Can MMA really be thought of as a martial art?

Taiji Rebel

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MMA has been in fashion for a fair few years now. It appeals to the younger, testosterone-fuelled, crowd. It has a big turnover, just like other clubs and hobbies, but can it really be classified as a martial art?
 
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Taiji Rebel

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True! It really depends on your definition of a martial art.

Once the sport/competition element is added, the martial art is lost.

Mixed Martial Art is a good name for marketing purposes. Ever since the first UFC and the Gracie brothers appeared, there has been a big marketing campaign on ground-fighting, grappling and being effective for the street.

Personally, I think MMA is glorified violence and is very far removed from the original ethos of martial arts - but it makes a lot of money for all those promoting MMA, and damages a lot of young men and women in the process.
 
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Kung Fu Wang

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MMA has been in fashion for a fair few years now. It appeals to the younger, testosterone-fuelled, crowd. It has a big turnover, just like other clubs and hobbies, but can it really be classified as a martial art?
Before your question can be answered, you have to ask the following questions:

- How does MMA develop foundation.
- Does the term foundation have any meaning in MMA?
- What's your definition of foundation?

In another thread, someone suggested that we should all just fight in UFC and foundation is not important. Is kick/punch on a heavy bag enough for MMA foundation training?
 

Kung Fu Wang

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can kyokushin karate or TKD be considered martial arts? Judo? Kendo? Once sport is introduced the martial art is lost, I hear.
I believe we can say that TMA person may care about long term health issue than an MMA guy does.

Will a sport guy train how to punch with golden rooster stance? May be not. Why? because he will never punch with that stance in the ring. But why this posture exists in TMA? Because the golden rooster stance can give you:

- maximum reach.
- single leg balance (less chance to fall down when you get old).
- use lower leg to block your opponent's kick.
- ...

But those benefits may not be enough for an MMA guy to spend his training time.

IMO, one day when you get old, your foundation training can give you more health benefit than those who doesn't go through that foundation training.

golden_rooster_punch.png
 
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drop bear

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Somalian stick fighting for example.

Which is designed mostly to get girls I think.

Mongolian wrestling. Something Something traditional warrior ethos culture.
 
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Buka

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Of course it's a Martial Art.

And this...."Once the sport/competition element is added, the martial art is lost" is just plain wrong.

What's next, trying to take the enjoyment out of laughter?
 

Kung Fu Wang

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In MA, your body is like 3 separate springs. Each and every spring can be compressed and released individually. Your MA training is trying to coordinate all 3 springs to be compressed at the same time, also to be released at the same time.

Do MMA guys care about this?
 

isshinryuronin

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MMA is not "a" martial art. It's a mix of various existing martial arts. Maybe that's where they got the name, "mixed martial arts," but that's just a wild guess. But the mix has been specifically selected for success in the professional sport of MMA, including the exclusion of illegal moves according to the rule set. A little of this, a little of that.

The exact mix is different for each fighter, according to ability and preference. So, the art is not consistent from fighter to fighter. It's an individualized, not a standardized art, but can't that be said of most arts? It's a mongrel. Can a mut be considered a breed? I don't care. It's fun to watch, but not for me to do.
 
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Flying Crane

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Once the sport/competition element is added, the martial art is lost.
I do not agree with this.
Personally, I think MMA is glorified violence and is very far removed from the original ethos of martial arts - but it makes a lot of money for all those promoting MMA, and damages a lot of young men and women in the process.
Im not a fan of mma, I do not find entertainment value in combat, either as a participant or as a spectator. So in that respect I suppose I am more-or-less in agreement with you that it is glorified violence. That does not mean it is not a martial art.

I do not believe there was an original ethos of martial arts, or at least it wasnt what a lot of people today want to believe it was. The original purpose of martial arts was trained and skilled and armed violence, often in service to the government in the form of the military, used in pursuit of the political interests of the nation. The sophisticated empty-hand methods that we have today came much (much!!) later and really are a development of the modern era, meaning the last few hundred years compared to the few thousand previous years.
 

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If that's how the people who practice it want to think of it, then sure. Whatever makes them happy.
 
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Taiji Rebel

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Lots of varied responses here.
  • How did MMA begin?
  • Do you think of it as an American sport?
 

drop bear

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Lots of varied responses here.
  • How did MMA begin?
  • Do you think of it as an American sport?

Began with the Vale Tudo in Brazil. Kinda sorta.

Moved to America with the gracies. Then got shipped around the world in different promotions.

It is one of the more international sports
 

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I would suggest its a combat sport. The word martial pertains to war and implies the art under this definition was used in potentially lethal warfare, battles, skirmishes. You can probably see this means most of the martial arts we all practise are not, by this definition, true martial arts.

But do labels matter in this case? I dont think so. MMA is thrilling to watch and in which to participate.
 

Gyakuto

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And this...."Once the sport/competition element is added, the martial art is lost" is just plain wrong.
Well. with regards Japanese Budo, competitive matches can be seen as contrary to the traditional concept of Budo in several ways:

1. Focus on Winning: Budo, which encompasses disciplines like Judo, Kendo, and Aikido, emphasizes personal development, self-improvement, and the cultivation of character. Competitive matches tend to prioritize winning above all else, which can shift the focus away from these essential aspects of Budo.

2. Development of Ego: Budo encourages practitioners to transcend their ego and develop humility. In competitive matches, the desire to win can inflate the ego and foster a sense of superiority over opponents. This goes against the humble and respectful attitude that is integral to traditional Budo.

3. Lack of Mutual Benefit: Traditional Budo emphasizes the concept of "mutual benefit" (Kysei), where practitioners aim to improve themselves while also benefiting their training partners and the community. Competitive matches often prioritize individual success and can foster a mentality of defeating opponents rather than fostering mutual growth and support.

4. Disregard for Harmonious Interaction: Budo places great importance on harmonious interaction and maintaining a balance between oneself and others. In competitive matches, the goal is often to overpower or defeat opponents, which can create an environment that is less focused on harmonious interaction and more on dominance.

5. Limited Range of Techniques: Competitive matches usually have specific rules and regulations that restrict the range of techniques that can be employed. Traditional Budo, on the other hand, emphasizes the exploration and mastery of a wide variety of techniques for self-defense, personal growth, and spiritual development. The focus on winning within the confines of competitive rules can hinder the comprehensive study of Budo techniques.

6. Ethical Concerns: While competitive matches in martial arts generally have rules to ensure safety, there is still a risk of injury. Traditional Budo prioritizes the well-being of practitioners and emphasizes ethical values such as respect, compassion, and non-aggression. The potential for injuries in competitive matches may contradict these values.

It's important to note that some forms of Budo have adapted to incorporate competitive elements while still preserving the essence of traditional practice. However, the points mentioned above highlight some of the ways in which competitive matches can be seen as contrary to the traditional values and goals of Budo.
 
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