classic Japanese Martial Arts - Karate, Jujitsu, Judo, and Aikido.

At American Karate Academy, martial artists of all ages and experience levels are welcome to join our classes. We offer separate classes for each age group, even Little Dragons, which is our MMA class for toddlers! Aside from MMA, we also teach women’s self-defense classes as well as Kickboxing and Muay Thai classes. What are you waiting for? Get in shape, learn self-defense, and develop life skills at our martial arts institute in Miami, Florida.


Developed in Japan centuries ago, Karate is often considered the staple of martial arts. Translating to mean empty (kara) hand (te), Karate gets its name from its iconic open hand techniques. The foundation of Karate’s techniques includes physical movements, yes, but this martial art is also heavily focused on developing the practitioner’s attitude, including discipline, fearlessness, and leadership. In Karate, individuals can rank up by proving to their Masters that they have diligently practiced the art enough to the expected experience and skill level. Karate’s ranks are determined by the belt color of the Karateka, or karate practitioner, so that the current skill level can be disclosed at a glance. Karate can be practiced as an art, self-defense, or combat sport, which makes it desirable by many different people interested in learning martial arts.

Judo, Jujitsu, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Jujitsu is another century-old martial art from Japan. Then inspired by Jujitsu’s style, came Judo… but what is the difference? The most significant demarcation between the two martial arts actually lies within their word endings, -jitsu and -do. In Japanese, Jujitsu literally means the art of (jitsu) weakness (ju) and Judo means the moral teachings of (do) weakness (ju). It’s important to note that a lot of Japanese martial arts use these word endings. Even Karate can be broken down into two disciplines, Karate-do and Karate-jitsu. So why are these two forms of martial arts practiced separately, unlike Karate? Well, they were developed centuries apart. Judo was not developed until the late 1800s, where it became almost immediately popularized as an Olympic sport, while Jujitsu stayed as a martial arts system, separating the two martial arts.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu takes its inspiration from the Japanese martial art but adds more fighting techniques into the mix. In fact, this Brazilian style seems to combine Judo, Japanese Jujitsu, Wrestling, and Kickboxing into one sport, similar to Muay Thai which is essentially stylized kickboxing from Thailand.


Another martial art from Japan, Aikido mainly focuses on self-defense techniques. Aikido is a relatively new martial art that was only developed in the 1920s based on a combination of other older martial arts practices. In Japanese, the word can be broken down to mean the way (do) of unifying (ai) energy (ki). Techniques are special to Aikido because the practitioner uses their opponent’s force or energy against them. Learning the art of Aikido will help you be more defensive during fight or flight situations, by teaching you to control any violence or aggression. The hope is that by learning to control this aggressive force, you can then redirect it onto your opponent. When practiced solo, Aikido can look like a way to meditate, since the practitioners “push” the force of the air around them slowly with their hands and legs. In Aikido, unlike some other forms of martial arts, all techniques are performed with the well-being of the opponent in mind.

Other Martial Arts

As we mentioned, MMA classes can vary by martial arts institute, so no lessons are the same. While most MMA classes will focus on these three main Japanese practices, martial arts from other countries can be implemented as well. Some examples of more martial arts that may be included in MMA lessons are Tae Kwondo from Korea, Muay Thai from Thailand, and Kickboxing from America.

MMA Classes at American Karate Academy

Interested in taking martial arts classes? Sign up today! American Karate Academy offers classes for all ages and skill levels, so there is no excuse to start learning the disciplines and important self-defense techniques that MMA classes can teach you. American Karate Academy offers a variety of Martial Arts classes, including MMA, Karate, Muay Thai, and Kick-Boxing, to students from toddlers to adults in Miami, Florida.