Martial Artists vs. Professional Fighters

MysticNinjaJay

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I've been watching MMA for a couple of years and have begun to wonder about the level of fighting on display. Some people say that the striking is far below the standards of Boxing and K-1. I've talked to Martial Arts masters who are critical of the quality of fighting in MMA and say that Martial Artists who train for self-defense are far more proficient fighters than MMA fighters who train within a setting with rules.

This got me to thinking about how good of fighters high level Martial Arts masters are. Most MMA fans believe that Traditional Martial Artists are not good fighters. They point to the early UFCs as evidence and say that alot of TMA techniques are impractical. They believe that you must have a good takedown defense and a ground game to have any chance against a Mixed Martial Artist in a fight and that the best fighters in the world compete professionally.

But I know of schools that teach a blend of Martial Arts and address strength and conditioning as well as full-contact sparring. Basically everything an MMA fighter trains in but within a dojo setting rather than a gym. Some Martial Arts masters have even claimed to compete in underground street fights to test their skills.

What do you think? Are there Martial Arts masters who are better fighters than Professional MMA fighters? Where is the evidence for this?
 

Xinglu

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This depends what you mean by "fighting"...

If you mean get in a ring, square off, rules, rounds, eight categories, etc., then the advantage goes to the professional fighter who trains for that for years.

If you mean on the street where there is no limitations and the fighting is not fair... well it depends on the martial artist in question then and how they train.

Are their some TMA masters who are better overall pound for pound fighters then Pro MMA guys, yes. There are also some Pro MMA guys that are better overall pound for pound fighters then some TMA masters. There are also some MMA guys who ARE TMA practitioners and when they retire and are too old to fight, most likely be TMA masters teaching their art.
 

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Pro MMA fighters are just that, Pros. Meaning that they get paid to fight. So they make it their jobs for the most part. A good part of every day is dedicated to preparing to fight someone else that is doing the same.

A TMA person is not training on the same level. If the TMA person is not putting in at minimum 6 hours of training (an again this is minimum) then there is no way he is as conditioned as an MMA guy.

Remember MMA guys give and take blows that would cripple most people. These guys bodies are so hardened that they could most likely stand and let most people give their best shot and not be phased. But most people could not do the same and simply take a MMA guys best shot.

They have been in many armature fight to get to this hardened state, so by the time they fight pro they are pretty solid and it would take someone as solid to even hurt them. The average TMA instructor has not been in many fights if any and the few fights they have been in are most likely so far apart time wise that any body conditioning from them has long subsided.

Now if a TMA person made fighting his job and life and dedicated the same amout of time training, fighting, and conditioning as any Pro MMA person, well then you would have a killing machine. Because many of the techniques used are for maiming and killing, not sport.

Just my .02
 
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Daniel Sullivan

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Know your fight. Unless you have trained under an MMA rule set, getting into the ring with a fighter who has trained and competed under an MMA rule set for years is most likely to result in you losing the contest under that rule set.

Pro fighters fight under some kind of limited rule set. That does not mean that that is all that they can do. If they train to compete only, then they will be very good in the style of competition that they have trained for. Depending upon how all around good they are and how specialized the rule set is, they may or may not be as good at defending themselves outside of the ring as someone who trains specifically to do that.

I think that it is important to not categorize a person's ability by whether or not they compete, or what they compete in. I say that I am a TMA guy when the subject comes up because happen to like TMA. I can handle myself outside of the dojang because I train to and am mentally prepared to. Being a TMA guy is not the deciding factor. TMA is simply the training environment that works the best for me.

Likewise, most "MMA guys" are MMA guys (or gals) because they happen to enjoy MMA. It is the training environment that works best for them. Most MMA folks that I know are aware that not every strategy used in competition is wise in a real confrontation. So when faced with a real attacker, they do not treat them like a fellow athlete.

The long and the short of it is that if you train in a good environment with good instruction and train hard, you will be able to handle yourself when the need arises.

Caveat: if your training is lousy and you do not put forth a good effort in training, then it does not matter if you are TMA, MMA, or anything else MA. Lousy training and lazy training habits will make a lousy fighter in any scenario.

Daniel
 

LuckyKBoxer

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my first thought is that the two do not have to be exclusive of each other.

all that Traditional Martial Arts is, is a study of motion in a certain range, or multiple ranges..

