MMA and similar arts are not true Martial Arts?

Hanzou

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Came across this article from a guy who does Aikido, basically saying that due to a lack of spiritual focus, and instead a focus that purely revolves around fighting, MMA and similar styles can't be considered "Martial Arts".

The original concept of UFC as a proving ground where stylistic martial theory could be put to the test was also very interesting. But the more I watched, the more the fights (and fighters) start to all look the same, and the more I saw lucky wild strikes and raw physical power being used to win fights instead of actual technical skills. There are a very few people in mixed martial arts today who I would consider to be true martial artists, those who have dedicated their lives to honing not only their physical skills, but their mind and character as well. The true martial artist in MMA are the few shining examples awash in a sea of athletes with self-esteem and anger issues. No doubt MMA fighters are elite athletes and dangerous fighters, but by and large, they are not martial artists.


Shoshin Examiner Aikido in the Age of MMA

I find such reasoning to be silly, but I would lying if I said I hadn't heard it before from traditional stylists on one form or another.

So, are MMA and similar arts truly martial arts, or are the something different? Perhaps simply combative sports?
 
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Tony Dismukes

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But the more I watched, the more the fights (and fighters) start to all look the same, and the more I saw lucky wild strikes and raw physical power being used to win fights instead of actual technical skills.

This would seem to demonstrate some gaps in the writer's technical understanding.

MMA gyms teach fighting skills and techniques without the underlying spiritual and philosophical components that foster the personal growth, mental control, respect for other human beings, and social responsibility that must accompany the powerful knowledge and skills that are being sought. The fact that martial arts are being stripped of their philosophical and ethical basis and offered up for mass consumption in this form is very disconcerting

If being a real martial art necessarily includes "underlying spiritual and philosophical components that foster the personal growth, mental control, respect for other human beings, and social responsibility", then most martial arts schools in any style are not teaching real martial arts. Even most schools that give lip service to that kind of personal development aren't really doing a lot to effectively reach that goal.

Martial arts can be used as a tool for personal growth, but that's kind of a personal journey you have to take on your own. No teacher can hand it to you or make it a requirement for the next belt test. I wrote down some of my thoughts on the matter here.
 

K-man

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Came across this article from a guy who does Aikido, basically saying that due to a lack of spiritual focus, and instead a focus that purely revolves around fighting, MMA and similar styles can't be considered "Martial Arts".



Shoshin Examiner Aikido in the Age of MMA

I find such reasoning to be silly, but I would lying if I said I hadn't heard it before from traditional stylists on one form or another.

So, are MMA and similar arts truly martial arts, or are the something different? Perhaps simply combative sports?
Unfortunately you find almost everyone else's opinion silly, and this is no exception.
This is the sentence to which you refer ..
"No doubt MMA fighters are elite athletes and dangerous fighters, but by and large, they are not martial artists."

It just depends on how you define 'martial artist'. In this light probably none of the RBSD systems would be martial arts either. I think it's an interesting concept and worthy of discussion but not 'silly'.

Of course it wouldn't be you without a sting in the tail for 'traditional stylists'. Obviously traditional stylists shouldn't have an opinion.
 

Drose427

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Personally, I dont consider MMA its own Martial Art or Style, but I find no reason to not consider other Combative sports like wrestling, boxing, etc. Martial Arts.


You can get all those things in Boxing, Wrestling, Muay Thai, etc.

While the "Martial" pertains to military, to me "Martial Arts" are just systems and/or traditions of combat practices, regardless of purposes.

While some will say it cant be counted as an "art" without the spirituality and philosophy, I disagree. seeing someone perform something at such a high level is awe-inspiring, like an art form.

To me, even the combative sports apply here because fighters are striving to improve their abilities to the highest level.

In advertisement for our school, we say "do it for yourself"

The discipline, dedication, personal growth, responsibility, etc are all talked about briefly but we dont focus on them in the ad. If you're still achieving whatever you set out to through combative sports, you're still able to learn many of the lessons you could learn in other arts or styles.

