6 Mixed Martial Arts in the Olympics (Full List)

With nine games and 43 tournaments, the Olympic Programme debuted in 1896 in Athens, Greece. New games were introduced and previous ones were deleted at every new Olympic Session, with current concepts being introduced and previous ones being eliminated. Additionally, host nations have always had the choice of making their native sport.

All of these additional Olympic clubs are overseen and coordinated by the IOC which brings competitors from all across the world together to compete. The IOC ultimately decides whether sports would be added or removed, including which city will organize the next Olympics, with much criticism, discussion, and even bribes..

The Olympics have always been about man versus man or woman versus woman, and martial arts has been a popular physical combat sport at the Olympics since its inception. Wrestling was first competed in 776 BC, followed by boxing in 688 BC, chariot racing in 680 BC, and pancratium (Pankration), a hybrid of boxing and wrestling about 648 BC.

In fact, unlike today’s games, physical combat made up a substantial component of the ancient Olympics’ events and had few laws. Two decades later, at the 668 BCE Olympics, a kind of boxing known as Pyx (which means “with a clenched fist”) made its debut. One of the forerunners of current mixed martial arts was born in 648 BCE.

At the Olympics, there are six martial arts. The Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which will be held in 2021, will feature judo, karate, boxing, fencing, taekwondo, and wrestling. 

Fencing, boxing, budo (Japanese martial arts), wrestling, savate (a French variation of kickboxing), and several other martial arts have competed in the Olympics over the years. Well, let us just take a deeper look just at martial arts that were recognized as Olympic sports (together with their distinct histories).

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1. Fencing

Fencing was brought to the Olympics for the very first time in 1896 in Athens, it has been a part of the Olympics ever since. Fencing for women had its International debut in Paris around 1924. The epée, Sabre, and foil are the primary weapons allowed to use in fencing. Individual and team tournaments are available in fencing.

Fencing as an organized sport did not begin until the late 1800s, despite the fact that swords have Swordplay extends back to the origins of cultures and has been utilized since the prehistoric period. 

The swordsmen are parries wearing masks (linked to their hats), enormous bibs, and padding over their ears, hinting that this relief shows practice combat or contest. Men’s fencing, on the other hand, has been a part of the Olympic Games since their reinstatement in 1896. The épée, together with the Sabre and foil, was included in the Olympic schedule like an individual competition in 1900. A team tournament in foil was introduced to the games in 1904, while the épée and the Sabre were introduced in 1908.

There were also ongoing debates concerning various fencing rules by the mid-twentieth century. France pulled its whole team out from Olympics 1912, due to a disagreement over the foil kill zone, whereas the Italians boycotted to compete in the épée competitions when a plea to increase the permitted length of the épée weapon was rejected.

The following is a complete list of Olympic fencing disciplines:

  • Foil (individual) (men/women)
  • Epée individuelle (men/women)
  • Individual Sabre (male/female)
  • Foil team (men/women)
  • Epée team (men/women)
  • Sabre team (men/women) 

What is Fencing?

Fencing is a leisure swordplay sport that can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages and has several advantages. Fencing is a cognitive and emotional activity in which fencers develop physical endurance, flexibility, and accuracy while learning to perfect their strategy against opponents of varying skill levels.

Participating in fencing builds courage and sportsmanship, which can be applied to various aspects of life. Fencing can be done as a kid or as a grownup for enjoyment, exercise, or competition training. The best part is the new pals you’ll acquire. 

Equipment Required for Fencing

All fencers must wear a jacket, a mask, pants, stockings, or knickers, a glove, a body cord, plain shoes, and a weapon. A mask cord and a sensitive fiber lamé worn after the jacket are also mandatory for Sabre and foil fencing.

Foil, Sabre, and epeé are the three weapons used in fencing. The objective of fencing is really to score points or contact by striking your rival’s target using your weapon while they score upon you, but each weapon has its own set of rules, methods, and target regions.

As a result, most fencers acquire a predilection and skill for one weapon over another, but several appreciate the push and diversification of occasionally engaging in a match in a different weapon, and even developing competency in a second weapon. Only a select few fencers are proficient in all three weaponry!

In team competitions, three people participate in a round-robin format (with one reserve member) (each player of every team is fighting versus each rival one at a moment).

Wheelchair Fencing

Wheelchair fencing, which has been created in England by German-born English neurologist Sir Ludwig Guttmann, is one of the most recent breakthroughs in fencing.

The fencing is done in specially constructed frames that maintain the wheelchairs secure. Wheelchair fencers attempt five touches, just like traditional fencers, except they are unable to advance or retreat. To obtain or avoid touches, the wheelchair technique includes ducking, half twists, and leaning forward and backward. All contacts, meanwhile, must be made even without the athlete getting out of his or her chair.

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2. Boxing

Boxing is among the world’s greatest sports. The 648 BCE Olympics in Ancient Greece were the first to offer the sport. With strips of leather wrapped around their hands, the players battled each other. The objective was to land more blows or “till the rival passes out.”