All professional fighting is, is a competitive match between people in a certain range or multiple ranges.

Here is the part that I think a vast majority of traditional martial artists are not only confused about, but place an extremely high level of hope in working in situations.... and that is the "deadly","devastating" tricky stuff...

eye pokes, groin kicks, joint strikes(not joint locks) other finger strikes..

all of those things are minor movements... that require a major movement to actually work...
for example you can eye gouge an opponent, but before you do you have to close distance, and throw your arm at the opponents face and then have your fingers hit the eyes... small target...long range to cover..

where I think the "professional fighters" have a huge edge, is in the major movements... and actually working them and training them at speed in realistic situations. The practice controlling distance, and the major movements...alot of Traditional Martial Artists talk as if the eye strikes and small target attacks are their go to moves... that does not work very well... I know from experience, I regularly spar and will use only sports "legal" movements and ask my opponents to try whatever they want....

ahhhhh the next objection here usually is.... but they dont want to hurt you, or they are afraid of you.....

I have to answer that with a ya right... the point is people never get close with those strikes.. they either can't get in past the kicks and punches and movement, or the get jammed...

another big one that people like to use is the old...
but they train strictly for the ring.. and the rules... they dont know about these things....

to which I have to reply... what professional fighters do you actually know and train with? Because I know several and train with several, and if you think they are training for the ring and the rules then you are sorely mistaken....

no my thoughts on the entire process is that Traditional Martial Arts in general(meaning there are few but some exceptions) take a long time to train the meat and potatos of combat, and then spend way to much time on the tactics that should be secondary...
where as professional fighters(for the most part) work on the developing the meat and potatos first, and dont worry about attacking you with finger strikes..

similar to the 80/20 rule..
professional fighters are focused on the 20 percent of things that gets 80 percent of the results...

where as traditional martial artists are more focused on the 80 percent of things that combine to come up with 20 percent of the solution..

now I don't think the 80% that traditional martial artists focus on is bad, I teach and train and work on that myself... but I spend most of my time on the 20%...

controlling distance, footwork, punches and kicks.

its all about return on investment..
 

LuckyKBoxer

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Pro MMA fighters are just that, Pros. Meaning that they get paid to fight. So they make it their jobs for the most part. A good part of every day is dedicated to preparing to fight someone else that is doing the same.

A TMA person is not training on the same level. If the TMA person is not putting in at minimum 6 hours of training (an again this is minimum) then there is no way he is as conditioned as an MMA guy.

Remember MMA guys give and take blows that would cripple most people. These guys bodies are so hardened that they could most likely stand and let most people give their best shot and not be phased. But most people could not do the same and simply take a MMA guys best shot.

They have been in many armature fight to get to this hardened state, so by the time they fight pro they are pretty solid and it would take someone as solid to even hurt them. The average TMA instructor has not been in many fights if any and the few fights they have been in are most likely so far apart time wise that anybody conditioning from them has long subsided.

Now if a TMA person made fighting his job and life and dedicated the same amout of time training, fighting, and conditioning as any Pro MMA person, well then you would have a killing machine. Because many of the techniques used are for maiming and killing, not sport.

Just my .02

almost all of this is complete nonsense.
Only the very top Professional
fighters fall into this category, the vast majority of them are nowhere close.. Also the vast majority of Pro fighters do not spend more then a couple hours a day training, they just train more intensely, and more to the point with a much more condensed curriculum them TMAs.

the point you bring up that I completely agree with is that most professionals are completely dedicated to their training and do so with vigor, where most practitioners of the TMAs do so as a hobby..
The TMA practitioners that train with vigor are extremely formidable...
 

Tez3

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I've been watching MMA for a couple of years and have begun to wonder about the level of fighting on display. Some people say that the striking is far below the standards of Boxing and K-1. I've talked to Martial Arts masters who are critical of the quality of fighting in MMA and say that Martial Artists who train for self-defense are far more proficient fighters than MMA fighters who train within a setting with rules.

This got me to thinking about how good of fighters high level Martial Arts masters are. Most MMA fans believe that Traditional Martial Artists are not good fighters. They point to the early UFCs as evidence and say that alot of TMA techniques are impractical. They believe that you must have a good takedown defense and a ground game to have any chance against a Mixed Martial Artist in a fight and that the best fighters in the world compete professionally.

