Combining Different Martial Arts Styles: Mixed Martial Arts

by: Steven Gregoire

While you can find much in common across various fighting systems in terms of teaching methods, techniques, and goals it is also possible to find many ways in which each system is unique. It is often difficult to make direct comparisons between different fighting systems as there is no standard format for making objective comparisons. It is important to recognize that the physical component is just one aspect of many fighting systems, as many also include a strong philosophical or spiritual ideal. Examples of this are the Confusion principles behind the teaching of many Japanese, Korean, and Chinese systems. Other example are the systems which are more sports oriented and have a unique set of rule that conflict with many other systems, including Washu, Judo, and Tae Kwon Do. Systems which place most of their emphasis on self-defense are often called "reality based" and include Defendo, Kombato, and Jeet Kune Do. As you can see different forms of martial arts can have dramatically different goals, making it almost impossible to compare them using any objective standard.

It is possible, however, to assess the effectiveness of a martial art that claims to be successful at teaching a particular fighting discipline. Examples of this are systems that focus on use of a particular weapon, unarmed combat with two fighters, escaping harm, defending yourself against multiple attackers, and more. The particular goal of that martial art can be used as a lens through which to assess its effectiveness in comparison with another system with a similar goal. If, for instance, there are two fighting systems that include hand to hand fighting, they can agree on a set of rules and engage in sparring to assess the best fighter in that moment. The Ultimate Fighting Championship in the United States during the 1990s is an example of a major tournament that allowed participants from various disciplines to complete under a limited set of rules to help answer the question of which fighting system was most effective. The rise of mixed martial arts has led to an increase in other organizations similar to the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Modern martial arts cross training is often referred to as mixed martial arts, or MMA. The practitioners of this form of training believe that they will become better fighters by becoming competent in a wide variety of techniques and disciplines. This increased popularity in mixed martial arts training has led to an increased emphasis on fights between individuals rather than against competing systems in tournaments such as the UFC and Pride Fighting Championships. Mixed martial arts allow students to incorporate a wide variety of techniques into their personal training regimens, as well as providing a form of sport competition with organization-specific rules. There are many complicated modern fighting styles, "ground and pound" and "sprawl-and-brawl" for example, which incorporate a wide variety of styles including wrestling, boxing, jujutsu, and Muay Thai.


About The Author

Steven Gregoire has been training in the martial arts since 1986. Currently he operates Tigerstrike.com, a martial art equipment and supply store.

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