Is MMA A Martial Art?

Discussion in 'MMA' started by Indie12, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. Indie12

    Indie12 Blue Belt

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    Here's an old question, Is Mixed Martial Arts, Truly A Martial Art? Could It Be Considered A Martial Art?
    What constitutes a 'True' Martial Art?
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011
  2. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    No. It is a Fighting System comprised of a Mixture of Martial Arts.
     
  3. Indie12

    Indie12 Blue Belt

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    Well how do 'you' mix Martial Arts? Especially if they are complete systems?
     
  4. Ironcrane

    Ironcrane Blue Belt

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    I'd say that MMA is a martial art.

    Almost every singe style of martial arts has borrowed something from other martial arts, so I don't think MMA doesn't count as a martial art because it is made of mixed styles.
     
  5. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Where's the popcorn? There is a sticky at the top of this entitled 'what is MMA'. This is an old and not good argument that will run for a while, get personal then be blocked, mark my words.
     
  6. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    You dont.

    MMA Gyms take parts of them, then piece them back together.
    For example, a common blend Ive seen is Kickboxing + Muay Thai + BJJ + Sport Tae Kwon Do. Sometimes with a couple of slivers of Freestyle in there.

    You cannot completely combine complete Systems. Its literally impossible.

    A Fighting System is a better term than Martial Arts System for MMA, since whilst it is of a Martial Art style, it isnt a Martial Art unto itself. Its other Martial Arts.
     
  7. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    MMA is a sport ruleset, the athletes competing under those rules use various martial arts to compete under that ruleset.
     
  8. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    To paraphrase Dr Higgins, 'By Jove he's got it!'. Exactly right!!!

    On a side note, I've never known another style to be so much the focus of other styles trying to decide what it is!!
     
  9. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I think that MMA is well on its way to becoming a bone fide martial arts style. While still in its infancy, I believe that a strong case can be made that MMA has, over the last 20 or so years, become a recognizable, legitimate martial arts style.

    For myself, a martial art is something that recognizable and discrete. It's a body of techniques and a curriculum that are consistent and taught 'as' that style. There are techniques that are consistent among the schools. But there is also something that distinguishes the curriculum from other, similar styles.

    Currently, there are few people who enter MMA competitions without training at an MMA gym. Many still have foundations in other martial arts styles, but that's rapidly changing. So, while a guy like Lyoto Machida has done well at an elite level in MMA, his reputation as a "karate guy" is more about marketing than reality. He does hold rank in Shotokan karate, but he's also a BJJ black belt, and has trained in many other styles of martial arts including sumo (IINM). But most importantly, he trains in a top quality MMA gym with guys like Anderson Silva and Antonio Nogiera.

    Point is, in order to learn MMA, you have to train MMA. Regardless of your base, you'd be foolish to do otherwise.

    MMA gyms are sprouting up and the curriculum is becoming better defined. There are people who are joining MMA gyms and are learning "MMA." The techniques can be found in other martial arts styles, but guys are learning a style of martial arts who have never done anything else. They are learning something called "MMA" and are excelling, as well. Guys like Jon Jones, who started training in MMA with high school wrestling as his only "martial arts" background. Locally, this can be seen quite a bit more as kids are wandering into MMA schools to learn "MMA."

    MMA techniques can be found in other individual styles, but what is rapidly distinguishing MMA as its own style, IMO, are the transitions and the subtle variations on the techniques. For example, the double leg takedown is a common wrestling technique, but if you do it the same way you would in freestyle wrestling, you're going to get guillotined. The cross or jab are similar to what you'll see in Western Boxing, but if done in a traditional boxing stance you're risking leg kicks or takedowns. So, the same techniques are evolving.

    The transitions are unique to MMA. Moving from striking range into the clinch and from there to the ground (and back) isn't an emphasis in any other martial arts style. Using striking AND grappling at every range isn't emphasized, either.

    I could go into more detail, but the upshot of all of this is that MMA is definitely a martial art, IMO. A young and evolving martial art, but it's as legit as any other.
     
  10. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    Let Me start by saying, I am not disagreeing with You. We are discussing, not debating. But its 2am, and I may end up phrasing some things a bit bluntly, rather than expanding them to sound more balanced. You have been warned :)

    EDIT: Taken up in a way that doesnt wind up damaging the System.
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    First, just a pet peeve, but responding inline as you do makes it difficult to reply as your text and my original post become jumbled up.

    So, since I'm not going to bother cutting and pasting to try and answer you point for point, I'll just sum up. What I believe distinguishes MMA as a unique martial art are several simple characteristics.

    First, it's very easily identified for what it is. When someone is training or performing MMA, you can easily tell. Even a layman can tell with at most a cursory understanding of the art. Just as someone with no formal Aikido, Wing Chun, Western Boxing, TKD or Fencing would be able to identify these.

    Second, there is a unique tactical perspective in MMA. The strategies and tactics are evolved so that it is more than the sum of its unique components. In other words, it's more than just BJJ and Boxing or any other simplistic combination of other martial arts.