But I know of schools that teach a blend of Martial Arts and address strength and conditioning as well as full-contact sparring. Basically everything an MMA fighter trains in but within a dojo setting rather than a gym. Some Martial Arts masters have even claimed to compete in underground street fights to test their skills.

What do you think? Are there Martial Arts masters who are better fighters than Professional MMA fighters? Where is the evidence for this?



Oh goody, another TMA v MMA thread. Why do people feel it's fine to do this? why not pick on another style?

Most MMA fans? You mean the MMA fans who don't do martial arts but sit on their backsides watching the television.

You've watched MMA fights for a couple of years, how many fighters have you seen, how many shows, have you fought, reffed or even cornered. Do you train MMA?


Please stop trying to stir up things between TMA people and MMA because many are both.
 

Xue Sheng

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Cung Le (sports Sanda now MMA) and my Sanda (police/military version) Sifu

Frankly I would not want to stand toe to toe with either of them since my health insurance does not cover acts of stupidity

And of course there is my taiji Sifu who can throw me around like a rag doll and he is half my size and over 20 years older than me.

IMO... no difference a good fighter is a good fighter whether MMA or TMA and tough is tough no matter what
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Oh goody, another TMA v MMA thread. Why do people feel it's fine to do this? why not pick on another style?

Most MMA fans? You mean the MMA fans who don't do martial arts but sit on their backsides watching the television.

You've watched MMA fights for a couple of years, how many fighters have you seen, how many shows, have you fought, reffed or even cornered. Do you train MMA?


Please stop trying to stir up things between TMA people and MMA because many are both.
Not to mention that most traditional martial arts have a well developed competitive element, such as Judo, Karate, Taekwondo, etc. To say that one does traditional martial arts does not negate them from having a competition record. Case in point, anyone involved in kendo for any length of time will have a fight record. I imagine that the same is true of Judo.

One other observation is that saying TMA is like saying motor vehicles (there are as many different TMA's as there are makes of cars), while MMA is like saying crossover SUV. A crossover SUV is a motor vehicle. So is everything else with a license plate that is not a trailer. To have a really decent comparison between crossover SUV's and a different type of vehicle, you cannot simply compare them to 'vehicles' and expect to get very far.

Likewise, to have a decent discussion where you compare MMA to TMA, a specific TMA or related group of TMA's need to be stated. There are numerous internal arts and dozens of weapon arts that are all TMA. How do you compare Qi Jong to MMA? How do you compare kyudo? Kendo? Iaido? Escrima?

Daniel
 

ATC

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almost all of this is complete nonsense.
Only the very top Professional
fighters fall into this category, the vast majority of them are nowhere close.. Also the vast majority of Pro fighters do not spend more then a couple hours a day training, they just train more intensely, and more to the point with a much more condensed curriculum them TMAs.
I am talking about the top few, my apologies for not making that clear enough. Also If they are only putting in a couple of hours of training a day then they are not training at top level. I am not talking about just the 2 hours of exercise, but everything training entails. This is the technique training, the footwork training, the hand training, the focus and accuracy training, the study time, and last but not least the simple physical exercise training, not to mention the road work. Add this all up you will get 6 plus hours of training time a day. And it all won't just be one after another either you have to factor in some recovery breaks in between much of that. Time will add up. The point is that a good portion of the day will be dedicated to training. Maybe not every day but when you know you have a match coming up and you are training for a fight then yeah, things will ramp up. And there is more to training then just simple exercises.

the point you bring up that I completely agree with is that most professionals are completely dedicated to their training and do so with vigor, where most practitioners of the TMAs do so as a hobby..
The TMA practitioners that train with vigor are extremely formidable...
I see you got my point. So it was not complete nonsense. If you don't agree with something, just say so. Have some tact. This way we can be agreeable when we disagree.
 

ap Oweyn

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I've been watching MMA for a couple of years and have begun to wonder about the level of fighting on display. Some people say that the striking is far below the standards of Boxing and K-1. I've talked to Martial Arts masters who are critical of the quality of fighting in MMA and say that Martial Artists who train for self-defense are far more proficient fighters than MMA fighters who train within a setting with rules.

