As a martial arts instructor, I have found the growing popularity of the UFC and MMA on a whole to be really helpful in marketing and heck, just talking about my martial arts. People know what Kick boxing is, or what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu means. When I say Judo, I don’t receive nearly the amount of blank stares I used to get.
I read an article in Black belt magazine where Bill “Superfoot” Wallace said that MMA was a fad that would burn out soon. Of all the old martial arts greats, I tend to agree with Superfoot the most. However on this issue, it sounds like traditional martial artist denial. During the 1980s when the ninja craze hit, everyone was jumping on the ninja band wagon. Ninja turtle rip off logos were seen in dojos, everyone was teaching swords, nunchaku, and sai, even if their martial art didn’t include them. But MMA is different. It didn’t try to simply market itself to kids and nerds. It tried to get the respectability of boxing, with the mystic of martial arts. It wasn’t enough to get Tiger Claw and Century to sponsor things it worked to get sponsors outside of the martial arts world. It even recruited fighters from outside the martial arts world! It created an environment that made adults want to watch and kids dream of participating. More after the jump
I know its old, but I founds this video of Joe Rogan of the UFC talking with big boxing promoter Lou Bibella.
Now what I find funny is that the man defending boxing sounds so much like so many traditional martial artists that I have talked to: “MMA is nothing but human cock fighting” is a favorite of mine. If you come from a light or no contact martial art, I can see why you might feel that way. Personally, I’ve never met a boxer that hadn’t taken quite a beating in his sport, so I can’t see why adding kicks and chokes makes things so much worse then simply beating him to a pulp with your hands. Personally I would much rather be choked out then knocked out any day of the week.
The hardest part of arguing with MMA is that most MMA fans and fighters are fans of any martial art, or combat sport that seems to work in a fight. If you are a full contact karate fighter, a good MMA fighter would be really interested in learning what you have to show. If you are a boxer or a wrestler, they want to know. If you have awesome chokes or locks, they are all ears.
Its a shame things don’t work both ways in martial arts. I mean the whole point of tradition is to do the same things that you have always done over and over. There’s very little room for improvement. MMA is young and flexable. For all the veneration of Bruce Lee I hear, MMA in general sounds more like his idea for Jeet Kune Do then most schools that bear that name. So am sorry to disagree with Superfoot Wallice, but I think that MMA is here to stay, maybe not in exactly its present form, but I think that’s the wh