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Old 04-10-2011, 07:34 AM   #1
GB-UK
 
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MMA not a MA?

My aikido instructor said in class the other day that MMA is not a martial art but a sport. Got back home and began to have a think about this statement last night and I'm beginning to wonder if this is true or not.
MMA training used to be you would go to say a Thai boxing gym for striking, BJJ gym for your jitsu and maybe take some wrestling as well. Separate places for separate arts so you were not training in one MA.
Nowadays you can go to a gym and train MMA classes that contain all these separate parts in one class, so it's no longer separate arts but the parts need for MMA training in one new place.
Has MMA transitioned into a new MA? I think with the advent of these all in one classes that it has and that it's beginning to grow its own traditions and style distinct from other MA's. Are we witnessing the birth of a new MA or is it still just a sport?
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:16 AM   #2
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Re: MMA not a MA?

This kind of depends on what your definition of a martial art is. To me, MMA is most definitely a martial art. I also say that boxing, wrestling, archery and fencing, are martial arts. That's because I would define a martial art as any study that pertains directly to physical conflict or the tools of physical conflict.

But this might not be everyones definition, and that's okay as well. Some people might say that martial arts are only mystic Asian fighting systems, rather myopic in my view, but to some, it's a better definition than mine.

Moving away from the idea of a "right" and "wrong" definition, and getting to a place where you can understand everyones definitions would be a good place to get to.

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Old 04-10-2011, 11:33 AM   #3
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Re: MMA not a MA?

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
This kind of depends on what your definition of a martial art is. To me, MMA is most definitely a martial art. I also say that boxing, wrestling, archery and fencing, are martial arts. That's because I would define a martial art as any study that pertains directly to physical conflict or the tools of physical conflict.

But this might not be everyones definition, and that's okay as well. Some people might say that martial arts are only mystic Asian fighting systems, rather myopic in my view, but to some, it's a better definition than mine.

Moving away from the idea of a "right" and "wrong" definition, and getting to a place where you can understand everyones definitions would be a good place to get to.
Nicely put! It feels nicer to have things "defined" simply, but rarely if ever does a definition ever capture the reality. I agree that anything which deals with physical conflict is basically a martial art. Martial is as martial does. That opens things up pretty wide for what constitutes a "martial art" but I have no problem with that. To my mind it simply means we have to discuss things further to find what people mean rather than get into arguments over language choice (probably something I personally like to do too much, I think)...in other words we ought look to the meaning rather than the language used because, like our reasons for training, the semantics we attach to language is very personal and subjective.
Take care!
Matt
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:31 PM   #4
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Re: MMA not a MA?

I agree with the OP's instructor. It's mixed, its martial, but what's the point of calling it "Arts?"

IMO, the more "results-oriented" your focus is, whether you are training for a combat sport, "trying to get in shape," or interested in only in practical self-defense, then the less engaged in an "art" you are.

MMA gyms these days do better business the more they take effective, simple techniques from the usual suspects (Muay Thai, BJJ, etc) and strip out the techniques that are fancier, require higher levels of skill, and are therefore less effective in a sport setting.

A body of best standard practice is emerging in place of traditionalism, techniques and training methods are proven to work or not work in the ring. So I think it might be more accurate to call it "Mixed Martial Sciences."
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:43 PM   #5
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Re: MMA not a MA?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
I agree with the OP's instructor. It's mixed, its martial, but what's the point of calling it "Arts?"
Art is synonymous of skill.

I don't see how being results oriented is not art

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Old 04-10-2011, 12:48 PM   #6
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Re: MMA not a MA?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
A body of best standard practice is emerging in place of traditionalism, techniques and training methods are proven to work or not work in the ring. So I think it might be more accurate to call it "Mixed Martial Sciences."
Arts and sciences have often gone together because the two are fairly similar in nature. The "arts of war" have often been very concerned with results, particularly those arts which engaged in conflict regularly.
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:18 PM   #7
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Re: MMA not a MA?

