Mixed Martial Arts as a Style
I was recently involved in a debate on this forum. In that debate I discussed MMA as a Martial Arts style. There are differing beliefs on this subject, but I for one do not consider MMA a Martial Arts style. In my opinion, and in my understanding of MMA, it is and eclectic mix of the best most effective components of each Martial Art combined with the unique attributes of the user. Where as my understanding of the definition of the term Martial Art is, a form of physical activity designed to provide physical, as well as mental toughness, while educating the user in the ways of self-defense.
The interpretation of a Martial Art in reference to MMA by my understanding is, that a Martial Art is a single form of hand-to-hand combat that make up one or more components of the 11 aspects of a Mixed Martial Arts competition. These 11 aspects as I interpret them are:
1. Outside Range Stand Up(ORS) – This form of stand up is defined as any stand up requiring a prepatory movement before it is possible to attack. Examples of ORS are, step kicks, flying knees and superman punches.
2. Long Range Stand Up(LRS) – This form of stand up is defined as any stand up that does not require a prepatory motion but strikes the opponent outside of the reach of his fists. Examples of LRS are, kicks from the stance.
3. Short Range Stand Up(SRS) – This form of stand up is defined as any stand up that is within the striking range of the opponet, but not within the range of the user’s knee and elbow strikes without a prepatory closing movement. Examples of SRS are, all straight hand strikes.
4. Clinch Stand Up (CS) – This form of stand up is defined as any stand up that is within the reach of the user pulling their opponent into a clinch. Examples of CS are, Knee strikes, elbow strikes, circular motion hand strikes, and dirty boxing.
5. Takedowns – This form of competition is defined as any attempt by the user to place their opponent on the competing surface in an attempt to grapple, with the innevitable goal being one of three options. 1. Obtain points in the eyes of the judging body to win by a decision. 2. To attempt to strike at the opponent while laying on the competing surface. 3. To use a submission maneauver to defeat the opponent. Examples of takedowns are, single/double leg takedown, lead/rear leg sweeps, hip tosses, pulling guard.
6. Position Control (Top) – This form of competition is defined as any attempt to control the way and the direction in which, the opponent can or cannot move while grappling on the competition surface. Examples of position control (top) are, side control, side mount, full mount.
7. Position Control (Bottom) – This form of competition is defined as countering the opponents attempts to control the way the user can or cannot move as well as countering the opponent’s attempt to advance to more favorable position. Examples of position control (bottom) are, butterfly guard, half guard, full guard, sweeps.
8. Ground Striking (Top) – This form of striking is defined as attempting to strike the opponent while grappling on the competition surface from a superior position for one of three reasons. 1. To demoralize and exhaust the opponent to the point where they will make a mistake leaving them open for a submission maneauver. 2. To score points in the eyes of the judging body. 3. To attempt to gain a knockout or technical knockout victory over the opponent. Examples of ground striking (top) are, hook punches to the body/head, straight punches to the body/head, knees to the body.
9. Ground Striking (Bottom) - This form of striking is defined as attempting to strike the opponent while grappling on the competition surface from an inferior position for one of three reasons. 1. To force the opponent to retreat from the grappling encounter and stand back up. 2. To wear the opponent down to the point where the user can use position control (bottom) to gain a more dominant position. 3. To gain a victory over the opponent by knockout or technical knockout. Examples of ground striking (bottom) are, circular punches to the head/body, striaight punches to the head/body, and up kicks.
10. Submissions (Top) – This form of competition is defined as any attempt to force the opponent to submit and admit defeat while in an inferior position for one of three reasons. 1. Pain too severe for the recipient to withstand. 2. Fear of severe injury, permanent injury, or unconsciousness. 3. Unconsciousness. Examples of submissions (top) are, arm bar, leg lock, kimura, rear naked choke, and arm triangle.
11. Submissions (Bottom) – This form of competition is defined as any attempt to force the opponent to submit and admit defeat while they are in the dominant position for one of three reasons. 1. Pain too severe for the recipient to withstand. 2. Fear of severe injury, permanent injury, or unconsciousness. 3. Unconsciousness. Examples of submissions (bottom) are, arm bar, kimura, traingle choke, and foot/ankle lock
Mixed Martial Arts is not something that can be trained. Mixed Martial Arts is a competition. It is an undulating ocean of ever changing techniques and training practices, designed to find the perfect mesh of skills that work perfectly in conjunction with one another. The 11 areas numerated above make up a Mixed Martial Arts competition. These areas can be trained and are represented by different Martial Arts styles, ranging from Muay Thai to Shaolin Kung Fu, from Sambo to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and from Sanshou to Shotokan. These stylesthat are constantly in flux themselves, represent different components of the 11 aspects of a Mixed Martial Arts competition.
Mixed Martial Arts has a different meaning—whether it be fan sport, or life goal—and different interpretation—whether it be brutal bloodsport, or perfection of human chess—to anyone and everyone. To me? It is a combination of these areas. I have never enjoyed myself as much as I do in the ebbing moments after a brutal encounter, and embraced with love and admiration anything like the wonderous technique of the perfected fighter. I’m not sure what or who that makes me but I find myself okay with the image reflected in the mental mirror.