To me, train for what you want. Your reasons for training doesnt define a combat system as a Martial Art. Your dedication to the art form does
 

Buka

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"Even though I know that fighting for the sake of competition was explicitly denounced by O-Sensei and is contrary to the essence of Aikido philosophy, I still enjoy a good fight, and I often feel terribly guilty about it. I used to justify my interest and indirect support of MMA by saying that in order to have effective defense, we must understand the physical expression of aggression in all its forms, a kind of know your opponent rationale, which I think has some validity."

Please tell me he's being tongue and cheek clever. Please?

Please tell me he's not feeling guilty over watching something because his Instructor is making him feel that way.
 

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Oh dear. I find the quote in the OP's post to be taking itself far too seriously.

We can get technical whether MMA is a martial art or not. It is specifically a ruleset. However, didn't Judo start out as a ruleset? It's certainly it's own martial art today regardless.

As time goes on, MMA fighters are starting to look more and more the same to me, but I'm fussy and jaded. There certainly is the general outline of an MMA "style" being formed I think. I think sooner or later, you'll be able to call MMA its own martial art.

I really hate it when someone says "if your art doesn't have XYZ it's not a martial art".
 

K-man

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As time goes on, MMA fighters are starting to look more and more the same to me, but I'm fussy and jaded. There certainly is the general outline of an MMA "style" being formed I think. I think sooner or later, you'll be able to call MMA its own martial art.
I would regard BJJ as a martial on its own because it is developing or has developed an advanced form of principally ground fighting. Generally guys in MMA have been from varying backgrounds who have supplement their original style with another for Mixed Martial Art competition. These days gyms are springing up and promoting 'MMA'. How can it be mixed if it is one style of training? There are guys all over the world trying to develop comprehensive fighting systems but normally they won't be as heavily focused on one element of their training as you see in MMA where the BJJ aspect is dominant. In the same light that BJJ is a martial art so too are System, Krav and Silat and all of these are technically mixed martial arts but each with an individual syllabus.

I would suggest that MMA as such is not a martial art by itself but a system of training that will vary from one gym to another and emphasising different aspects of the training. Unless you are going to standardise the system and give it a name, I can't see how MMA can be a martial art in the true sense. It is certainly a grey area.
 

drop bear

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Unfortunately you find almost everyone else's opinion silly, and this is no exception.
This is the sentence to which you refer ..
"No doubt MMA fighters are elite athletes and dangerous fighters, but by and large, they are not martial artists."

It just depends on how you define 'martial artist'. In this light probably none of the RBSD systems would be martial arts either. I think it's an interesting concept and worthy of discussion but not 'silly'.

Of course it wouldn't be you without a sting in the tail for 'traditional stylists'. Obviously traditional stylists shouldn't have an opinion.

Do you feel the opinion has merit?
 

drop bear

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Ok I think people don't understand mma or spirituality. And that one of the paths to personal development is hardship.

that's philosophy that is.

 

drop bear

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I would suggest that MMA as such is not a martial art by itself but a system of training that will vary from one gym to another and emphasising different aspects of the training. Unless you are going to standardise the system and give it a name, I can't see how MMA can be a martial art in the true sense. It is certainly a grey area.

Is karate standardized?
 

Danny T

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Is karate standardized?
Karate is an all encompassing name as is Kung Fu. There are many different systems of Karate with their own names and they are standardized (same with Kung Fu).
MMA competitions because of the specific rules, time limits, & 10-9 must point system the methods, strategies, & tactics are becoming rather standardized. If the environment were an ever changing item, if weapons were allowed, or multiply opponents were introduced you see some different methods, strategies, and tactics.
 

K-man

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Is karate standardized?
No. Karate is a generic term like MMA. When people say they study karate that is all the average person understands. But within karate there are different styles that are standardised. If I do Goju karate and travel to another country and train there at a Goju school, I will find the same training as at home. If I go to a Shotokan school, the training will be different. There will be things in common but I won't be able to perform a lot of their training, for example kata and bunkai.

A similar divide applies to generic Aikido. There are differences across the different styles.
 

drop bear

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No. Karate is a generic term like MMA. When people say they study karate that is all the average person understands. But within karate there are different styles that are standardised. If I do Goju karate and travel to another country and train there at a Goju school, I will find the same training as at home. If I go to a Shotokan school, the training will be different. There will be things in common but I won't be able to perform a lot of their training, for example kata and bunkai.

A similar divide applies to generic Aikido. There are differences across the different styles.

