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York instructor promotes MMA as an activity for mental, physical health | MMA in Pa.

In this week’s segment of MMA in Pa., head muay thai instructor with York MMA, Micah Yohe, explains the centuries-old form of striking.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — You most likely know what boxing and kickboxing are, as they've been around for hundreds of years. However, muay thai is a discipline that blends those two styles together, using knees, elbows, and clinch work.

In this week’s segment of MMA in Pa., head muay thai instructor with York MMA, Micah Yohe, explains the centuries-old form of striking, and gives insight into how an apparently violent act can actually be a work of art that appeals to all walks of life. 

"Some people come in just to get in shape," he said. "Some people come in to learn how to defend themselves. We have all those walk in here. We train fighters, but a lot of the people work a 9 to 5 coming in, getting in shape, and learning to feel more confident in themselves. After a while, they feel better about themselves, walking around, looking people in the eyes.”

From the surface, striking disciplines may seem to be the most violent, but there are lots of misconceptions around its motives and practices, Yohe told FOX43. 

"One of the biggest reasons is they don't understand it," Yohe said. "They think that what they're watching is in essence a street fight where two people hate each other, and they're going at it and trying to kill each other. That's not what we do here. We're trying to better each other." 

“If I come up with a technique, and I'm using it with a person, and I'm beating them with that technique, I eventually want them to come up with something to counter that technique," he went on. "Because if they do, then I have to come up with something better than that technique. And that's how we better each other, that's how iron sharpens iron."

We've heard that iron sharpens iron, as it's a common phrase in any sport. It rings true across the board when fighters depend on each other to maintain a level of respect, while still perfecting their craft.

It's especially important for striking, since it's an intense impact to the body, which makes it vital when your training partner understands your limits.

At York MMA, they train both muay thai and jiu-jitsu. The instructors and athletes say they’re working constantly to keep up with the always-evolving sport of MMA.

Yohe says muay thai is the more widely practiced form of striking in MMA, but that doesn't stop martial artists who specialize in other forms from trying their hand.

"You're always seeing an evolution of the sport, it's constantly growing, and i don't think we've seen the top yet of where it's headed,” Yohe said.

“You even see some people employ karate," he said. "Muay thai tends to be a little more of the most popular in MMA, because muay thai is full contact in Thailand, where karate is a lot of point-fighting. Some people have kind of blended their karate background, and they've done really well in the cage with it.”

It's a challenge to blend styles together, since wrestling and jiu-jitsu are obviously fundamentally different disciplines than ones that are striking-focused, Yohe says. However, it forces instructors and students alike to bring the best of their skills to the table. 

“There's validity to all these arts, you just have to find what really works in full contact situations, and also find what works for particular people," he said. 

Yohe says if you want to get a good workout in, martial arts might be for you, and that the majority of gyms cater to all people and want to see someone achieve their goals. In the next segment of MMA in Pa., we take a step outside the cage for a moment, and look at how one gym in our area is working towards a bigger fight, as they travel overseas to aid people in the Middle East during a time of civil war.

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