Wearing gloves was one of the official boxing rules imposed in the 19th century in the United Kingdom. Since St. Louis 1904, boxing has been a part of every modern Olympic Games (the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm were an exception). Women’s boxing had its Olympic debut in London in 2012.

At the Olympic Games, boxing bouts run three rounds of 3 minutes total. The match is judged by five judges, who award points for effective hits. The contest is won by the fighter with the most points. The match can also be called off prematurely for one of the mentioned reasons below:

If somehow the referee determines that the gap between competitors is too great (one fighter is too dominant), one of the fighters is unable to proceed for 10 seconds and is declared knocked out. When a ref finds a competitor incapable of continuing, disqualifies an opponent, or has an opponent quit, a winner can be determined before the rounds are completed.

The victor is determined by the judges’ scorecards when the fight reaches the final round and both opponents are still standing. Professional matches are declared a draw if both fighters receive equal points from the judges. Since a victor must be announced in Olympic boxing, experts award the event to one participant based on technical factors. If the doctor intervenes, the fighter will be disqualified after three warnings. 

With 114 Olympic medals (50 gold), the USA is the most decorated country, followed by Cuba with 73 titles (37 gold), and Great Britain with 56 medals (18 gold).

Boxing just at the Olympics is an excellent stepping stone for young fighters aspiring to the top of the sport. Some of the fighters are Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Floyd Mayweather, Anthony Joshua, and Muhammad Ali.

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3. Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a martial art in which the athlete must use all of his or her body parts in competition without any weapon. It is a self-defense technique originating from the Korean terms “Tae,” which means kick, “Kwon,” which means punch or other hand or fist hit, and “do,” which means manner or method of action.

Taekwondo is distinguished from other martial arts in the general public by its sweeping kicks, high-speed, and forceful punches. Taekwondo, like judo, was created as a game that also represents a sense of morality, with characteristics such as respect, loyalty, faithfulness, and the maintenance of an inner strength playing an important role in taekwondo practice.

Taekwondo is a systematized and scholarly Korean ancient martial art that teaches something more than basic combat techniques. It is a practice that teaches us how to improve our spirits and lives by exercising our bodies and minds. Today, it is a global game with a prestigious global image, and it is one of the official Olympic matches.

Taekwondo got its Olympic debut in 1988 as a demonstration event at the Seoul Olympics. Taekwondo debuted as a full medal sport at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and has retained that status ever since.

At the Olympics, taekwondo matches are judged using the PSS (Protector and Scoring System), which was introduced at the London Olympics Games. The PSS employs electronic sensors embedded in the athlete’s head protection, which are wirelessly connected to the digital scoreboard. Unlike in boxing, where the attacker aims to punch through the target to inflict the most damage on an opponent, a taekwondo specialist aims to deliver a hit with the least amount of follow-through.

The energy of the hit to the target is directed without hindrance to the top using this technique. The concept of oscillation has been studied about why a taekwondo expert can easily break one or more boards or bricks. If the blow is delivered as if the arm is aimed directly through the deck, like a puncher, to a spot on the opposite side of the table, the target material will oscillate, negating the effect and being sustainable.

Points are given when the protective gear hits the opponent’s head or trunk (with the right places of the shoe). Judges also manually score points and add tactical points earned by trying to turn kicks to the total (they earn extra points).

South Korea has by far the most Medals (19, including 12 gold), followed by China (10, including 7 gold) and the U.S. (9 of which 2 are gold).

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4. Wrestling

Wrestling is among the ancient sports that men are familiar with. The first time it was seen was at the 708 BCE Olympics in Ancient Greece. Wrestling in the Greco-Roman style was first introduced in Athens in 1896. In 1904, freestyle wrestling made its debut in the Olympics in St. Louis. Wrestling for women (freestyle) was first featured at the Olympics in Athens in 2004.

The sport can be either really competitive or purely recreational (see professional wrestling). Freestyle, Greco-Roman, Folkstyle, catch judo, sambo, submission, and other kinds of wrestling exist. A wrestling match is a physical contest between two (or more) opponents or elite athletes who are attempting to acquire and retain dominance.

Both traditional historic and current styles have a wide range of styles with varied regulations. Other martial arts, as well as military hand-to-hand fighting systems, have included wrestling tactics.

Wrestling’s main goal is to defeat the rival by tossing or holding him to the ground, or by forcing him to surrender. When one wrestler puts the other in a submission hold, which locks the other wrestler in a terrible position, it is called submission. He or she will eventually signal to the ref that the agony is too much to bear and will give up.

The purpose of both techniques is to push their opponent’s shoulders into the mat. Wrestlers can use their upper body and arms in the Greco-Roman style. Freestyle, on the other hand, enables the use of any portion of the body.

