Traditional Martial Arts vs Mixed Martial Arts
Is the popularity of MMA a threat for traditional martial arts? Is MMA more attractive and effective than traditional martial arts?
There is no doubt that MMA is getting a lot of publicity and we all know MMA is here to stay. But I have no doubt that traditional martial arts and MMA can coexist. No matter how much you try to promote MMA as a legitimate sport, there are and will be people who would never like the violence part of it, especially older audiences.
Now, are traditional martial arts as effective and reality based as MMA? As someone who has trained in Karate, Ju-Jitsu, Judo, Aikido and MMA extensively I can say anybody who questions the effectiveness of traditional martial arts, does not have an in depth knowledge of the arts.
I had an opportunity to train in Karate in one of the oldest dojos in Okinawa. The style of Karate that I trained in this dojo is Uechi Ryu, under Master Kanei Uechi, of Futenma, Okinawa. This style of Karate emphasis simplicity, and stability; combines linear and circular movements. Proponents claim the style is more practical for self defense than most other martial arts. Special forms of strength training and body conditioning are generally practiced in Uechi-Ryu drilling. A formal Uechi-Ryu forearm conditioning exercise, called kote kitae, involves the ritualized pounding of one's fists and forearms against the forearms of a partner. Kanbun Uechi learned this conditioning exercise in China. A similar Uechi-Ryu exercise involves exchanging leg kicks with a partner (ashi kotae). Working with a makiwara is also a part of Uechi-Ryu training. Uechi-Ryu karateka also incorporate other traditional Okinawan physical conditioning exercises as part of their training, such as plunging hands into baskets full of rocks, or performing Sanchin kata leg movements while gripping nigiri-game (heavy stone jars). Critics of traditional martial arts forget where all the techniques of MMA have come from. All the striking techniques are derived from old striking arts such as Karate, Muay Thai etc. and do I have to write about history of BJJ and its roots from Judo and Japanese Jujutsu?
With the popularity of MMA, there is a school and an MMA fight night everywhere these days. I see lots of fighters who are just not ready to get in to the ring or octagon because they just don’t have the skills. There is a wealth of knowledge in traditional martial arts that any MMA fighter can take advantage of.
All those forms and techniques which may look boring and ineffective to some people are created to improve balance, leverage and power. Traditional martial arts may only look boring to some people because they don’t understand them. Remember there would be no MMA if there were not any traditional martial arts.