That’s right, MMA, or at least the sport known as MMA (mixed martial arts), is for sissies. Though less brutal than it was originally, it is nevertheless a corruption of true martial arts. Granted, UFC and MMA as a sport shouldn’t even exist, as they go against everything that true martial arts stands for, peace, harmony, self-control. Martial arts are not meant for entertainment, nor as a sport. They should never be thought of as a hobby.
Martial arts were developed for war, and for the protection of one’s self and others. The study of martial arts is a way of life, a path, a calling.
I love martial arts and I always have, but MMA is not, by definition, “martial arts”. Oh sure, the people competing in UFC study a variety of martial arts, from boxing and Judo to Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. However, the process of taking those fighting styles, and then diminishing them by creating a sport around them, is truly offensive to me.
You see, I began studying Tae Kwon Do when I was 8 years old. At 10 I started learning Kenpo. At 14 I progressed to Tai Chi and Shuai Chiao (a fairly rare form of Kung Fu). At 16 I moved on to Ninpo Taijutsu and Aikido. At 20 I spent some time studying with the man who helped develop the brutal hand-to-hand system used by the Hong Kong Police Tactical Unit. And finally, over the last couple of years, I’ve been studying Krav Maga, a truly effective art developed in Israel, designed to seriously injure or kill multiple attackers, armed or unarmed. It is safe to say that I am well versed in mixed martial arts, as I have studied and learned to effectively blend a wide variety of systems.
From watching TV and movies, to simply driving around town, it saddens me to see what the martial arts have become to our culture. The study of hand-to-hand combat dates back almost 3,000 years, to the Pankration of ancient Greece. It has been an integral part of Asian culture for roughly 2,000 years, and is still treated with great reverence there. Alas, it has been a part of our culture for only a century or two, and like so many of the things our culture absorbs, it has become corrupted.
I see things like UFC, or the local Tae Kwon Do dojo, and I grieve for what our children are learning. Martial arts, the true art of war, is actually about both inner and outer peace. Peace within one’s self, knowing that you have mastered your body and mind. And peace without, as others know that you are not an individual to cross. It brings a self-confidence that literally radiates from within. It brings true power. But true power is meant to be used for the good of others, never for self-gratification.
Martial arts, though seen by many as violent, are not really about violence. Sure, there are instances where violence is necessary…there is a peace that sometimes can only be found on the other side of conflict, and certain people in our world will respond to nothing else…but overall, the true goal of martial arts is peace and harmony.
So why do I say that MMA is for sissies? Because only a weak person would study something that has no purpose beyond sport and brutality. The things MMA fighters are taught are based around rules, the rules of UFC or whatever competition they are fighting in, and that creates an intrinsic problem. From Tae Kwon Do and Karate to MMA and beyond, systems of martial arts are being modified to fit within the ring. By doing so, their effectiveness and purpose are lost. People are learning to fight a single opponent, under specific circumstances. Real life doesn’t follow rules, and it does not believe in fair.
You see, when you have been trained to limit your fighting style to avoid penalties in the ring, you create and solidify neural pathways, creating habits that will not go away should you ever need to defend yourself or others in real life. Most of the dangerous situations where martial arts would be needed are not one-on-one. If you are attacked by multiple attackers, and end up on the ground playing with Jiu Jitsu maneuvers trying for a submission, you will die, because the other person or persons will not be playing by any rules. They will kick you in the head, stab you, shoot you…whatever it takes for them to stay alive.
I have deliberately chosen to never study a single martial art to the point of mastery. No “black belt” here. Why? Because to do so creates limitations. When all you know is one art, and then you face a very different style of fighting, you face a problem. By studying many martial arts, and learning the kinetic science behind them, you can gain the ability to face anyone, using any style, effectively. Be it against one person or ten, you can have the knowledge necessary to survive, and are not handicapped by the rules of a worthless ring.
However, the true essence of martial arts is to avoid conflict. Few dojo’s teach you the art of social engineering, how to effectively defuse a situation, how to talk down an aggressor. In most instances, fighting is unnecessary. Money can be replaced, jewelry can be replaced. Lives cannot, neither yours nor theirs. The heart of a true warrior seeks peace, not conflict. Miyamoto Musashi, believed to be the greatest swordsman who has ever lived, discovered this truth in his later years, and recorded it in the Go Rin No Sho, the Book of Five Rings.
When you take something like Aikido, or Jiu Jitsu, or any martial art, and make it ugly by using it for sport, or brutality, or vengeance, you take away its true beauty, and you diminish yourself in the process. No self-respecting martial artist would ever compete in something like UFC, for it goes against everything that we stand for.
Ok, enough of my soapbox…but I rest my case: MMA as a sport, and UFC in general, is for Sissies.