How To Become A Wrestler

You have to attend wrestling school to become a wrestler. Several schools can be found across the United States and Canada. The training is incredibly demanding and tuition is usually a few thousand dollars. There will be limitless repetitions of falls, slams, and throws, as well as regular endurance and weight training.

After a student finishes wrestling school, his coach will be using his connections to try to put him in the main promotions. There are no assurances in this world. Many students, on the other hand, must work their way up through lesser promotions.

Wrestling is among the few games that can be traced back to the dawn of time. Cave drawings dating back over 15,000 years have been discovered in France. Wrestling matches depicted by the Babylonians and Egyptians show wrestlers employing most of the modern-day holds. Pro and amateur wrestling are now popular spectator sports.

Some people prefer amateur wrestling to professional wrestling because it lacks scripts and, according to some, is not false. Wrestling, on the other hand, is a sport that can help competitors improve their strength and fame while also entertaining spectators.

With 116 Olympic medals, the Soviet Union was (and still is – Russia) the most decorated wrestling nation (62 are gold). With 133 medals, including 54 gold, the United States is in second place (yes, the USA has more awards but fewer gold ones). With 69 medals, Japan placed third (32 are gold).

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5. Karate

Karate means empty-handed in Japanese. It is a form of unarmed combat that utilizes striking, kicking, and defensive striking with the legs and arms. The goal is to concentrate as much of the body’s force as possible at the time and place of impact. Striking areas include the hands (particularly the knuckles and outer edge), the heel, ball of the foot, knee, elbow, and forearm.

To make them all more resistant, practice strikes on wood or soft surfaces. A skilled artist can break wood boards up to a few inches thick with their bare foot or hands. On the other hand, strategy, spirit, and timing are all seen as as important as physical tenacity.

Karate evolved through time in East Asia, ultimately being formalized in the late 1700s in Okinawa, most probably by those who couldn’t carry guns. It was first developed in Japan in the early 20th century. There developed a plethora of institutions and systems, every with its unique set of rules and effective teaching.

Karate, like some other Japanese martial arts, places a strong emphasis on mental attitude, etiquette routines, outfits, and a complex rating scale (by the belt’s color). Multiple combat tactics have some technical crossover.

At the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, karate has made an appearance. There have been events for both men and women. Competitions in kata (forms) and Kumite (sparring) have been held. Kata is a display of many offensive and defensive moves aimed at a virtual opponent. The competitors select the kata they will show the judges. The winner is determined using a points-based method.

Kumite is a style of karate sparring in which two practitioners face each other. The objective is to hit the designated target of the rival’s body with a succession of blows. The winner is the combatant who earns eight scores more than his opponent inside the first eight minutes of the fight.If there is a tie, the winner is the combatant who scored the first points. If no points were awarded in a fight, the winner is chosen by the judges’ verdict.

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6. Judo

Judo is a system of unarmed combat that is today largely practiced as a sport. Judo is a sport with a complicated set of regulations. The goal is to cleanly toss, pin, or dominate the opponent, with both being accomplished by exerting pressure to the rival’s arm joints or throat to force them to yield.

Techniques are usually designed to use a rival’s force with one’s advantage instead of directly resisting it. In practice, a courtesy ritual is meant to develop a calm, ready, and confident mindset. The traditional outfit, called jūdōg, consists of a loose jacket and thick white fabric trousers. Beginners use white belts, while masters wear black, with intermediate ranks marked by other colors.

Judo made its Olympics debut in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The first women’s events were held in 1992 in Barcelona at the Olympic Games. Judoka is an athlete who competes in Judo tournaments.

Basics Of Judo

Over the years, judo evolved in Japan as a descendant of numerous martial arts established being used by the feudal or samurai warrior class. While many of the techniques of judo were evolved from disciplines designed to defend, harm, even kill opponents in real field fights, the tactics of judo were altered so that judo students can safely practice and use them:

  • Any kind of striking, punching, or kicking methods are prohibited in Judo.
  • To throw an opponent in judo, there is no need to put pressure on their joints.
  • Judo is a martial art that does not require the use of any equipment or weapons.

Judo is just two people who, by grasping the judo outfit or judogi, strive to subdue each other using the forces of balance, power, and movement. As a result, it is straightforward and straightforward. Moreover, in its purity lies its complexity, and mastering this most fundamental of judo moves requires a significant amount of effort, time, and energy, as well as rigorous cognitive and emotional training.

Judo’s primary purpose is to toss or knock down an opponent, immobilize or submit an opponent with a pin, or submit an opponent with a throat or joint hold. There are 100+ tactics accessible, including 68 throwing techniques and 32 grappling techniques (called Katamewaza). Techniques that are successfully used earn points.

If the tally is tied at the end of the match, the match will proceed into “Golden Score”, or overtime (the first Judoka to score a point is the winner). In the sport of judo, Japan has the most Olympic medals (84 total, of which 39 are gold). France ranks second with 49 medals (14 gold), while South Korea is third with 43 awards (11 gold).

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