Traditional Martial Arts vs MMA?
When it comes to why we train martial arts, we all have very personal motivations. For me, the internal side of Wing Chun and it’s applicability towards helping me lead a fulfilling life is primary. This answer is very common amongst us martial artists.
The goal of martial arts, to my understanding, was for self improvement. If this is an internal aspect for training, then one can only assume that the need for martial arts training is to learn how to better interact and contribute with others during our time on this planet. The argument can be made that self defense is the external side and is by default, means for self improvement is achieved by not getting killed by an enemy.
From the outside and ignorant world, martial arts is an achieved skill set of physical application for fighting. Martial Artists train hard, rank in belts, sashes, patches, all in chase of a goal of physical skill.
Drills, forms, sparring, chi sau, katas, etc… All for…?
When it boils down to the hard and long hours, days, months, years, lifetime of training…what are we using it for?
The worst reality check is that we as martial artists can never truly test our skill. Me for example, I train in Wing Chun Kung Fu, an art focusing on killing or maiming any enemy who trys to harm me. God willing, I will never be attacked in my lifetime to have to use my Wing Chun.
But in my past I have used my Wing Chun. Several times in fact. As a police officer, I have used my Wing Chun every single time I went “hands on” with a subject. I have been involved in countless bar fights and even used my Wing Chun while I was an amateur boxer. Had I known Wing Chun during my Wrestling years, I would have taken State all 4 years.
But never have I “unleashed” my Wing Chun. There can never be a true demo of Wing Chun. To do so would be fatal to your demo partner.
All these years and the many to come that I will train in Wing Chun and I will most likely NEVER have to use it (God willing). Now, from an internal side, that in itself is a gift. After all, he who avoids a fight is truly invincible.
So, when we look at the physical perspective of not being able to fully use our training and art, we negate 99% of all the “my martial art is better than your martial art” arguments.
But the pressing thought in my mind lately is that there is one medium which does get to fully use their training, and I may be envious of it…MMA.
Mixed Martial Arts is not a passion of mine. Nor is it a focus or ambition. To tell the truth, I have maybe watched 10 MMA fights since its inception. I will admit, being a former Wrestler, I miss and crave competition, but there is my dilemma…I train for a different reason now and it is not competition.
But the MMA Fighters of today get to do something we as Traditional Martial Artists do not. They get to apply their craft FULL SPEED and ALL OUT! I classify Boxing and Wrestling in the MMA category for this discussion as those being able to go all out, as they are also forms of combat.
But, it is an acknowledgment from my end that the MMA medium is a far superior one to Traditional Martial Arts training in that they get to test their theories of applicability in full action.
Insert the “within the guidelines and rules” disclaimer and throw in the “MMA is a Sport” argument and we will have a level playing field.
So, hats off to you MMA Fighters! Bravo for being able to test your skill and walk away knowing you gave it your all in the ring. I just pray you never have to meet any of us traditional guys in the street. Cheers!