T Nation

The State of the Art

Yeah I know we’ve discussed TMA and its place in MMA before, but I have just read a great article in last month’s Fighters Only and I wanted to raise a few new points.

The article raised the basic question of how TMA relates to MMA, and vice versa. The main thrust of the argument is that MMA is simply the nest stage of evolution of martial arts, and has in no way invalidated traditional arts.

Interestingly, Dave Camarillo of Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu argues that he will never see MMA as an art in its own right, and says that seeing it in this way represents a fundamental misunderstanding that holds a martial artist back. I know that is not a popular idea around these parts. Camarillo states that you need to love and train each of the arts, then bring them together, and cites Kenny Florian as an example of this mindset.

Matt Hume seems to agree, and bemoans those who just want to fight, rather than commit to lifelong development as a martial artist. He and Camarillo both point out that professionalism can kill off the respect engendered by TMA training, and replaces it with trash talking brashness.

That said, they argue that MMA has brought to martial arts the full contact lifestyle that it was lacking, and that this is pervading all arts, not killing them off. There’s even a Bruce Lee quote- “if you want to learn to swim, you’ve got to get in the water”. MMA has added heart and a will to suffer to the traditional values of the martial artist.

In conclusion, the idea seems to be that in an ideal world a synthesis will take place, with traditional styles being purged of the fake instructors who can’t really fight, and the traditional values of respect and life long dedication filtering into MMA, which will become a competitive aspect available to all martial artists of all backgrounds. It was a great article, and I would be interested in your thoughts. I for one found it quite inspiring, and I will be making more of an effort to follow the careers of Karo Parisyan, Lyoto Machida and Cung Le (who I had never heard of prior to reading this).

Karo cheats and is a dick, Machida drinks piss still like him though and Cung Le is an actor. Resoect Cung called Shamorck a bitch, Machida was a dick in one of his interviews and Karo’s a tool. Most of the arts about respect honor and whatever got tanked in UFC 1, most fighters respect each other anyway. Some people like to fight, who cares. No shit mma will never be seen as its own art becuase it is made up of whatever you feel like training in.

Cung Le also beat Shamrock, rather thoroughly.

TO the topic, MMA showed the general public that sport training, that is to say, training focused at least 50% on free-move, non-cooperative sparring, produces the most results. It does not invalidate all other training modalities, as each is used to build on specific attributes, but shows where the focus needs to be.

Being as many arts were developed with the idea of “sport” NOT in mind, it’s no wonder they don’t work for MMA.

MMA is not particularly a mix of various arts like many people want to think- it’s a mix of boxing, Muay Thai, and BJJ. There isn’t much else in there. Sure, there’s moves that aren’t normally found, such as that spinning backfist, but for the most part its a straight mix of those arts.

TMA’s that are designed for self defense will still work, regardless of what MMA does, or whether it’s around or fails or whatever. Too many people are getting into this thought process of “If it doesn’t work in UFC then it’s useless”, which is really supremely ironic. No one uses palm strikes in MMA, or bear swats, or maimers in MMA, but they’re pretty damn effective in the street. So the idea that MMA will “weed out” anything is kind of goofy, because certain things need to be worked on even when they probably won’t be needed in MMA.

However, I do hope that it makes more martial arts get rid of the ridiculous child/fat housewife friendly idea of “no contact”, because that really is just garbage.

[quote]Roundhead wrote:

In conclusion, the idea seems to be that in an ideal world a synthesis will take place, with traditional styles being purged of the fake instructors who can’t really fight,
[/quote]

This will never happen. There’s already places around me that used to be straight up Karate mcdojos that are now straight up MMA mcdojos. Apparently their instructors are supermasters, because they mastered the ridiculously difficult art of BJJ in less than a year.

This is also unlikely to happen. MMA is a sport with money involved where people bust each other up.

It will be exactly like boxing. Or maybe if boxing fucked WWE wrestling and had a very ugly inbred baby. That’s MMA.

The traditional values of respect and life long dedication already took a heavy blow with the introduction of the belt system and capitalism and competing dojos.

MMA’s boon will be the complete undoing, and as usual, it will be those who do this because they like to, and not because they get paid, that will keep these values.

[quote]
It was a great article, and I would be interested in your thoughts. I for one found it quite inspiring, and I will be making more of an effort to follow the careers of Karo Parisyan, Lyoto Machida and Cung Le (who I had never heard of prior to reading this).[/quote]

I’d like to read it.

sorry, i don’t do Martial Arts any more. i now do combat sports. i do it because i like to (i don’t compete or plan to), and i see the “traditional values of respect and life long dedication” as integral part of any sport, ie. bodybuilding, rugby, golf, judo.
also, i am fully aware that combat sports are different than street fighting.