People who say that are declining or forgetting to account for the fact that the striking in boxing and K1 can look the way it does because they don't need to worry about the shoot, takedown, etc. I heard Ed O'Neill (TV's Al Bundy) talking about how the UFC has gone downhill. He's a big Gracie supporter. And, while it's nice to see him get involved, he said that the punching you see in UFC is really sloppy by boxing standards. Which abjectly ignores the fact that the punches are being thrown in a totally different environment. Hook punches, for instance, tend to be wider, loopier punches in a grappling-permitted environment because a close-range hook (as in boxing) would have the grappler virtually all over you before you hit him. And, while there's a time and place for that, there's also wisdom in developing a hooking punch that can hit him outside of seizing range.

If you want to see good examples of striking well integrated with its MMA counterpart, watch the likes of George St. Pierre. The guys who are good at striking in that context are the ones who have learned how to adapt the function (and consequently, often, the look) of their strikes to account for new threats.

Don't listen to voices that lack experience. Including mine. Go and talk to high-level competitors in MMA. Get their rationale.


Stuart
 

Kneevsface

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Well im a mma fighter an to be honest yea we are hell conditioned but alot of us shape u like a boxer who kicks as tma have a set style designed to take down in an aponent in 1 strike or as few as posible. Watch some krav maga or traditional wing chun an u will no wat i mean. In a mma fight when sum one punches we gaurd an cover up in tma u block the strike to the side an counter atack with fatal blows. The reson im sayin this is i done wing chun for years an got into mma not that long ago. They are both totaly different from each other so u cant even compare them. Its like saying who would win out of a boxer or korean tae kwando. If they are close together. The boxer wins if they have a bit of space the kicker would win. So u cant even class tma an mma in the same catogory
 

MJS

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I've been watching MMA for a couple of years and have begun to wonder about the level of fighting on display. Some people say that the striking is far below the standards of Boxing and K-1. I've talked to Martial Arts masters who are critical of the quality of fighting in MMA and say that Martial Artists who train for self-defense are far more proficient fighters than MMA fighters who train within a setting with rules.

This got me to thinking about how good of fighters high level Martial Arts masters are. Most MMA fans believe that Traditional Martial Artists are not good fighters. They point to the early UFCs as evidence and say that alot of TMA techniques are impractical. They believe that you must have a good takedown defense and a ground game to have any chance against a Mixed Martial Artist in a fight and that the best fighters in the world compete professionally.

But I know of schools that teach a blend of Martial Arts and address strength and conditioning as well as full-contact sparring. Basically everything an MMA fighter trains in but within a dojo setting rather than a gym. Some Martial Arts masters have even claimed to compete in underground street fights to test their skills.

What do you think? Are there Martial Arts masters who are better fighters than Professional MMA fighters? Where is the evidence for this?

I'll say what I have said in the countless other threads...both can benefit from each other. While I will say that chances are, the MMA guy will be in better shape, due to their conditioning, however, IMO, this doesn't make them invincible fighters, like I've seen people claim. (Not necessarily anyone on this thread, just making a general observation.) I think, after watching the FQ show, we saw 2 guys, Jim and Doug, who're great MMAists in their own right, have some issues with the TMA guys. We heard them both comment that it was hard for them to break out of their old habits.

As for the 'deadly shots'...well, I've commented on those before. While they are good tools to have, IMHO, I feel that if those are the only options that one has, then IMO, that person needs to re-evaluate their training, because something is lacking.

Will the MMAist be well rounded in a SD situation? IMO, it depends on how they train. If they're not training for something, I just dont see how they'd survive. I mean, look at it like this....if the MMA guy makes the statement that unless a TMAist has grappling knowledge, they wont stand a chance, the same can be said of the MMAist, if he is faced with a setting that is outside their relm.

Again, I think both have their merits. I've added in some MMA training ideas/methods to my own training.
 

Archangel M

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Both fighters being equal in skill and mindset I give the Pro fighter the edge because they are IN SHAPE.

Too many MA'ists fall into the "a fight will be over so quick that I can be an out of shape slug" rationalization.