And mma If organization opens multiple schools.
 

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The guy doesnt know what his talking about. The word for martial art in Chinese is 甇行, 甇 means martial and means technique not art. People dont have to learn spirituality or whatever to do martial arts.
 

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... This is the sentence to which you refer ..
"No doubt MMA fighters are elite athletes and dangerous fighters, but by and large, they are not martial artists."

It just depends on how you define 'martial artist'....
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The Aikido stylist has it generally correct in terms of traditional martial arts, IMO. But again you have a definitional problem about what is MMA vs TMA.
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As well as what is spiritual vs. whatever.... TO ME, the key word is 'traditional,' not 'true.' That's the defining term.
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I've said this before is that the MMA arena makes a great proving ground for traditional martial arts, in my case karate. Those "tippy tappy" baggers that K-Man is complaining about are going to get flattened pretty quickly in the MMA Octagon....
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That was over @ the "How Important is Fighting in Your Martial Art" T.
 

ShotoNoob

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... would suggest that MMA as such is not a martial art by itself but a system of training that will vary from one gym to another and emphasising different aspects of the training. Unless you are going to standardise the system and give it a name, I can't see how MMA can be a martial art in the true sense. It is certainly a grey area.
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I think, stylist differences aside (and I'll leave the technicals to those such as yourself), MMA schools as a generalization practice certain conventions that are fundamentally producing athletic skills. So whether it's BJJ or not, or something else, the underlying base is physical athletics.
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This is why you see the terms such as timing, distancing, balance, coordination, movement, reflexes, etc. when MMA type coaches or practitioners are talking about their martial art. Of course, many, many karateka do so too. But then it reveals they are taking a physical,athletic approach as well. That may qualify as good sport karate, it does not measure up to traditional karate....
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In fact when done mechanistically, a physical approach to traditional karate is an absolute disaster. This is where K-Man said you get those bagger's videos that show karateka robots marching forward leading with their face, forward hand in a low block, opposite hand chambered @ Waist. Standing like statues saying, no begging, "Hit me."
 

Zero

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This is why you see the terms such as timing, distancing, balance, coordination, movement, reflexes, etc. when MMA type coaches or practitioners are talking about their martial art. Of course, many, many karateka do so too. But then it reveals they are taking a physical,athletic approach as well. That may qualify as good sport karate, it does not measure up to traditional karate....
Hi! I find two aspects of your post hard to follow ShotoNoob. Firstly, so I understand what you mean by "traditional karate", from your previous posts I take it by this you mean karate equipped for and focusing on kumite, as in full contact, rather than just sport karate which is just point ("tippy tappy") karate with little real contact? Is that correct? If not please let me know what you mean by "traditional karate".

Secondly, it seems to be that you think aspects such as timing, distancing, balance, coordination, movement, reflexes has no place in traditional karate. And that these aspects are simply the physical/athletic approach and again, do not measure up to traditional karate. Is that what you are saying?

If so, can you please explain why these aspects and attributes do not apply to or have a place in either the training or application of traditional karate?

I am struggling to see how that could be? Surely at some stage, no matter what level of focus you place on the "mental" side of training, to implement such you must engage the physical side of your body to perform these techniques? Even your "air punching" of which you speak highly of requires physical expression of the mental elements.

I thought it would then follow that if your physical expression of such does not contain and have an appreciation of balance, movement and coordination, the movements will be little more than a shambles. And if you are seeking to apply these movements effectively against another person attacking you, surely reflexes, timing and distancing (and thus training in, studying and appreciating such) is crucial to ensuring your success?
 

K-man

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I've said this before is that the MMA arena makes a great proving ground for traditional martial arts, in my case karate. Those "tippy tappy" baggers that K-Man is complaining about are going to get flattened pretty quickly in the MMA Octagon....
The MMA arena is great for testing those who are training to compete. It does nothing for the rest of us.

The 'tippy tappy baggers' I refer to actually train MMA and BJJ. They are the ones that are bagging every other style so I am assuming that in the ring they could whoop everyone's ****.
 
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Hanzou

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The MMA arena is great for testing those who are training to compete. It does nothing for the rest of us.

I disagree. People also take up MMA for self defense purposes, and personal fitness.
 
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