WITH the success Jamaicans have had in martial arts, mainly through karate and taekwondo over the past few years, another form has been introduced locally, and that is Mixed Martial Arts.
This form, also known as MMA, is a full contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, from a variety of other combat sports.
A fitness club, Extreme Edge on Ruthven Road in Kingston, are the facilitators of this new martial arts form in Jamaica with Russian Slavic Moskalev as the chief instructor.
"There is a real possibility in Jamaica to take MMA discipline to a very high level," said Moskalev.
Extreme Edge routines are said to energise the whole body and has positive effects on the cardiovascular system.
Prices for the fast growing fitness classes ranges from $3,500 to $10,000 upwards on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the additional self defense Rukapashka (Russian Street Fighting style) being taught.
In early July, a meeting was held in the Cayman Islands to promote all combat arts ,including karate, judo, grappling, boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Chinese kick-boxing, among others.
The aim is to be prepared for the launch of the MMA World Cup in September and Extreme Edge's special guest Bob Daigle, former karate world champion who organised the Cayman meeting, is in Jamaica to spread the word.
"The goal of that meeting was to work together so we bring special guest instructors to raise the level of skill in the Caribbean region so they can compete on the world stage," said Daigle.
"In September there will be a World Cup of Mixed Martial arts and we will be playing a role in it. It will be nation versus nation in the concept like football with amateur fighter," he pointed out.
"This will prove who is the greatest martial artist in the world. Slavic and I are in discussions with the directors in the US to put this together for Rome, Italy," he noted.
"The goal in Jamaica is to put together a team to compete on the world stage. We have formed a mixed martial arts association here in Jamaica and Slavic is a man of action," said Daigle
He said the sport, if tapped into properly, could be tremendous for sports tourism in the region.
"Not only is it exciting for competitors it also boosts the economy. Our goals are to promote big sporting events all over the Caribbean," he added.
The roots of modern mixed martial arts can be traced back to the ancient Olympics where one of the earliest documented systems of codified full range unarmed combat was utilised in the sport of Pankration.
Various mixed style contests took place throughout Europe, Japan and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s. The combat sport of Vale Tudo that developed in Brazil from the 1920s was brought to the United States in 1993 with the founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which is the largest MMA promotion company worldwide.