Mixed Martial Arts Reality Versus False Perception
ORGANISERS of MMA continually have to fight for the right to hold events in council-run sports centres.
This is because the perception is that MMA is a brutal form of combat competition devoid of skill and only done by knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.
Of course this utter rubbish and is a common false perception by those who have usually never even seen a competition, or do not understand what actually is happening.
So, let's have a look at MMA and see if we can dispel some myths.
First off MMA has a far better safety record than boxing, the 'noble art' (respect).
This is because MMA fighters do not continually punch each other as they do in boxing and the gloves they wear are a lot smaller so MMA contestants cannot punch as hard as a boxer can (boxing gloves protect the hands not the opponent).
And because MMA fighters intersperse their striking with takedowns and ground fighting the frequency of strikes and the severity of the blows are a lot less than you get in a boxing match.
In MMA you can win a bout by submitting your opponent by a choke-hold or a submission technique such as an arm bar.
"Choking?" I can hear the detractors cry out! Yes, applying pressure to the carotoid and windpipe to cause the opponent to either go unconscious or submit.
Yes...it may sound barbaric. But actually if some one applies a full choke on you and you can't escape then trust me - you'll submit quickly!
And the same detractors will say: "Why do MMA? If you want to practice a martial art then why don't you do the Gentle Art of Judo?
"That's an art that even children can do safely..."
Ignorance is bliss they say - Judo is one art where choking is not only allowed but forms an integral part of both the syllabus and competitions (along with all those lovely submissions you see in MMA!).
And I can attest that when a Judoka gets to grips with you and applies a choke its no less effective than when an MMA fighters applies one!
Then there are all those "nasty" techniques such as the knee and elbow - which are very powerful weapons indeed.
Funny you never hear complaints about Thai and kickboxing using those techniques, or the thousands of karateka, Ju-jutsuka, kung fu practioners and hundreds of other arts training in these techniques.
It's all right to kick some one in the head in an Olympic Taekwondo match - but shock horror some one uses a knee in MMA and the fur is flying!
Do the detractors think that getting kicked in the head is any less painful or damaging than a knee to the cranium?
In fact there is more energy going into the head kick than a knee because a foot is at the bottom of you leg and has a greater acceleration than a knee. (body mass times speed = power. The faster a strike gets the harder it hits).
Another bugbear - and one of the main reasons why some won't allow an MMA contest to held on their premises - is the cage or Octagon.
For those who don't know what this is let me briefly explain. The cage or Octagon is an eight-sided fighting platform, usually raised from the ground by at least three foot.
Its sides consist of a chain-link fence, two doors and all framed by padded supports. The floor is sprung and has give in it.
To the detractors this is the final and most damning aspect of the whole MMA fighting concept.
Only animals need to be caged!
Eh - actually the cage is there for safety. How many times have you seen a wrestler thrown out of a traditional boxing ring?
That's because boxing rings were...designed for boxing not grappling contests. (The fact wrestlers actually throw opponents out of the ring, often followed by hitting the opponent with objects nearby such as chairs etc rarely attracts the same criticism that MMA does. But hey, wrestling is okay coz its granny's favourite show and is beloved by kids!!!!!).
MMA takes safety extremely seriously. A cage stops an opponent being thrown out of the fighting area and into the crowd.
Could you image the triumphant cries that would go up from the detractors if a heavy-weight MMA fighter squished some poor female spectator in the front row!
It was also adopted because MMA was a new sport and they wanted to do something that had never been done in the modern times before.
"But why would anyone want to fight in the first place? All combat arts are barbaric and don't have any place in a modern, civilised society."
Well, if you don't 'get it' fine...don't do it. But don't moralise to the rest of us - it isn't your place to tell us what to do with our bodies and what risks we should or can't take.
Human beings have always had the need to compete. Some do that at work, some measure themselves through board games such as chess, while others strive to be the best runner or athlete.
Nothing wrong with that - but the truth is they are really just substitutes for the real competition of combat. What is football by a pseudo battle between two armies, flags waving, battle chants shouting while the champions strive to launch the killer blow of a goal.
Rugby is even more closer still to combat and warfare because its a contact sport.
The same can be said of nearly all sports - which, if you look deep enough are based either on warfare or hunting. Even running comes from the need to be able to run after your prey and the first 'marathon' of course was done by a 'runner' taking news of war to the rest of the Greek army.
Martial artists and their fellow boxers et al are simply more truthful about their motivations and don't hide behind a veneer of deceit.
So what actually is MMA? Basically it is the combination of striking arts such as boxing, karate, Muay Thai, Taekwondo and many other arts with ground fighting arts such as ju-jutsu, western wrestling and judo etc.
It would seem that if you only do one or the other (striking arts as opposed to grappling arts) then that's okay then.
But you can't do both together!