[quote]novocaine wrote:
sorry, i don’t do Martial Arts any more. i now do combat sports.
[/quote]

Sorry dipshit, your combat sport is made up of martial arts. You’re still doing martial arts, whether you’re boxing, wrestling, doing aikido or karate, or rolling. All of it is martial arts.

i do it because i like to (i don’t compete or plan to)
[/quote]
That’s fine.

Sorry junior, wrong again here. Formal traditional martial arts are built on respect almost as much as they are forms and punches. Very, very few other sports are like that. Not football, not basketball, not hockey, nothing.

[quote]
also, i am fully aware that combat sports are different than street fighting.[/quote]

Here’s a fucking medal.

But most people are sadly mistaken in the way they think about this.

Karo? Seriously?

OK, coming from the West Coast. Karo, great skills, if your in his circle your family, if your not your dirt.

Nothing personal, it’s just how he tends to be.

and . . .
Fightingirish basically said everything else I would of. MMA is my entertainment, but TMA is for my lifestyle. I give give thanks daily for how blessed I am with my teachers.

However I would also like to check out that article you were talking about. I can google but if you have a link it would be appreciated.

I’ve got no link, I really wanted to post a link and let everyone read it and post their thoughts, but the damned thing doesn’t seem to be online. At least not yet.

As for Karo/Cung Le etc, I think they were being held up to demonstrate the efficacy of martial arts other than those listed by Irish- judo, sanshou and karate, to be precise.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything I read in it, just reporting it, although I did find it a very enjoyable read. Just on the point about weeding out those who can’t fight, I see what you’re saying Irish, about the McMMA factor, but I think the key point is that it has become very hard to hide behind the “too deadly to train” mantra of non contact MA. The full contact lifestyle, to quote the article that has infused MA has at least made it easier to tell who is full of crap. I wasn’t necessarily saying that all TMA instructors will or should compete in MMA, only that the necessity of full contact or realistic training is now known by most people.

[quote]Roundhead wrote:

Just on the point about weeding out those who can’t fight, I see what you’re saying Irish, about the McMMA factor, but I think the key point is that it has become very hard to hide behind the “too deadly to train” mantra of non contact MA. The full contact lifestyle, to quote the article that has infused MA has at least made it easier to tell who is full of crap.
[/quote]

But why would they change their marketing scheme because of that? Think about it- what sounds better? Telling your students that it’s too dangerous for competitions, or advertising that what you teach is “too deadly for MMA”?

What works better? “We use groin shots” or “We’ll teach you everything that MMA fighters can’t use and don’t want to know.”

It’s all marketing. And sadly, people believe that shit because they want to believe it. Or they ignore it because the place is cheap, or close to home, or whatever.

And finally, besides that, like I said before, many TMA’s are not meant for squaring up and banging, because that’s not really what happens too often outside of a ring. Many moves are far more situational. So still, you’re only telling which ones aren’t meant for sport- not which ones don’t work.

I’d still like to read it, but I think that the authors may be throwing out a red herring here.

I should hope you’re right.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
MMA is not particularly a mix of various arts like many people want to think- it’s a mix of boxing, Muay Thai, and BJJ. There isn’t much else in there. Sure, there’s moves that aren’t normally found, such as that spinning backfist, but for the most part its a straight mix of those arts.[/quote]

You forgot wrestling dammit

[quote]slimjim wrote:
FightinIrish26 wrote:
MMA is not particularly a mix of various arts like many people want to think- it’s a mix of boxing, Muay Thai, and BJJ. There isn’t much else in there. Sure, there’s moves that aren’t normally found, such as that spinning backfist, but for the most part its a straight mix of those arts.

You forgot wrestling dammit[/quote]

Apologies.

And wrestling.

Irish- agree w/ some of your points, but proving the efficacy of TMA on the street is pretty tough to do. You can’t practice the techniques against fully resisting opponents b/c they are “too deadly”, so the martial artist can’t possibly know whether or not he would be able to defend himself in a real-life situation or which techniques are more effective than others.

Let’s say that we held a no-holds-barred tournament. Every fight is to the death, and no gloves will be worn. Do you really think that the addition of things like groin strikes, eye gouges, palm strikes (which were used w/ very little effectiveness by early UFC combatants), and biting give a TMA practitioner enough of an edge to win? Now, a world class wrestler who is going to take you down at will can headbutt, bite, and knee you in the groin from the top. Now a striker like A. Silva and kick you in the groin and use his accurate striking to target your eyes and throat. Just food for thought

[quote]chitown34 wrote:
Irish- agree w/ some of your points, but proving the efficacy of TMA on the street is pretty tough to do. You can’t practice the techniques against fully resisting opponents b/c they are “too deadly”, so the martial artist can’t possibly know whether or not he would be able to defend himself in a real-life situation or which techniques are more effective than others.