In the great colosseums of the roman empire where gladiators, trained in variouse weapons and techniques, fought each other.

Was that not a sport?

G.
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:38 PM   #8
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Re: MMA not a MA?

Quote:
Gornall Bell wrote: View Post
My aikido instructor said in class the other day that MMA is not a martial art but a sport. Got back home and began to have a think about this statement last night and I'm beginning to wonder if this is true or not.
MMA training used to be you would go to say a Thai boxing gym for striking, BJJ gym for your jitsu and maybe take some wrestling as well. Separate places for separate arts so you were not training in one MA.
Nowadays you can go to a gym and train MMA classes that contain all these separate parts in one class, so it's no longer separate arts but the parts need for MMA training in one new place.
Has MMA transitioned into a new MA? I think with the advent of these all in one classes that it has and that it's beginning to grow its own traditions and style distinct from other MA's. Are we witnessing the birth of a new MA or is it still just a sport?
Dear Gornall,
I consider boxing/fencing judo art but these are sports.It may well be the case that MMA, in my opinion a hybrid method of combat , may well develop into a combat method distinct from others.
My good friend Henry Ellis Sensei has a son called Rik who at present is a pro.MMA fighter.Perhaps Rik may well give our forum readers an idea of how he perceives the future development of MMA?
all the best , joe.
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Old 04-10-2011, 03:27 PM   #9
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Re: MMA not a MA?

I thinks this issue has things in common with the -do versus -jutsu issue. Perhaps MMA is more like a -jutsu martial art?
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Old 04-10-2011, 06:35 PM   #10
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Re: MMA not a MA?

I think opening up the definition of art to mean skills, is a good way to understand one of the things we are talking about when we say "martial art".

I also believe that "art" has a basic function of connecting with the human condition. "Art" is something the touches our emotions, senses and thoughts. Something that we connect with on a deeper level. The martial arts do this as well. Training drives us through a myriad of feelings. We use our study of the martial arts to help us better understand ourselves and the world around us.

Just because a martial art becomes a sport, doesn't mean that it doesn't provide this. It's up to the individual to allow for this in his training. Do we train simply to achieve a goal (to beat someone up) or do we train to better understand ourselves and our fellow man?

I believe this is also the main idea behind "jutsu" and "do".

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Old 04-10-2011, 08:30 PM   #11
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Re: MMA not a MA?

I would tend to Chris and Demetrio, but I think there is something implicit that should be explicitly said/emphasized/repeated: the less involved with something that a person is, the less that individual will be doing something that the rest of us think is an "art." But someone else can go to the same gym and his practice will fit the bill of being an "art." So as the MMA culture grows, arts and artists will naturally arise in those gyms.

What makes your practice an art? An art should allow one to continue to practice and explore for the rest of his life, and get deeper and deeper into it. From his point of view, he will get more and more insight out of it as this shugyo process progresses. That's how arts work their magic, it's not instant, it's an exploratory path.

A portrait painter might come to see deeper into people's facial expressions, and thus gain insight into the subtleties of human emotional states by exploring on canvas. A martial artist should come to understand the dynamics of human interaction more richly as time goes on. So if you cut the more difficult techniques from your practice as Cliff mentioned, you can lose the capability to experience your practice as an art. But it doesn't have to be that way. That's my opinion..

Last edited by JW : 04-10-2011 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 04-10-2011, 09:55 PM   #12
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Re: MMA not a MA?

Gozo Shioda on this topic:

"In sports there are certain agreed-upon rules. This is why competitions are held and winners and losers can be determined. However, aikido is not a sport but a budo. Either you defeat your opponent or he defeats you. You cannot complain that he did not follow the rules. You have to overcome your opponent in a way appropriate to each situation."

I'd imagine this is something close to what your sensei had in mind.
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:36 AM   #13
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Re: MMA not a MA?

Quote:
Gornall Bell wrote: View Post
My aikido instructor said in class the other day that MMA is not a martial art but a sport.
Why did your aikido instructor discuss MMA in class? What was the context of the quote?
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Old 04-11-2011, 03:09 AM   #14
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Re: MMA not a MA?

