This is an article I wrote for Black Belt Magazine and it got published in the January 2009 issue. I edited it a bit to make it more blog-friendly and cut it down in size. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.
“From mixed martial arts to the street: Practical grappling skills for real-life self defense”
The first Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993 started a revolution in martial arts competitions: Very few techniques were prohibited:
- Vicious elbows to the face.
- Joint locks carried out to the fullest.
- Strikes to the back of the head
- Even kicking a downed opponent.
But the biggest upset was the fact that having a ground game and solid grappling skills proved an absolute necessity to leave the Octagon a winner. The Gracie family proved the effectiveness of its ju-jitsu ground techniques by placing one of their lightest fighters (Royce Gracie weighed a whopping 175 lbs.) against primarily heavyweight opponents. More often than not he managed to submit or choke out his opponents with an almost disheartening ease.
Nowadays, MMA competitors no longer fear the ground and are well-rounded professional athletes. They are masters of full-power striking techniques, grappling, groundwork, and most of all, they flow effortlessly from the one to the other when the situation demands it. This makes them formidable opponents and places MMA as one of the most well-rounded combat arts in the world.
The sport itself also changed; it turned into a multi-million dollar industry, eclipsing boxing and other martial arts in popularity. With the increased public awareness came a rise in misconceptions about not only the sport but martial arts and violence in general. The cage is viewed by many practitioners as the ultimate proving grounds for martial art styles. They argue that if exponents of any given system cannot beat an opponent in the cage or Octagon, then that system is worthless. They reason that MMAs have proven they can take down anyone fighting solely with traditional martial arts and then beat or submit them with ground fighting. The seemingly obvious conclusion is that the Mixed Martial Artist is the ultimate fighter in both the cage and the street. But is this statement true?
To a certain extent, it most certainly is: [Read more…]