The joys and pains of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

19 Jul

If you know me, you know I am honest. At times I am brutally honest. There are certainly things I do not like abot today’s Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) scene. And I’ve never been shy about voicing my concerns. But there are a few things about MMA that I just downright love!!! And that’s why I have kept an interest in MMA for so long.


Today’s MMA is most commonly made up of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, western boxing, and Muay Thai. There are certainly other influences like San Da, Karate, Judo, Catch Wrestling, Sambo, etc. In fact, what we’ve learned over these years is that if you embrace the modern approach to training, you can find stuff that works EVERYWHERE. And that is one of the things that I love about MMA.


The next thing I love about MMA is strangely something a lot of people still haven’t figured out yet, even after all these years? You can take all those different arts and use them in MMA but MMA is still NONE OF THEM. The striking is neither boxing nor Muay Thai. The clinch isn’t quite wrestling. It isn’t quite the Muay Thai clinch. The ground is a lot more than just Jiu Jitsu or wrestling or Judo or “submission.” Two of the most influential people I have ever worked with, Erik Paulson and Greg Nelson, have influenced me so much because of how they COMBINE things and make them more than the source material it came from.


Related to this point, is the fact that you can be a rock star in one discipline and yet still be a “no one” in MMA. And there are champions in MMA who aren’t particularly brilliant in any one particular area. What makes them MMA champions is the fact that they have all the skills and can INTEGRATE THEM.


I love Muay Thai, but I also know there is bascially one “road” to victory in it. Back in the day, there were also a certain finite ways to win a Sanshou/ San Da match. The same with basically all the disciplines previously mentioned. But in MMA, there are a myriad of ways to win. A fighter can even change his approach depending upon the match (certainly that’s what the most successful ones do!).


You can kick a puncher.
You can punch a kicker.
You can grapple a striker.
You can strike a grappler.
You can ground and pound the Jiu Jitsu guy.
You can submit the wrestler.
Yeah, all that is simplistic, but I am sure you get the idea.


Training MMA sucks. I mean, it’s darn hard. You work every muscle and every kind of endurace/ cardio. It’s no wonder injury rates in training are high.


In the larger picture of the martial arts, MMA should of course also be teaching us all our limitations. It should teach us exactly where we are on the “food chain.” It should teach us what is real and what is just fantasy (read that as “bull crap”). It should teach us all humility. Even though a lot of times it doesn’t, oh well…..


Despite some the things I said earlier, a lot of MMA people still stay closed minded. Let me tell you, there are things in Tai Chi, Shuai Jiao, otehr Chinese martial arts, that could improve their game. But a lot of people still think all “kung fu” must be crap. Others just don’t even realize there are arts like Savate for example.


All the diverstity. All the opportunity to learn and grow. The path to keeping martial arts relevant and constantly evolving. How could you not love MMA?


And now back to the grind at


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