MMA is for Sissies

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.

6 thoughts on “MMA is for Sissies”

  1. I agree that some fighters who compete in mma lack the true spirit of what martial arts is all about… but seriously saying mma is for sissies is ignorant and disrespectful you can’t be a sissy and get in a ring with an opponent who has knowledge of several martial arts, your style and has been training months to knock your head off… alot of martial artists hate mma because it demystified martial arts to the public… you were no longer a bad dude if you knew taekwondo or karate because everybody knows if you get taken down your almost as clueless as the next man… you spent all that money just to not be taken seriously… alot of martial artists in general are sissies… they didn’t want to get bullied anymore and decided to get the upperhand on the situation… alot of martial artists who are high ranking blackbelts don’t fight in mma with the excuse of philosophy because they know there weaknesses would be exploited and they would get beaten up severely and in a humiliating fashion… and then nobody would want to pay $100 a class to learn how to get beaten up… they would all find an mma gym and learn how to really fight… you have a point that rules in the sport lean mma fighter towards neglecting some areas to always protect in a streetfight but seriously if you kick a dude in the balls or pull his hair who’s the real sissy… I whole heartedly disagree with any style being able to defend multiple attackers… this is why the world is ran by politicians and not goons… this kid on youtube put it the best… there’s only two styles to use on multiple attackers and that’s run-fu or gun-fu… please fight an mma fighter and then get back to me if you think they are sissies… o and if you fight somebody tough and get beat up… badly don’t say i didn’t warn you… mma is the evolution of hand to hand combat and as the sport grows new styles will emerge and a whole new revolution of martial arts will ensue… this is great because as it becomes more popular so will martial arts… and i think its a good thing for kids… if its not just about the big kid beating up the little kids and become who’s smarter and more technical it will become more peaceful cuz nobody will want to take it there… I believe striking arts evolved into a non violent self-defense attitude because the techniques became so deadly everytime you fought you knew you could die in agony and through knowing that nobody would win if it went that far a stalemate came about and as a result peace almost like the whole nuke situation… there’s so many people on an anti-mma bandwagon for no reason… if you’ve boxed, kick-boxed, wrestled, or submission grappled why the hell would you be downing this unless you’re scared to change or fall behind the curve… I could see if these guys were beating up little kids or hammerfisting women (btw women compete in mma too…) but they’re fighting equally skilled dudes in a safe controlled enviorment (nobody’s died yet or have even been close) that usually around the same size… fair, clean, and friendly (for the most part)… So how about YOU stop being a sissy and get with the times MMA IS THE FUTURE

    1. Man, your comment just makes me smile 🙂 Clearly you didn’t read my post very carefully before writing your rant. MMA, as in the literal meaning of a blend of various martial arts, is awesome, and the basis of numerous fighting styles. When I said MMA is for sissies, I’m referring to the brutal, cage fighting pseudo-sport people are calling MMA.

      Only greedy or insecure people with either a chip on their shoulder or something to prove would participate in something as utterly worthless as MMA the sport. It goes against the heart and soul of martial arts to use that knowledge and training in such a meaningless way, purely for entertainment and money. Roman Gladiators reborn, just minus the killing.

      I’ve studied a dozen different fighting styles, and when I fight it really is mixed martial arts in the purest sense of the term, but I trained to defend myself and others in dangerous, real world situations, not for a careful set of rules in a refereed ring. Were I to compete in an MMA sporting match, my opponent would end up dead or maimed, because those are the techniques I was taught. Kill or maim in defense of your life or the life of another. When you are defending a life, there is no fair and unfair, right or wrong. There is only survival.

      It is perfectly possible to defend yourself from multiple attackers. If you believe otherwise, try studying Krav Maga or Aikido. Both are designed for exactly that, though one is far more lethal than the other.

      Martial Arts are meant to be defensive, and to use them offensively is…well, offensive. It’s fine to be a fan, but don’t be an idiot.

  2. Hi Sam, as a namesake I was interested in reading your thoughts. I think MMA (the commenter) is correct in saying that anyone willing to step into a ring is not a sissy, but I think he misses your point that to not step into the ring takes great – if not greater – strength. However, your rejection of black belts struck me as very odd considering that you claim to be well versed in multiple martial arts. While I am not advocating studying one art to the exclusion of others (I am currently crosstraining in taekwondo and hapkido), I do think it’s misleading to state that a black belt would pigeon-hole the wearer into one style. Much like a language, fluency in one does not prevent fluency in another, however saying you just want to be conversational in multiple languages so as not to speak in only one results in spanglish instead of knowing Spanish, knowing English and being able to translate between the two. Ultimately, MMA fans (including myself) need to acknowledge that what applies in the ring may not apply on the street (MMA the commenter says groin strikes are for sissies, however it’s notable that the reason UFC changed its rules to exclude those strikes are because of their popularity among savvy fighters). I see BJJ black belt with long hair and think that while they may be able to choke me out with their legs from their back, long hair gives me head control in a street situation because it violates a rule in the ring which they figured would be the only place they’d need their art.

    1. Hey Sam,

      So, perhaps I should clarify. I’m not saying a black belt is a bad thing. If honestly earned in an excellent martial tradition, then it’s something to be proud of. Unfortunately, the vast majority of black belts that I’ve met have never studied outside of the martial art in which they earned said belt (and the few who did achieve black belts in more than one, they were closely related disciplines).

      The reason I bash on having a black belt is because for so many practitioners it’s a stopping point, and it does effectively paint them into a corner. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, and I’m glad to hear that you are diligently pursuing multiple disciplines.

      I agree that it takes guts to step into any ring, but you’re correct that my statement that that MMA is for Sissies was pointing to the fact that staying out of the ring and using that art for a better purpose indeed take greater strength.

      At the end of the day I wrote this blog post because as true practitioner of martial arts, it makes me deeply sad to see something I love so much turned into just another sport and a way for people to make money. Martial Arts is so, soooo much more than that.

  3. I’m with Mr. Semantics. He used quite a few.

    I’ll let you ladies argue this one 😉

    What’s better? Getting your head bashed in once or twice, winning 21x. fine. or surviving 4-5 close encounters your whole life and not getting hit once or twice all that bad.

    Semantics wins. The subtlety of his argument holds true all the same. MMA as a martial art or MMA as a combat sport. Pride or Honor?
    I for one choose honor over pride.

    MMA martial artists live a nice life and rarely bother people (as far as altercations, confrontations and inevitably fighting). Maybe not many people know they are martial artists. MMA athletes live the opposite life and everyone knows they’re fighters. They look to humiliate others. If you look closely, they have not even reached adulthood.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this mmafan is really some corporate clown trying to keep this argument balanced for the sake of his $$$$. i wouldn’t be surprised if this guy is *someone really cool*.

    bottom line: misery loves company.
    if these so called mixed martial artists (combat athletes) were so content, why would the entire sport and themselves advertise their pathetic shame and misery? I say it’s the human condition and there’s a plethora of essays and books you guys can munch on if you have the time.

    me? i am 2 kool 4 skool

  4. Ehh, not exactly. Not all Martial Arts are created equal. Remember, MMA was created out of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a traditional Martial Art, a lifestyle, and a competition all wrapped into one. Judo is another. The UFC was created as a callout to all Martial Arts to test themselves against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu originally won out (wrestling caught up later on, but that’s another story). If the idea of MMA is “sissy,” then you might as well say Helio vs Kimura was “sissy” as that was an example of BJJ vs Judo, and quite the historical matchup at that.

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