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Top 10 Reasons MMA is not a Martial Art

by Steven Franz, Editor

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Please keep in mind as you read this issues editorial that these are simply my opinions about in regards to defining MMA in to the proper category. I am a fan of MMA, love to watch the shows and even have several students who have either fought or promoted these types of matches; however in this article will highlight the feelings on why I actually believe that MMA is bad for the overall perception of what martial arts truly are.

1.  The students of MMA train only for competition. Their skill set is designed taking from other arts and for use in a ring with rules. Competition schools exist in all venues of martial arts but when one replaces the reasons for training with the purpose of winning they are loosing sight of the true purpose of training in martial arts.

2.  The lack of respect among competitors, coaches and promoters. Since I was involved in judge, helping to promote and run events that were called "caged matches" from the early 1990's on I have come to see that there exists no code of honor among MMA schools and fighters. They talk "smack" all the time about each other, their opponents and what not. I truly understand the need to build yourself up if you are competitor and that this is a hot selling aspect of the MMA, but please remember that even in the old days martial artist would respect their opponents first.

3.  It is more or less a brawl. At the amateur level most competitors are in the ring to feed their own ego and few of them understand that being able to knockout someone proves nothing more than you beat that person at that moment. In the professional level the show more understanding on this but they are quite often full of arrogance. The main point is in the manner in which they treat other people outside the ring. I was working in a bar doing security one time and in came some guys who had just fought in an event held in Auburn, Indiana that night. They proceeded to get drunk and then eventually began challenging everyone in the bar stating things like "I feel the need to break someone's arm" and "I could choke out this entire bar". This type of attitude has nothing to do with real martial arts and it shows how backward MMA actually is.

4.  They will train anyone. Most MMA schools will teach anyone, even if they are a criminal. I have seen drug addicts, drunks, violent offenders and even pedophiles compete in MMA matches. I am sure if the school is ran by a great instructor there is probably a certain point at which they will not train a person, but it is still prominent all over the world that this going on. In real martial arts if you may be accepted to train at dojo if you are secretly any of these, but in time your Sensei will find out and they will either get you out of classes or if you are sincerely trying to change they may accept you there as long as you avoid your old mindset.

5.  There is no such thing as mastering a MMA. All over the US I hear people called Master today. When you ask them they claim to be master of some "hybrid" or "mixed" martial art. What is even worse is that they typically have less than four years training with any "accredited" or real master of a martial art...if any at all. It takes many years to master a martial art and making one up does not qualify anyone to claim the title of master. Most of the ones I have met claim such titles because they have won a few cage matches or worse yet because they want an ego boost. Real masters never claim to be a master but rather you know they are because their own aura commands a level of respect from the student.

6.  MMA practitioners always switch schools when it does not work out their way. As a matter of fact many people do this today which in terms of martial arts is very disrespectful...but it only frowned upon by the true martial art schools out there today. A real martial artist will only train at another facility, dojo or in a different system once their own Sensei deems them ready to do so. If a student is not ready then they are only hurting their own progress in their training of a martial art. No one ever gets good at something that does not push them, upset them or is done according to their own personal schedule. A Sensei knows best...you should trust yours if you train at a true dojo.

7.  Lack of inner development. Some of the MMA fighters I have met are very cocky and arrogant. They claim they can beat many of the other non MMA people out there all the time and are very rude and disrespectful of them. I simply listen because I know that anyone can be beaten at anytime...regardless of their training and skill. When I traveled to Okinawa I met many real masters and after training with them I don't think that an MMA fighter would really win since they do not train to win but to defeat their opponent. There is a different mindset in true martial arts training that only real martial artists will ever understand.

8.  MMA is a term...it is not a system, style or series of styles. MMA should be called CTC, or crossed training combat since many of the competitors have trained in many systems, but mastered none. A martial artists will spend their entire life dedicated to learning their art. Sure many of us do cross train, but that is only to enhance our own knowledge rather than skipping from art to art. We always come back to master our core system.

9.  MMA is nothing new. It is not some new martial art or event. It just has a good marketing firm behind it and appeals to bloody thirsty fans. The only reason MMA is so huge today is because it feeds the largest population age group in the world which is 18 to 34 who have been raised on violence. They have violent video games, movies and it is all around them in the media. Point in fact...violence is wrong and a last choice for any true martial artist.

10. MMA is nothing more than a sport. True martial arts is not about winning or loosing. It is not about earning titles or trophies. It is personal for the student who practices them. Competitive aspects of martial arts have actually damaged the true training purposes and harmed many martial artists all over the world...needlessly. MMA has done more than anything else to keep us label as training to fight or as violent training. The average person gets their education from what they see rather than what they experience. Seeing MMA on TV would make me avoid it at all costs since all I see is a fight. I am just thankful that in my era we had movies that showed the true side of martial arts such as the "Karate Kid" and the philosophies behind Chuck Norris' "A Force of One" and others.

Please keep in mind that I do enjoy watching the MMA events, not to see people beat each other up but rather to watch the application of their skills. I can not count the number of matches I have watched that ended with a lucky punch or kick and to be honest that keeps me very humble and helps me to realize that no matter how good I get at my own training I could be beaten at any given time.