Shootfighting's use as a synonym for Mixed Martial Arts had its genesis in the 1970s, when Karl Gotch taught a group of Japanese professional wrestlers Catch Wrestling techniques, called "hooking" or “Shooting”. In 1976, one of these pro-wrestlers, Antonio Inoki , hosted a series of mixed martial arts matches. This led to an increased interest in real and effective technique, and eventually led to the creation of Shoot wrestling, with some Shoot-Style Professional wrestling organizations hosting legitimate mixed martial arts bouts, called "shoots". In the 1990s the interest grew, and certain shoot-style organizations like Pancrase evolved into pure "shoot" organizations. The term "shootfighting" was frequently used to describe these events and styles.
The word "shootfighting" was however coined by Bart Vale, an American with a background in Wrestling. He was the Japanese Professional Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi (PWFG, a Japanese Shoot-style Professional Wrestling organization) champion for close to three years. Upon moving back to America, Bart Vale used the term "shootfighting" to describe his own hybrid fighting style, which was a combination of the Shoot wrestling techniques he had learned in Japan, and his experience in Kenpo, Jujitsu and Kickboxing. He also founded the International Shootfighting Association to promote shootfighting as a Combat sport.
Shootfighting-Style is now a staple of modern Mixed Martial Arts with many Schools in America and Europe using the philosophy of seamlessly merging striking and grappling for an attack or defence bridging the gap of long range fighting intermitted range and close range\grappling efficiently.