My typical confrontational .02 :)
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Conditioning and mindset. These are two things that are very, very important for anyone involved in any contact endeavor. However like Tez3 said this really is getting pretty old. MMA, TMA, Combatives, etc. each has some thing that could be great either in a competitive ring environment or on the street. In the end I don't care if you train mma, tma, combatives, etc. (whatever you want to call it) If you are not mentally strong, have conditioning and are willing to do what it takes plus technique to back it then you will probably not succeed.

As for the rest of the what if's out there? Is BJJ better than MMA? Can a Judo guy beat an Olympic Wrestler? Does a military combatives guy/gal have the skill set to beat a thug? Does a Krav Maga guy have greater skill than a Budo Taijutsu practitioner? Will a Muay Thai practitioner beat a Kyokushinkai practitioner? Who is better a Spetznatz or a Navy Seal? Come on how about these what if's? If I do an armbar on somebody and he rolls out what do I do? Will a wrist lock actually work? What if he puts me in a head lock and hits me ten times, what do I do? If my arm is behind my back and he is choking me is there a way out? If my arm is broken and I am being stomped in the head what do I do? What do you do when attacked by ten bikers?

Okay so enough of my rant! Bottom line I have met some incredible practitioners from a lot of different back grounds. That is from bjj, mma, win chun, sanda, budo taijutsu, judo, hapkido, aikido, taijiquan, boxing, tae kwon do, tang soo do, greco roman wrestling, modern arnis, kali, eskrima, silat, kuntaw, muay thai, jeet kune do, etc., etc., etc. I have also almost always met someone from one of these back grounds that would be very hard pressed to take care of themselves inside or outside of a ring. In the end it will come down to the practitioner and their unique individual abilities. Will certain systems help individuals in certain environments? Yes!!! However just because you train in a certain system will not make you good nor should you attempt to ride the coat tails of the good people in that system. Instead concentrate on yourself and getting better each day, month, year! Then maybe over time you will be better yourself. Good luck! ;)
 

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I've been watching MMA for a couple of years and have begun to wonder about the level of fighting on display. Some people say that the striking is far below the standards of Boxing and K-1. I've talked to Martial Arts masters who are critical of the quality of fighting in MMA and say that Martial Artists who train for self-defense are far more proficient fighters than MMA fighters who train within a setting with rules.

This got me to thinking about how good of fighters high level Martial Arts masters are. Most MMA fans believe that Traditional Martial Artists are not good fighters. They point to the early UFCs as evidence and say that alot of TMA techniques are impractical. They believe that you must have a good takedown defense and a ground game to have any chance against a Mixed Martial Artist in a fight and that the best fighters in the world compete professionally.

But I know of schools that teach a blend of Martial Arts and address strength and conditioning as well as full-contact sparring. Basically everything an MMA fighter trains in but within a dojo setting rather than a gym. Some Martial Arts masters have even claimed to compete in underground street fights to test their skills.

What do you think? Are there Martial Arts masters who are better fighters than Professional MMA fighters? Where is the evidence for this?

Here's the answer......TALK IS CHEAP! Anyone can flap their gums about being the best fighter IF they decided to actually fight........but when it's all said and done, most of it just gum flapping.
 

sgtmac_46

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I'm sure professional MMA fighters can hold their own in a SD situation.

I'm quite sure of that fact.

It's the same argument that many martial artists used to make about boxing.

I hear a lot of talk about how MMA fighters don't 'Train for the street' how someone who 'Trains for the street' would be a better street fighter.

Here's the flaw in that logic.........you can 'train' for the street all you want, but most of those claiming to train for the street don't actually FIGHT IN THE STREET! They train for what they IMAGINE a street fight being, and do simply that.......TRAIN!

Where MMA fighters have the advantage is they don't just train.......they FIGHT! Yes, it's a fight with rules, but actually FIGHTING with rules, is an advantage over training for a fight you imagine without rules, and never actually fighting it.

Now, some will argue that many of those 'training for the street' spar........that's true, but SPARRING is not the same as actually fighting...........even fighting in the ring is different that sparring. There is a difference between sparring with a training partner, even heavy sparring, and entering a ring where another man is intent on pummeling you until you submit or are rendered unconscious.

