Despite its name, ‘Mixed Martial Arts’ is not, technically speaking, a martial art.
Mixed Martial Arts is a professional combat sport.
There is a reason to suggest that the traditional martial arts might be losing out to mixed martial arts (MMA) in popularity and appealing to mainstream culture. MMA is a sport that is the fastest growing in the world.
As a result, traditional martial arts dojos are losing students to MMA gyms. Therefore the number of students practicing TMA has decreased and the number of students training MMA has increased.
There are some critics that state MMA is exploiting traditional martial arts without giving them credit and portraying traditional martial arts as ineffective in actual combat competition and more suite for some self-defense. The claim is that MMA training is superior to all other martial art disciplines.
What are traditional martial arts?
Traditional martial arts refer to martial arts that follow the system of belief by the arts original master. For example, Bruce Lee was a student of Wing Chun master Ip Man.
Lineage is an important aspect of these martial arts. Subsequent masters are chosen to carry on these teachings and beliefs. As a result, these traditional training methods require that the student upholds the principles and philosophies of the art. Therefore traditional martial arts have a long history and are sometimes referred to classical martial arts. They often have roots in a countries history, for example, kung fu in China, Taekwondo in Korea and Karate in Japan.
The difference between MMA and traditional martial arts
MMA is not an independent art like traditional martial arts. It is a hybrid or cross-training of many different traditional arts to compete in the various aspects of MMA such as grappling, ground fighting and striking skills.
Therefore, MMA fighters see themselves as trying to integrate the most effective and applicable techniques of a variety of fighting styles.
MMA gyms creating effective fighters but are they developing their student’s characters?
Traditional martial arts are not only about fighting and self-defense they are believed to implement philosophy, discipline and respect in their teachings to develop the person as a whole. There is an argument that this is no existent in MMA.
Traditional martial artists in MMA:
The public opinion is that MMA training is superior to traditional Martial Arts in terms real-life effectiveness. However, traditional martial artists have enjoyed success competing at the highest level of MMA. UFC superstars such as George St. Pierre, Rhonda Rousey and Lyoto Machida come from traditional martial arts backgrounds.
St. Pierre prides himself on being a martial artist and is a Kyokushin Karate black belt.
Female superstar Rousey was a Bronze Medalist in judo at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She implements her traditional martial arts background in MMA and is very successful with it.
Machida is a Shotokan Karate Black belt and also a high-level UFC fighter who uses his background in traditional arts successfully.
These are some of the examples and reasons that traditional martial arts can be used effectively in MMA. These UFC superstars that come from traditional martial arts backgrounds have spurred on the use of traditional martial arts in MMA.