they made history, founders of MMA

I suppose this has been discussed before, but I personally find it fascinating how a single person can, through nothing more than an idea and determination, leave such a huge mark on history. Of course, for we should just talk about who influenced MMA...

Jiro Kano, sorry but with all the Bruce Lee worship maybe there should be more posts about Kano. The man took his own little sect of Jujitsu and made it an international martial art! He literally invented the idea of randori, or training live. HIs teachings then touched not only judo/japanese Jujitsu, but BJJ, Sambo and San Shou/San Da

Mas Oyama. Sure, lots of the stuff said about him is bull, including the bull stories, but to think that an ethnic Korean living in a prejudiced Japanese society could start what would become the biggest Karate movement in Japan. It has many off shoots now, including of course K-1.

But let's not forget Oyama's student Kurosai, who trained Fujiwara, the greatest Thai boxer Japan ever produced. Fujiwara then trained Sayama, who startd Shooto.

I'm gonna throw a weird one in here, Antonio Inoki! I know, he never fought a real match in his life and was a very stiff wrestler. He bored the world to death with his Ali match. But he got going in Japan the idea of mixed style matches. Sure, they were fake, but it started an idea that eventually created the real Japanese MMA world.

Inoki brought Gotch to Japan, which gave us all the shoot organizations.

Inoki is also the guy who sent teh very young Sayama to start training kicks with Fujiwara, for Inoki's so called MMA shows...

I'm in agreement, especially about Jiro Kano and Inoki.. But several Brazilians need to be in there also. Most prominently the name Gracie. Helio, Rorian, Royce and Rickson.

At the level I am talking about, ie stones that caused ripples that touched so many, I'd say Helio Gracie for starting the BJJ movement in Brazil definitely counts. He probably also created the Luta Livre movement, if for no other reason that if he didn't exist they wouldn't exist

Rorion brought the Vale Tudo as media event idea to the US, no Rorion and no UFC, Rorion also brought a lot of guys from the homeland here...

Royce and Rickson however fall more properly into the great fighter category with guys like Fujiwara, Chan Dung Sheng, etc...

Other westerners of the first category, John Blumming and Gene LeBell....

OK.. You're right. Rickson was a leading worldwide name and Royce was a leading US/UFC fighter. But you're correct, they were/are great fighters.

This is sort of fun :)

The one I am totally at a loss for, can't find a name for him, but he was a fencing master in Europe. Before him, all the fencing schools would switch their stances back and forth, do some left forward, do some right forward. This "new school" kept one leg forward all the time and stressed the thrust.

As fencers were all being killed by the single stance movement, they all adopted the single lead. This lead to boxing later adopting its single lead. From Western boxing it went to Muay Thai, kickboxing, and eventually San Da

You CANNOT mention MMA in Brazil without mentioning Carlson
GRacie Sr. He singlehandedly kept the sport and the Gracie name alive
in the period between Helio and Rolles/Rickson.

What about Jim Arvantis and Pankration? Didn't he have articles on the
importance of cross training back in the 70's?

Gene Labelle deserves mention among the pioneers as well. He
showed Bruce Lee the armbar that he did on Bolo in Enter the Dragon
after all. While the world was kicking and punching in the air he was
showing grappling in a pink gi no less.

Phatboy should be given some credit too.


great thread

He also had an mma match against Milo Savage.

Gene LeBell is a lot more important than just showing an armbar to Bruce Lee. At a time when Japanese instructors were still telling their American students not to use any strength in their Judo and to grasp the gi with two fingers, LeBell was getting real and waking up the US Judo community. While it ostricized him, they would not be what they are without him.

LeBell's books were the first reall MMA books, talking about how wrestling, judo, boxing and kicking worked togehter, showing submissions etc..

LeBell was also the first American to stress contact sports/combat sports, he said get in there, box, wrestle, do judo and LEARN... Let's not forget that Bruce was still talking about "deadly strikes" and NEVER embraced any sort of combat sport. He wrote tons on why his people should never compete because "it would just be a sport"...

Arvantis is an interesting topic.

He'd published a good amount of "Pankration" or cross-style training info since the 1970's, but...

I don't know if you can prove any influence he's had at all in MMA. I think Eric Hill had a couple MMA matches in the early going but that's probably it. He hasn't hit the big lecture circuit, no fighters of any name attribute their training to him....


Good call on Jigoro Kano. Without him, there'd be no Judo, no BJJ, no Sambo, and no MMA.

Jujutsu would probably still exist, but only as a hobby for a few history buffs in Japan.

Arvantis seemed in the 70's to be more of the old JKD mold, ie mix punching, kicking, some wrestling and create a "deadly" system... he did hard sparring in his school, but like Lee, looked down on any "sport" fighting

Very insightful.. Great post..

and as far as Inoki... I heard that one of his Matches against a wrestler from Pakistan was a Legit Shoot, although it was not supposed to be!

Yes, I heard the match with the Pakistani turned real and INoki actually broke his arm for real... but with all pro wrestling stories, is it real?

I've heard five different versions of the Gotch-Thesz match

"Jujutsu would probably still exist, but only as a hobby for a few history buffs in Japan"

Good thought. I just had this horrible mental image of what could have been. i.e jujitsu being relegated to join the geek realm of "ancient western combatives" or whatever those dudes that dress up as old western knights and run around doing mock battle.

Badass thread! Add in the most important figure in
boxing history, the Great John L. Sullivan, whose
physical trainer was William Muldoon, the Father of
American Wrestling.

The Great John L. was of course known for going from
town to town (or more accurately, bar to bar :-) and
taking on all comers. I forget the figure now, but
anyone who lasted a round got the dough. Only guy I
ever heard of just sat down whenever Sullivan got near
him - an early butt scoot :-)

cool thing about the old bareknuckle boxing was the wrestling aspect. Which Sullivan hated by the way!

There are also some other figures in boxing history, mostly English. Have to refresh my memory, but different ones introduced different tactics. A small British boxer introduced footwork and head movement... he was like 147 and was the "heavyweight champion" name escapes me...

"But let's not forget Oyama's student Kurosai, who trained Fujiwara, the greatest Thai boxer Japan ever produced. Fujiwara then trained Sayama, who startd Shooto."

You're talking about two very different Fujiwaras here. The Fujiwara that trained Satoru Sayama was Yoshiaki Fujiwara, at that point a wrestler for New Japan Pro Wrestling, the organization Sayama wrestled for as the original Tiger Mask.

uh, no I am not...

Sayama trained Muay Thai with Toshio Fujiwara (studied Sambo with Victor Koga and Catch with Gotch)

Yoshiaki Fujiwara was a stable mate of Sayama's in UWF, but not the fujiwara that trained him in Muay Thai