I also hear mentioned that training for mindset is missing in MMA.........well that is true, IF the person saying it means the concept of pre-emption, and situational awareness. But if they mean that those who 'train for the street' have a superior will to survive, they are absolutley WRONG! The kind of aggressive temperament that drives a man to overcome and bludgeon another man to unconsciousness or submission is actually GREATER than the will merely to survive in a fight. In fact, the kind of person willing to put their own well being in jeopardy to destroy another person is more likely to win a fight, than someone who is concerned about their own well being. Numerous examples exist of that in the real world.

That's not to say that there isn't merit to 'training for the street'........but this notion that MMA fighters are, somehow, inferior street fighters because they train and fight for the ring is, at it's core, a bit delusional and based on some pretty faulty assumptions. The reality is that many in MMA were and are superior street fighters, with REAL world experience (Bas Rutten, Pat Miletich, etc) who got in to MMA for a desire for physical combat.
 
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K831

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The only correct answer is "it depends".

On a whole lot of things. I have a lot of friends and family on one side or the other (TMA/MMA) and quite a few who do both.

Out of all 3 of those groups, there are some who can really "fight" anytime, anywhere. And some who really couldn't defend themselves adequately, for training reasons, personality and psychological reasons etc.

I have MMA friends who are so whole hardily convinced that because they have some techniques that work in competition that they will win over any silly TMA SD tactic. This delusion would cause them great trouble as they truly fail to see any difference between a dangerous SD situation and competition. They never train for or consider any type of multiple attacker or weapon etc.

I have one TMA buddy whose instructor has so thoroughly convinced him that his 2000 year old ancient killing art is far too deadly to even spar with. He is sure is "practices in the air" have him ready for the meanest dude out there. He will be in bad shape if he ever has to use it, I'm afraid.

The professional fighters we see in MMA are professional athletes, when I hear the term "Professional Fighter" I think of a couple of my buddies, like my pal who is a force recon Marine. Now that boy is a professional fighter, with all weapons, all ranges in all terrains.
 

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Another VS thread...

The way I see it if you take a Martial Arts and want to compete effectively against a one on one sport enviornment you have to do the following.

-Change the concept of self defense to sport. Drop the world of illegal hits and destruction to rules and points. Alot of techniques in self defense are not for tapping out, its for limb destruction, if it is effective or not is not the question, but even in old mma destroying fingers and wrists to get an edge isnt a sport, a competetion would not grow from that as you will have a fight of no-named alternates fighting each round with players getting their eyes damaged and fingers ripped off and windpipe crushed.

-Since vital areas are illegal, strike areas that are legal and dont bother with hand conditioning as the gloves absorb impact

-Since your options are low (no obstruction, strictly one on one, clean ground, no outside distraction) you can work on ranges that are usually deemed unsafe in the streets, like ground and long clinches, with no attention to outside awarness or awareness of weapons.

-Eliminate knife disarms and other techniques. In mma, you dont focus on one target like the hand, they arent armed. They are pro fighters, their whole body is a weapon, and you would never have to worry about a weapon, its just wasted awareness.

This is effectively called, "playing their game". This is the route Kyokushin, Judo, BJJ, Full Contact Karate aka kickboxing, and Muay Thia did. If you are willing to give up all that, which is essentially the ABC's of self defense, then you can stand a chance in sport mma. Lyoto Machida has people scratching their heads to his karate, and Belfort is taking up shotokan karate too, so tma does offer different perspectives to fighting that can keep the boxing and muay thia mma fighters guessing their fighting patterns. They modified what was once only used for self defense.

I would go further and mention that a MA (as titled in this post) will also have a difficult time beating a MMA if they meet in a situation similar to sport mma (which isnt so uncommon to face one on one in an opened area like a street or bar as though it stays one on one).

But I would bet that a knife or group situation I would go with the MA, mostly because they except these situations as their training, and many schools apply these situations in training just as rigoursly and focused as an mma fighter fighting one on one in an octagon in training (basically, the training is the same but the situation and circumstances arent), only difference is that the ma fighter wont make a career or come out on tv for it.

Best bet it to embrace both worlds, have both work together. Spar with more protected gear that allows you to target the eyes and throat (full face masks as worn in shorinjikempo), train in group sparring, and perform knife sparring with rubber weapons in obstructed spaces, bascially take the formula of mma (which is sparring) and apply it to common self defense situations. Be just as comfortable in this chaos as you are with an octagon.
 

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