Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What have you learned from watching MMA?

Richard Pauley at Ultimate MMA Videos posts what he's learned:

10. MMA is more addicting than cocaine and painkillers put together.
9. Even though I don't know all the facts, I believe fighters are vastly underpaid.
[TDA-I don't doubt that]
8. When I watch a Boxing match, I yell at the screen "He's open for a knee" or "Take him down". [TDA-ditto]
7. Dana White is that guy at a party that everyone wants to fight.
6. Fedor Emelianenko is still the best fighter I have ever seen.
5. Frank Shamrock should've never retired, the guy is a beast.
4. Matt Hamill won a unaminous decision against Michael Bisping at UFC 75.(Thats what I saw). [TDA-I think he was robbed. It sets up a great rematch later, though. Perhaps that's the plan?]
3. Forget the boogeyman, children around the world should be scared that Anderson Silva is hiding in their closet.
[TDA-Uh, I'd be scared if Anderson Silva was hiding in my closet!]
2. The fighters that I would show to people looking to get into MMA is still Wanderlei Silva, BJ Penn and Fedor.
1. I love blogging about MMA and I will never stop.

Head over and comment at Ultimate!

What have you learned?

My personal list (in no particular order):

  • MMA has forever changed the public's perception of combative/martial sports. I perceive that most kids aren't as into boxing or pro wrestling, as much as MMA, primarily the UFC.
  • MMA has forever changed the martial arts. You now have a means of testing most non-lethal or non-crippling technique. It has shown the effectiveness of the grappling styles (BJJ, wrestling, etc.), and has revolutionized the martial arts world in the same way that the JKD/Bruce Lee revolution led many to question tradition.
  • MMA is both a sport, and an evolving combative (if not martial) art, in the generic sense. Both our Marine Corps and Army have an MMA component, or at least have adopted some of their training methods, as a testament to their realism and effectiveness.
  • MMA is not the be-all end-all of martial arts. It is a young man's game (and ladies), and is, like all martial sports, a distortion of real fighting. I reiterate - it's not real fighting (see Ain't none of it is real!) But, it's pretty darn close!
  • The quality of MMA fighters technique has grown every year, and is now, among the elite fighters, excellent in all phases of the MMA fight game. The quality of technique, primarily boxing, muay thai, wrestling, and BJJ is very high, but the boxing seems to lag the most noticeably.
  • The specialization, or split between grapplers and strikers is now all but gone. The quality of the opposition is so high that you can't be one or two-dimensional and win anymore (at least at a high level).
  • I still care little for the the sport's personalities, 'cause I don't have the time or inclination to follow it closely, but there are some fighters I admire: Randy Couture, Fedor, Anderson Silva, Matt Hughes, and some others. Included in this incomplete list are only active fighters whom I have seen fight (on TV).
  • I am still too cheap to still pay for any fights on PPV, whether MMA or boxing. That will probably never change.
  • Conditioning and toughness can get many a fighter a win, even if his skill and talent is inferior to that of his opponent.
  • My previous perception of MMA fighters as punks is, for the most part wrong. Instead, I see them as any other athlete. There are good guys and bad in every sport, including MMA. I apologize to no one in particular.
  • Many of the top-level BJJ players whom I have seen have not been able to handle the striking that is involved with the transition to MMA. I don't understand it, considering the availability of good boxing coaches.
  • I still cringe every time I see a big slam or suplex. What's missing from MMA, for me, is the devastation of the throwing arts (and slams) that would take place if there were not a padded surface. Everything else is there, and relatively realistic (*see next bullet), considering the equipment. The use of Judo throws would quickly end careers if the rings (and octagons) weren't padded, though. Sigh...
  • I still long for one aspect of the early days of the UFC - no gloves. I loved watching how players dealt with it, and the proliferation of open hand striking as a result. There were less knockouts from hands though, and and that meant it was less exciting, I think, to the layman.
  • I've learned to love the sport.

Any feedback? Comment at the Convocation of Combat Arts thread or here at TDA.

See also:

When Arts Become Sports
The Martial Art vs Sport Debate
Why Are Martial Sports Superior?
Boxing for Self-Defense and MMA
What is the relationship of sport judo to unarmed combat?
Fighting in the Clinch
American Wrestling vs. Jujitsu
Training for Sport vs Training for Combat
If it's against the rules, then it must work!
Making the Transition from Boxing to MMA Gloves


Steve said...

Hi Nathan. A very interesting article. Five basic thoughts jump to mind.

Things I learned watching MMA:

* No range is more important than any other. Striking is no more or less important than grappling.

* There is no such thing as "anti-grappling." The only way to improve the odds that a fight does not "go to the ground" is to have solid stand-up grappling skills (wrestling/judo etc). The only way to stand back up once the fight is on the ground is to be a better grappler than your opponent.

* Technique is important, but so is conditioning, size, strength, and an ability to continue functioning under less than ideal conditions.

* A skilled small man will lose to an equally skilled larger man. While technique may overcome strength in cases where the disparity between skill levels is extreme, strength and conditioning will trump technique more often than not.

* Fights are not like two-step drills, and unless you spar at full speed, you will be overwhelmed.

Nathan Teodoro said...

Thanks Steve.
I agree with most of that except:
In MMA, I think grappling should be more important. I believe that many a bout would end much differently if the ref didn't stand the fighters back up to keep it exciting to the lay fans. It skews it toward the striking. Of course that is a big part of the popularity, too.
Thanks - Nathan