Quote:
Peter Gröndahl wrote: View Post
Why did your aikido instructor discuss MMA in class? What was the context of the quote?
A couple of the students had mentioned they had seen a UFC event recently and they hd mentioned it to the instructor.
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Old 04-11-2011, 03:13 AM   #15
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Re: MMA not a MA?

I've posted this same post on another forum and one person said that aikido isn't really a martial art either as it is a DO style and not a jutsu style. Would you say that this was true?
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Old 04-11-2011, 04:24 AM   #16
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Re: MMA not a MA?

I think Draeger's jutsu/do dichotomy has been incorrectly understood.

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Old 04-11-2011, 07:15 AM   #17
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Re: MMA not a MA?

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
I think Draeger's jutsu/do dichotomy has been incorrectly understood.
In what way?
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:23 AM   #18
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Re: MMA not a MA?

MMA is not a martial art:

It is a ruleset.
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:16 PM   #19
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Re: MMA not a MA?

Being a huge advocate of MMA. I will say MMA is not a martial art. As HL1978 correctly pointed out, it is a rule set. However MMA fighters train in martial arts.

Boxing, BJJ, judo, karate, aikido, fencing, archery, CQC, etc are all martial arts. How you apply them makes no difference.

That said, modern MMA fighters are starting to train in gyms that are developing a 'complete' training style that is absent of the traditional mma training (that is go learn some of X, then add on some Y and do a bit of sparing). They are now developing systems that are holistic for the single approach of fighting in the ring. This takes into account the physical and mental prowess of the fighter while teaching a series of strategies and techniques that build on the fighter's strengths and minimize the fighter's weaknesses. These guys are not learning some boxing then focusing on their 'jits' and becoming mma fighters, but rather are MMA fighter's out of the gate. In this respect I'd say there are many new 'martial arts' developed in the sport of MMA. They just don't call it by a name.

You already see the attributions however when the announcer says they have spent time at X can't which is known for it's X, Y, or Z. This is no different then saying you trained with X sensei and learned his custom ryu of jiujitsu.

So in conclusion, MMA is a ruleset that encompasses a wide variety of martial arts. However, I'd guess that is not what your teacher was trying to say. He was talking down on MMA and stating that what you are learning is a 'real martial art' and that MMA is not a worthwhile endeavor. To him I would say that he either does not understand the sport, or is scared of losing students. Either way statements like that are a disservice and does not show confidence in the person making it. I might have made similar statements in the past when I felt the need to justify why my training had failed me the first time I went into a judo dojo or a bjj gym. It's similar to the traditional jj guys who constantly ramble on about how judo is not a martial art because it has rules and they can rip your eyes out. They usually don't even make it to the ground before they tap.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 04-11-2011, 01:45 PM   #20
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Re: MMA not a MA?

Quote:
Gornall Bell wrote: View Post
In what way?
Draeger stated: "There are very great differences between the bujutsu, or martial arts; and the budo, or martial ways. The bujutsu are combative systems designed by and for warriors to promote self-protection and group solidarity. The Budo are spiritual systems, not necessarily designed by warriors or for warriors, they are for selfperfection of the individual."(D. Draeger, Classical Bujutsu, p. 19, Weatherhill 1973).

This differentiation has been interpreted as a dichotomy, bujutsu vs. budo as polar opposites. However, current scholarship shows this interpretation of Draeger´s seminal work is not especially accurate.

I'd suggest you to read as a start, because is better and clearly written than anything I could provide, the following:

Cheers.

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Old 04-12-2011, 11:45 AM   #21
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Thumbs up Re: MMA not a MA?

Excellent, thought-provoking topic.

Maybe we can simply say MMA is a martial art, as it deals with fighting techniques and often pulls these in from other forms that are recognized as martial arts, but just not a "traditional" martial art (or "budo"). Perhaps, as an aikidoka, your sensei considers something a martial art only when it is traditional?

