It’s hard to believe the UFC is over 20 years old, but it certainly has catapulted the sport of MMA. Thousands of adults and children couldn’t wait to get signed up for boxing classes or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu around the globe. Not everyone desires to be the next Ultimate Fighter, but learning how to defend yourself is a much needed life skill that everyone should obtain at some point.

There’s a lot to be learned by taking up mixed martial arts; more than some ever consider before taking the challenge.  For example, if you decide to take up every layer of MMA you will use more muscles in your body then you ever knew you had! Students become stronger not just physically, but mentally as well. MMA requires discipline and respect, it forces you to work well with others and to maintain an excellent level of fitness for your body.

As for the little ones, youth students gain discipline they normally can’t obtain through team sports. They also get an advanced lesson on self-reliance as MMA is generally one against one; they are only as good as the time they put into training. BJJ tournaments for example are a great way to earn confidence and move up the belt ranking system, while still absorbing the culture and respect the sport is famous for. This can also be a great way to get a child into sports that just wasn’t cut out for a team environment. Some kids are shy, others have disabilities that prevent them from being able to sign up for sports through their schools that MMA can often provide an athletic outlet.

Adults tend to earn a second family that isn’t commonly found in other gyms or adult fitness centers. MMA provides a form of exercise unlike other sports that keeps the student interested to continue attending sessions each week, whereas running for instance requires the person to find their own motivation to get out the door and keep up the pace every day. You have to find what keeps you intrigued, and while MMA won’t do it for everyone, it definitely does it for most.

There’s always the competitive side to MMA that has also exploded on the scene from where it once was. Ten years ago small towns had maybe one or two fighters in the whole city; now you can find an MMA fighter in virtually every city in the nation. They may not be a top notch fighter, but it just goes to show the interest in mixed martial arts and how far it has developed since its initial inception. Like anything, don’t sign up for a monthly contract for a year or longer at a gym that you don’t know much about. Always learn about your instructor’s credentials, the fees associated with your membership, and what will be expected of you. Most likely MMA will continue to grow well into this century for years to come, and if you’re thinking about taking up the sport try out a free class locally and see what all of the fuss is about!