Let’s say that we held a no-holds-barred tournament. Every fight is to the death, and no gloves will be worn. Do you really think that the addition of things like groin strikes, eye gouges, palm strikes (which were used w/ very little effectiveness by early UFC combatants), and biting give a TMA practitioner enough of an edge to win? Now, a world class wrestler who is going to take you down at will can headbutt, bite, and knee you in the groin from the top. Now a striker like A. Silva and kick you in the groin and use his accurate striking to target your eyes and throat. Just food for thought[/quote]

That’s not what many of them are meant for, that’s all I’m saying. Many of them are meant for more situational things that you won’t really encounter in a sport fight. Krav maga is kind of the same way.

Rare is the time in the street that you’re ever going square up and bang with someone. Much more likely is someone coming from behind you and trying to get you in a headlock (which traditional arts will teach you how to defend against).

Another one that we used to train was if someone grabs you, how to use circles to break the grip and then strike back. I remember a good one was if someone got you in a bear hug from the rear, it taught you to drop down and scrape the edge of your foot down their shin cause it hurts like a bitch.

Some of the grabs/locks/traps of Okinawan goju-ryu were great, and would work fine in a self defense situation where someone is coming after you.

What they won’t work against is a trained fighter squaring up to you and bouncing around… it’s not what they were aiming for. But then, that’s not likely to be a self defense situation either- that’s called a fight.

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
chitown34 wrote:
Irish- agree w/ some of your points, but proving the efficacy of TMA on the street is pretty tough to do. You can’t practice the techniques against fully resisting opponents b/c they are “too deadly”, so the martial artist can’t possibly know whether or not he would be able to defend himself in a real-life situation or which techniques are more effective than others.

Let’s say that we held a no-holds-barred tournament. Every fight is to the death, and no gloves will be worn. Do you really think that the addition of things like groin strikes, eye gouges, palm strikes (which were used w/ very little effectiveness by early UFC combatants), and biting give a TMA practitioner enough of an edge to win? Now, a world class wrestler who is going to take you down at will can headbutt, bite, and knee you in the groin from the top. Now a striker like A. Silva and kick you in the groin and use his accurate striking to target your eyes and throat. Just food for thought

That’s not what many of them are meant for, that’s all I’m saying. Many of them are meant for more situational things that you won’t really encounter in a sport fight. Krav maga is kind of the same way.

Rare is the time in the street that you’re ever going square up and bang with someone. Much more likely is someone coming from behind you and trying to get you in a headlock (which traditional arts will teach you how to defend against).

Another one that we used to train was if someone grabs you, how to use circles to break the grip and then strike back. I remember a good one was if someone got you in a bear hug from the rear, it taught you to drop down and scrape the edge of your foot down their shin cause it hurts like a bitch.

Some of the grabs/locks/traps of Okinawan goju-ryu were great, and would work fine in a self defense situation where someone is coming after you.

What they won’t work against is a trained fighter squaring up to you and bouncing around… it’s not what they were aiming for. But then, that’s not likely to be a self defense situation either- that’s called a fight. [/quote]

Good post. Its amazing how the term “self-defense” is being misconstrued by people these days. Self-defense is meant to prevent even having to square up with someone.

That could be an another thread topic in itself. But,I’m sure you know that explaining the difference between fighting and self-defense is beating a dead horse on these forums.

[quote]Big_Boss wrote:
FightinIrish26 wrote:
chitown34 wrote:
Irish- agree w/ some of your points, but proving the efficacy of TMA on the street is pretty tough to do. You can’t practice the techniques against fully resisting opponents b/c they are “too deadly”, so the martial artist can’t possibly know whether or not he would be able to defend himself in a real-life situation or which techniques are more effective than others.

Let’s say that we held a no-holds-barred tournament. Every fight is to the death, and no gloves will be worn. Do you really think that the addition of things like groin strikes, eye gouges, palm strikes (which were used w/ very little effectiveness by early UFC combatants), and biting give a TMA practitioner enough of an edge to win? Now, a world class wrestler who is going to take you down at will can headbutt, bite, and knee you in the groin from the top. Now a striker like A. Silva and kick you in the groin and use his accurate striking to target your eyes and throat. Just food for thought

That’s not what many of them are meant for, that’s all I’m saying. Many of them are meant for more situational things that you won’t really encounter in a sport fight. Krav maga is kind of the same way.

Rare is the time in the street that you’re ever going square up and bang with someone. Much more likely is someone coming from behind you and trying to get you in a headlock (which traditional arts will teach you how to defend against).

Another one that we used to train was if someone grabs you, how to use circles to break the grip and then strike back. I remember a good one was if someone got you in a bear hug from the rear, it taught you to drop down and scrape the edge of your foot down their shin cause it hurts like a bitch.

Some of the grabs/locks/traps of Okinawan goju-ryu were great, and would work fine in a self defense situation where someone is coming after you.

