As children we are taught not to fight. Parents tell us to hit back with words not violence, and teachers say getting the upper hand is all about using our brains, not our fists. So what is it about the thought of cage fighting as a sport that gets my blood pumping, my mind racing, and my palms all sweaty with excitement? Well maybe it is because I, a mild-mannered, well brought up girl, have actually tried it and loved it.
Say the words ‘cage’ and ‘fight’ in the same sentence and most people start imagining anything-goes punch-ups in a ring for all to see. However, I found that mixed martial arts (MMA), to give it its proper name, actually refers to a highly professional sport which takes skill and discipline, and is subject to pretty strict rules including wearing padded gloves.
Designed to test the best fighters in the world of combat sports such as jiu-jitsu, judo, karate, boxing, kickboxing and wrestling, this isn’t a sport like any other. But for me the best thing about it was the chance to learn to punch, kick, and duck and dive my way around a ring while channelling my inner Jackie Chan, Jet Li and yes, I’ll admit it, Mad Max.
Like walking into a highly charged minefield, a cage fight is a chance to pit your strength and battle-ready strategy against a worthy foe while burning off some excess energy at the same time. Although when I got a chance to have a one-on-one spar with a professional cage fighter, I felt more like a child’s ragdoll who was tossed around as if I weighed no more than a feather. I have to admit my heart fluttered with anxiety as my entire body left the ground in what felt like a slow-motion action movie sequence.
However, I did learn how to hold my own after being shown how to take a foe down with a swift jab, a pull-down manoeuvre, and a knee to the face – a thrilling experience I am dying to try again.
A couple of places you can train with MMA professionals:
Tel: 07765 243012
The MMA Clinic
29-30 St Alban’s Place
Tel: 020 7226 4731
Image by martialartsnomad.com courtesy of Flickr