Mixed Martial arts is the combination of several different disciplines where the only weapon you have is your own body. The unique thing about mixed martial arts is that you do not have to be an expert in all of the different disciplines. Many of the best fighters only use a few. However, to be a great fighter, you should have a basic knowledge of all disciplines. This knowledge will help you when you face an opponent that may have different skills than you. You will be able to anticipate his moves better and provide a counterattack of your own.
Muay Thai or kickboxing is a popular discipline and uses both kicks and punches to defeat the opponent. In Muay Thai, both opponents start in the standing position. A winner is determined when one of them hits the ground. Many of the best mixed martial artists use this as their base discipline.
Similar to Muay Thai, is the more popular Boxing. As you may know, in boxing you are only allowed to use your hands to strike your opponent and a winner is declared when someone stays on the ground for a ten count, known as a knockout. After a predetermined set of rounds and no knockouts, a group of judges will determine a winner. Though this method alone is not very effect in mixed martial arts, it is a very important discipline to have.
Another good close quarters type discipline is judo. In judo, you do not strike your opponent with your hands or legs, but instead you grab them and through them to the ground. This is done with a series of grappling moves that immobilize your opponent. Wrestling and judo are very similar and require a great deal of knowledge about different holds and maneuvers to lock up your opponent. Jujitsu is also similar to both judo and wrestling, but it focuses on getting your opponent into some sort of choke hold. This hold immobilizes the opponent and in some cases renders them unconscious.
These are just a few of the basic disciplines of mixed martial arts. There are many more variations out there that you can learn. To become a skilled mixed martial artist, it is a good idea to join a gym that has a trainer trained in one of the above disciplines. This will give you a base to start from and you can add other disciplines that compliment your base discipline.