    Third, there are schools that specialize in its instruction, and these schools are critical to learning MMA. In other words, if you want to learn MMA, you MUST train in a good school.

    Fourth, there are competent martial artists who are learning MMA first. They are not learning Wrestling and then BJJ and then Boxing and then MMA. Rather, they are learning MMA at a school that teaches MMA.

    Bottom line is this: it's not the things that are the same. It's the things that are different that distinguish MMA as a martial art. Every art shares traits and techniques.

    Edit: You asked about BJJ, there is a double leg taught much as the morote gari throw from Judo. But it's really not the same thing. Related to the point I'm trying to make, there are subtleties that distinguish it from a wrestling take down. And the double leg used in MMA is somewhere between the two.
     
  12. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    And I have a per peeve with having to take the time to re-add the Quote Tags for every section I want to address. :)

    I see whats occuring here - Were coming to different conclusions from the same point, and Your point is interesting.

    Its coming down to the fact that every variation of MMA is different.
    On those grounds, You find MMA to be, from that, its own System of Martial Art, where I see it as being too spread out to be an Individual System, as oppose to multiple Mixtures.

    Thankyou for Your Time
     
  13. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    They're different within a fixed range. Whether it is miletich mma or Gracie mma or Greg Jackson mma or machida mma, you know instantly that it's mma.

    Just as you see slight variation within karate whether it's shotokan, kyokushin or some other style. Or look at wing chun, ving tsun, etc. all different, but the same.

    There are different flavors of mma, but they're all instantly recogniazable As mma.


    Sent using Tapatalk. Please ignore typos.
     
  14. Thesemindz

    Thesemindz Senior Master

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    I think the answer depends entirely on where and how it is taught. Depending on the school, "MMA" could be a training philosophy, a system of techniques, a specific sport education, whatever the instructor knows done in boxing shorts inside an octagon, pure marketing, or a traditional approach to learning a system of fighting in multiple ranges. What constitutes what is and isn't a martial art? These kind of distinctions are abritrary anyway. We're all learning violence, what we call it is more a matter of personal preference. MMA practitioners may learn to fight if they a have a good instructor teaching quality material and they are diligent students. That's enough for me. But I also consider Western Boxing and Olympic Taekwondo martial arts. For me, "martial arts" means studying fighting. If they did that in an MMA school, they'd pass my standard.


    -Rob
     
  15. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    The difference is perhaps that Karate started out as numerous different Systems of the same name - Theyre not all just Karate.

    As for being recognisable, do You mean, if someone were to see two MMA Practitioners in plain clothes Sparring, Theyd know it right away?

    The Variation is fine, but what I take issue to is how broad it is. Being both Grappling and Striking is fine, it lets the Student decide how They want to do things. But Im more referring to the Sourcing. Some MMA uses Kickboxers Round Kicks, some use KKW TKD Round Kicks, some us Muay Thai Round Kicks, and so on and so forth. Then theres the difference between the many archetypes of JJ, and BJJ, and Judo, and Wrestling. The issue I take from the Variation is that it comes from so many different roots, and is as a result, inconsistent.
    Punches are another example. You have the Boxers Cross, the Kickboxing Cross is slightly different, You have the Karate Cross, TKD Cross, Muay Thai Cross, and so forth.
    The difference is subtle, but Ill leap to Your example, of different Karate Systems.
    The way they Train is different, as are their Focuses. But theyre all based on the same basic motions.
    The best example is the Side Kick.

    Pay attention to how the Knee is slightly sideways during its chamber.

    Different striking surface, more or less the same chamber.
    Now,
    a Sport TKD Side Kick.

    Or,
    another Side Kick.

    I think thats enough examples for Me to go on to say, that were You to go between different MMA Gyms, You may well learn a different Side Kick at one, to what You will at another.
    And now apply that to various other Strikes, Grappling Methods, Holds, and whatnot.

    Its the lack of consistency I take issue to, more than anything else.
    Again, it absolutely has the potential.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  16. Indie12

    Indie12 Blue Belt

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    1) I do hope you mean in general and not specific towards anyone or anything!
    2) Yeah, it's a sticky subject, but easily discussed.
    3) I'm not too fond of popcorn, worked in a film theater for years (projectionist) and after a while 'popcorn' just didn't smell or taste right!
     
  17. Indie12

    Indie12 Blue Belt

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    Agreed!
     
  18. Indie12

    Indie12 Blue Belt

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    Let me 'edit' this and ask then, what constitutes a Martial Art? What makes a Martial Art, a Martial Art? Or Mixed Martial Art, Mixed Martial Art?
     
  19. Indie12

    Indie12 Blue Belt

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    Agreed! It it virtually impossible to combine complete systems, although (for the record) I do know several MMA's who claim to have done so.

    Are you referring to fighting system as in 'combat' or fighting system as in 'sport'?
     
  20. Indie12

    Indie12 Blue Belt

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    I've seen it, especially with newer systems 'popping up' nowdays. I've seen some of the older systems (mainly individual instructors, claiming to represent those systems) who have taken the 'newer systems' into question and deciding what is is and what it is not!123
     

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