University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Mixed martial arts vs Traditional Martial Arts
Fighting and violence is one of the biggest problems in society today. MMA, to many people, is only promoting this as a value, instead of an issue. Another battle that this bloody sport is fighting is for its own legitimacy. There are plenty of other sports that have some fighting, but no one questions the legitimacy of sports such as ice-hockey, in which there is a fight at least once a game, or football (Frisht n. pag. ). MMA is also a relatively new and has also taken a large step from where it started, having been illegal in all 50 states shortly after its institutionalization (Ramirez n. ag. ). And even at that, UFC is the only nationally legal organization for MMA.
Not only is it fighting for its authenticity as a sport, but it is fighting for recognition as a martial art and fighting style, as well. Some specialists and fighters argue that it is a martial art all its own. Others argue that it’s nothing more than a rip-off of the greatest martial arts that have come before it. Finally, other, more secular people rationally conclude that it cannot be considered a traditional martial art at all and is barely acceptable as a sport.
But this also puts these people in the perfect position to be attacked by a very simply answered question: Why can’t MMA be considered a traditional martial art? To begin, one of the biggest differences between MMA and traditional martial arts is the purpose for which they were developed. MMA, for example, was developed as nothing more than a style for cage-match entertainment. Traditional martial arts, however, were developed for a variety of different reasons, mainly self-defense.
For instance, Jiu-Jitsu and Ninjitsu both derive from ancient Japan as a means for the people to defend themselves against the Samurai (Browning n. pag. ). Similarly, Tang Soo Do was developed in Okinawa and Southern Korea under ancient Japanese influence (Yi n. pag. ). Not only is the purpose of MMA something that sets it apart, it is a difference that sets the stage for several other staggering differences. To continue, purpose is intertwined with origins. Many traditional martial arts come out of the ancient oriental regions as means of self-defense due to the areas unsafe and sometimes unstable societal environment.
Thugs, brutal imperial fighter, and common bandits all posed a threat to civilians and those who didn’t particularly fancy their emperors, such as the Okinawan farmers under the oppression of the imperial Japanese samurai (Frisht n. pag. ). A handful of traditional martial arts even boast origins in Brazil, such as the Brazilian variants of Jiu-Jitsu. MMA, however, comes out of America and Europe as a means of entertainment (Greene n. pag. ). Next, Style is the biggest difference between traditional martial arts and MMA.
Traditional martial arts are very focused on detaining or incapacitating an attacker. Many traditional martial arts accomplish this by utilizing non-lethal locks and strikes. Traditional martial arts are also guided by morality and law. When faced with non-lethal force, only non-lethal force is permitted in return. When faced with a serious, but non-life-threatening situation, only an equal amount of lethality is permitted. MMA, on the other hand, is much more brutal and borderline senseless (Greene n. pag. ).
Also, where traditional Martial Arts would seek to just incapacitate using locks, MMA seeks to go above and beyond the required force, relying on strength where traditionalists would’ve chosen technique. When, relying on strength as a sole asset in combat, as described by Master Bob Cameron, a fighter’s combat variables become very dependent on their opponent. If their opponent is stronger and strength is the only strategy they hold as an asset, loss is pre-determined. Technique, however, allows one’s variables to be much more independent of their opponent’s.
Using technique over strength allows a martial artist to apply their whole body to ascertain one goal; it allows a fighter to turn their opponent’s own strength against them, using it in their favor (Cameron n. pag. ). At last, the final reason MMA cannot be considered a traditional martial art is its training style. MMA takes a very solo approach to training, as it is a solo sport. A lot of its training is based on punching, kicking, and striking an inanimate target. Martial arts, traditionally, however is trained in a group.
This allows a martial artist to test, study, apply, and perfect a technique on another martial artist, which drastically affects and differs the applicability and effectiveness of the two styles. In a real-world scenario, MMA is not very realistic, due to its brutality and aggressiveness. Traditional martial arts, however, allow an artist to realistically and safely incapacitate an attacker (Greene n. pag. ). The realistic training styles of traditional martial arts allow it to be much more effective in combat.
To conclude, MMA and traditional martial arts have more distinguishing differences than are calculable, the most distinguishing being purpose, origin, fighting and training styles, and applicability. Although, many take their side, those who argue that MMA is a traditional martial art are fighting an uphill battle in a mudslide due to their scarce and obvious lack of support. The differences between the two create a gorge miles wide with no bridge that may never have been meant to have been crossed. Furthermore, these staggering differences clearly prove that MMA cannot be considered a traditional martial art.