What they won’t work against is a trained fighter squaring up to you and bouncing around… it’s not what they were aiming for. But then, that’s not likely to be a self defense situation either- that’s called a fight.

Good post. Its amazing how the term “self-defense” is being misconstrued by people these days. Self-defense is meant to prevent even having to square up with someone.

That could be an another thread topic in itself. But,I’m sure you know that explaining the difference between fighting and self-defense is beating a dead horse on these forums.[/quote]

On a forum filled to the brim with wannabe tough guys, armchair MMA experts, and super commando killers, yes.

It’s taking that horse out back, lighting it on fire and putting it out with a chain.

I know there is a big difference between a cage fight and a street fight, but validating the efficacy of TMA’s like karate/kung fu/TKD/aikido on “the street” is like proving string theory. There is no way to test it, so we can’t prove or disprove it. I’ve trained in Karate and Judo, and have done SD drills in both. IMO, they are pretty much useless.

Yes, there are drills where a guy comes from behind to choke you, but I never had a partner really try to hurt me like someone would in a fight. They cooperate, let you do the technique on them, and you are left unsure of whether you would be able to do that against a hostile opponent. I’d rather go 100 pct. using a limited amount of techniques but be confident that I can perform them on people of different sizes. Krav Maga is a different animal and I wouldn’t lump it with kung fu, karate, or TKD.

[quote]chitown34 wrote:
I know there is a big difference between a cage fight and a street fight, but validating the efficacy of TMA’s like karate/kung fu/TKD/aikido on “the street” is like proving string theory. There is no way to test it, so we can’t prove or disprove it. I’ve trained in Karate and Judo, and have done SD drills in both. IMO, they are pretty much useless.
[/quote]

You’re missing my point. The fact is that it teaches you ways to deal with attacks. That doesn’t mean that the exact situation will happen, but that something like it might and the skills you acquire will translate.

As an example, one time I was walking through a crowded bar when someone grabbed my wrist as I passed by. It’s been conditioned into me to use a circular motion (think that “Wax on” bullshit from Karate kid) to break that grip immediately. I didn’t even realize I did it, and my other hand was balled into a fist.

It turned out that it was a friend of mine, so I didn’t have to worry, but had I been in a confrontation where someone put their hand on my arm, I was already ready for it (and responded in a manner that wasn’t outright threatening, but still broke the grip).

Otherwise, TMA’s do teach you how to punch with some degree of power, how to kick, and how to stay reasonably on balance.

My straight left in boxing (which is, for a southpaw, not that strong) benefitted greatly from the incessant drilling of straight punches taught in karate. It’s not the best, but it’s far straighter and there’s less bleeding of power then there used to be.

What I don’t like is the blocking system that traditional arts have. Nearly any of those blocks that are most taught in karate are too slow to block a punch that someone is throwing.

As far as the throws that judo and, to a degree, Gojuryu use, those will work.

They’re not going to “cooperate” per se on the street, that’s true. However, a guy coming up behind you and headlocking you can only do so much from that position, but they’ll still do it because most people don’t know how to fight. This means they’ll be off balance even more than the cats in your class, and far less likely to have their center of balance lowered to avoid a throw.

How hard you go is more of a consequence of where you train… but the techniques themselves will work if they are simple, which many are.

[quote]
Krav Maga is a different animal and I wouldn’t lump it with kung fu, karate, or TKD.[/quote]

Krav is a different animal, but the situations it starts you in are similar to a traditional martial art as opposed to boxing. Krav, and most TMA’s, are more reactive because they are meant for self defense when you’re attacked, not for a fight where you square off.

As far as the grip-breaking, I agree it is very useful. In judo competition, it is something that you must be proficient at. You and your opponent are constantly fighting for and breaking grips, and this is trained not in context of SD but in sport against a fully resisting opponent.

ps Realized my earlier post made it sound like I thought judo was useless. I think it is extremely effective in SD, but I think the SD drills that I have done in judo (we only do them occasionally, as judo is mainly played as a sport) are of little value. IMO, a fully resisting opponent in practice is the key in being able to perform techniques in a real SD situation.

[quote]chitown34 wrote:
As far as the grip-breaking, I agree it is very useful. In judo competition, it is something that you must be proficient at. You and your opponent are constantly fighting for and breaking grips, and this is trained not in context of SD but in sport against a fully resisting opponent.

ps Realized my earlier post made it sound like I thought judo was useless. I think it is extremely effective in SD, but I think the SD drills that I have done in judo (we only do them occasionally, as judo is mainly played as a sport) are of little value. IMO, a fully resisting opponent in practice is the key in being able to perform techniques in a real SD situation.[/quote]

Well like I said, that depends on the school you train at. UNfortunately many of them suck multiple dicks.