Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
Vale Tudo means "anything goes" in Portuguese. This is a term used by practitioners who's root style originates from Brazil. It is synonymous with other what in the US is called Mixed Martial Arts or No Holds Barred. In Japan, it is called Shooto, from the Japanese Shu To ("Learn Combat"). Loosely defined, MMA can be any combination of martial arts styles. More commonly, MMA is style of training that is an aggregate of grappling (submission wrestling) and striking styles which combine to create a complete fighter with fewer weaknesses (holes) than a fighter who focuses solely upon grappling or striking. For example, Randy Couture, a renowned MMA champion of the UFC, bases his grappling skills on Greco Roman Wrestling and his striking skills on kickboxing.
In the United States, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is generally credited for the rise in popularity of MMA training and competition. Other franchises have arisen elsewhere, including the Pride in Japan, Pancrase, and Hook n' Shoot. Fighters who cross train in Mixed Martial Arts statistically perform far better than those who lean too heavily on a single system of fighting. It is rare to find an expert in a single style succeed over the long term.
While MMA in the United States may lend its popularity to media coverage since the early 1990s, Mixed Martial Arts owe its deepest roots not to Brazil or Japan. It all started in Greece with an ancient Olympic sport (648 BC) called Pankration. Loosely translated, it means "all encompassing."
Every Tuesday is Vale Tudo class at Austin Jiu-Jitsu. We combine aerobic conditioning drills adapted from Randy Couture's Team Quest, followed by focus mitt drills, combined (MMA) technique drills involving Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and finishing with open sparring. During sparring, Vale Tudo is optional.
Read a related article encouraging martial artists to fill their holes with cross training.