By Frank Dux;
Despite its name, ‘Mixed Martial Arts’ (MMA) is not a martial art.
It’s a professional sport.
It is a business and athletes are paid to compete.
The perception that MMA training is superior to traditional Martial Arts in terms of preparedness in dealing with a street crime or sudden attack however might be the greatest misperception a person might make in his life, and possibly his last.
To compare the physique of an MMA fighter to the traditional martial artist is not enough to judge truth. In sudden confrontation, the physique is part of the totality, which is judged in a lens of many considerations, such as does the aggressor possess a hidden weapon, which actions outweigh potential legal entanglements arising from his injury or death, and challenges of defense in an inhospitable environment. These are common variables needed to be taken into account instantly when planning which tactics are suited to survive, uninjured, and prevail by ending the aggressor’s ability to pose danger.
As Sun Tzu stated, “Battles are won or lost before they are ever fought.”
This is not part of MMA training.
All forms of martial arts exist as ‘never cold without hot.’ There exists no superior way but there exists the superior fighter.
The claim that MMA training is superior to other martial art disciplines is dangerously invalid.
At Ft. Lewis, Washington, The US Special Forces stationed were impressed by the MMA. The Green Berets explored integrating its training into their own warrior training. They turned to their civilian trainer/adviser, a martial artist named Kelly Worden.
Worden objected. He found his opinion challenged. He consented to a match with a professional MMA fighter. Comparing the men’s physiques, Worden appeared doomed. He would be taken to ground, and subdued through the grappling arts.
Worden instincts were not sports orientated.
The contest began and observers wondered how many seconds Worden would last. In unsportsmanlike manner, and in violation of MMA rules, Worden gathered dirt and, with lightening fast movement, shoveled it into his opponent’s mouth, cutting off breath; taking him down, prepared to suffocate him. The match ended in abject surrender.
The difference between sport fighting and battlefield skill is the mindset of a warrior.
Playing by the rules Worden was outmatched, but when defending life there exists no rules or referee. Worden’s opponent was ill-prepared for his action, unable to take into account the way his environment would be used against him. This vulnerability stemmed from perfecting his skills in a controlled MMA gym environment.
The term “Mixed Martial Arts” therefore is misleading given it suggests sports training is a system of self defense, a compilation of many systems mixed to procure the “best of the best”, taken from all traditional and modern martial arts disciplines, then honed into one superior method.
This perceived “conglomeration” contributes to the illusion that MMA training is superior to other self-defense systems. The MMA industry facilitates this by calling attention in advertisements to the legacy of Bruce Lee and of avoiding “the classical mess” — using only what is personally useful and disregarding the rest.
The suggestion of shortcuts to proficiency in martial arts is falsehood.
The term “Mixed Martial Arts” or “MMA” was created out of rebranding a business, the unsuccessful Gracie family- run UFC that promoted this sport under the “No-Holds-Barred” aka “NHB” banner.
Critics allege the name change from NHB to MMA was made to legitimize athletes and transform them from being viewed as thugs and brawlers into role models. The term MMA enabled the UFC to expand market share by attaching itself to the traditional martial art community irrespective of the fact that full-contact sport’s athlete’s skills have little to do with Traditional Martial Arts training.
Their skills being more a mixture of bar room bare knuckle boxing accompanied by basic Brazilian JuJitsu or Greco Roman wrestling. Rounds and weight classes were introduced, along with the banning of certain strikes and holds that would be no longer permitted. The spongy matting provided an advantage to the techniques of Brazilian Jujitsu.
The reason for reinventing UFC has been linked to allegations that the Gracie family were barred from having events in Las Vegas because they fixed fights by bribing judges, referees and embellishing the records and skills of inferior opponents to make bets offsite.
The UFC is attempting to monopolize the martial art industry by establishing gyms in competition with Traditional Martial Arts schools openly calling attention to how few “traditional martial art practitioners” are able to compete in MMA, suggesting that Traditional Martial Art training is inferior.
The presumption is a fallacy since the purpose of martial arts training is to prevail in violent conflict.
There are no weight classes, no padded mats, no holds barred in sudden confrontation.
No martial art system may be judged by the number of participants in sporting events. These events have rules to protect the athlete that handicap those who train to kill or maim rather than ‘KO’ an opponent.
The emphasis placed upon honorable conduct and martial art etiquette is necessary to produce military bearing, a code of conduct with is absent in MMA culture.
The undisciplined, hedonistic, episodic behavior of MMA icons are alien to Traditional Martial Artists.
MMA stars in interviews reveal their success is meaningless. The popular MMA athlete Rhonda Rousey after suffering defeat to Holly Holme confessed she contemplated suicide over it.
Showing respect for one’s opponent defined the first MMA matches, called among other names, “Kumite” as portrayed in the film Bloodsport, which inspired a generation of fighters responsible for having breathed life into the present MMA movement.
Things are different now. Most MMA stars appear lost, more concerned with how they are going to be accepted and perceived as fighters versus living in the true way of the warrior or “martial way”.
The mindset of the MMA practitioner or any professional athlete is foreign to a martial artist.
Mixed Martial Arts is not martial (military) arts training. The reason is that it is taught without ethics, honor and sense of duty. Military traits that develop the will to prevail in life and death matches.
The attainment of honorable accomplishments requires honorable behavior. It means acting in accordance to rules of war, or peacetime, following its code of ethics.
Ethical behavior comes through self-control: overriding impulses, breaking compulsive cycles, doing things that need be done when unenjoyable.
Traditional Martial Arts are more concerned with self-control to maintain a code of ethical behavior in life; being capable of making the ultimate sacrifice in defense of family, friends and country.
That is not to say all MMA sports fighters are brutish. But the focus of MMA training is winning in a ring. Fame and fortune are paramount.
MMA culture is void of the protocols that instill ethical actions, a code of conduct, a respect for self and others. The nature of the MMA culture promotes anti-social behavior when stars, like Brock Lesner, spit on audiences, or when at weigh-ins, thug like performers hurl epithets, chairs and punches at each other.
When Traditionalists face off to compete they bow or salute, demonstrating mutual respect. The MMA pattern of behavior promotes antisocial thuggery and is the antithesis of traditional martial arts decorum.
The way of war is an art and science. Being trained and mentored in true military skills instills the discipline to remain focused for long periods, to act with measured force, to follow through under duress.
Self-discipline is necessary. The experience of combat, be it sport or life and death, teaches the student that each is responsible for his actions some which may be foreseeable and some which may inadvertently cause suffering for ourselves or others, possibly involving life and death.
The MMA and Traditional Martial Artists have this in common: Each must learn to coordinate multiple actions toward one goal. To succeed, both must master the skill or task to achieve higher goals; to remain in control of breathing, regardless of chaos going on, and the level of danger and stress. And to understand how to dominate our adversary or environment, which requires skill and a disciplined mind.
Mixed Martial Arts fighters and Traditional Martial Artists possess combative skill sets and condition themselves for trauma. But the Traditional Martial Artist is defined by self-discipline that honors traditions, ethics and etiquette. These bring success outside of the world of martial arts.
But are summoned at a moment’s notice, when the world becomes martial, unplanned, not in a ring, but in the arena of life, where discipline alone will mean the difference between extinction or survival, of servitude and defeat or dominance with honor.