Perhaps even a single art can fracture between an MA and a TMA within its own form. Take Judo, for example. The Judo of Kano, when it was first introduced, was based largely on traditional martial art forms (jujitsu ryuha). While at the time many may have considered it more "MA" than "TMA", it was largely based on tradition and included elements beyond the physical (moral/ethical/philosophical). Most people today would consider that early form TMA (and today we speak of classical judo as a "budo", reinforcing that point). Today's sport judo (with an overemphasis on competition techniques, sometimes even to the detriment of self-defense), however, especially with many of the rule changes from the last 10 years, might very well stretch that definition for many, so maybe even today's competition Judo could be considered by some more MA than TMA?

Will, 100 years from now, MMA be considered a TMA, if it has a lineage? Does time and lineage make something a TMA (which in that case, means we can include boxing and wrestling) or is it incorporation of "do" rather than solely "jitsu" qualities, regardless of the age of the system in question? Just food for thought...

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Old 04-12-2011, 11:58 AM   #22
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Re: MMA not a MA?

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
This differentiation has been interpreted as a dichotomy, bujutsu vs. budo as polar opposites. However, current scholarship shows this interpretation of Draeger´s seminal work is not especially accurate.
I
And I would humbly say that may be a function of the interpretation of Draeger's comments, and not necessarily the comments themselves.

I for one always took it to mean that bujutsu was simply a job - much like the skills a soldier learns today. The philosophy and morality training (necessary to survive insanity during wartime and ensure unit cohesion) came from exposure to battlefield horrors, something that was readily available to a samurai that lived in a war-filled period. By contrast, again, per my thoughts alone, budo was something that "evolved" (not saying it's superior, but only that it came later) in a period where there was less war to be had, and therefore less opportunity to absorb "life lessons" - therefore the budo proponents felt the need to provide this ideology along with the technique.

Essentially, when you're job is to provide battlefield training, and then the battlefield disappears, you change your job - much like the samurai did after the Meiji restoration. I agree that much ado has been made about whether a particular art is a "jitsu" or "do" form, and I also think this probably wasn't Draeger's intention when he wrote it. I do however believe that arts can be ascribed "jitsu" (focused on martial effectiveness) or "do" (focused on self-improvement/enlightenment) qualities - and all effective martial arts have some "jitsu" qualities, or else they're not truly "martial."

I agree, and also wouldn't say they're polar opposites, just different ways of looking at a mountain. Jitsu and Do can enhance each other - they don't have to cancel each other out.

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Old 04-14-2011, 02:57 AM   #23
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Re: MMA not a MA?

Quote:
Pete Knox wrote: View Post
And I would humbly say that may be a function of the interpretation of Draeger's comments, and not necessarily the comments themselves.
Probably.

Quote:
Essentially, when you're job is to provide battlefield training, and then the battlefield disappears, you change your job - much like the samurai did after the Meiji restoration.
You mean after Tokugawa shogunate establishment, isn't it?

Cheers.

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Old 04-14-2011, 05:31 AM   #24
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Re: MMA not a MA?

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
You mean after Tokugawa shogunate establishment, isn't it?
Yes, while I think the points still hold, that would be more accurate. After the restoration, with the formal abolition of the Samurai class, a lot of budo-focused dojos began to appear as the Samurai had to look for work ("change their job"), but that process did actually start after the establishment of the shogunate, as war began to lessen. I guess you can say that while we saw more budo schools open after the restoration, the process did start earlier, after the establishment of the shogunate - those earlier Samurai had their jobs change, but the later ones actually had it change so much to make it virtually disappear.

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Old 04-15-2011, 08:17 AM   #25
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Re: MMA not a MA?

It may just be me, but it seems natural to make a distinction between the type of martial art where you go to the dojo and train, period, and the type of martial art where you go to the dojo to prepare for getting into a ring and winning a rules-restricted fight.

if a martial art remains free of the business of having to succeed in a sporting environment, then it can become a place where deep principals and impossible techniques are studied. When you have to put fighters into a ring and have them come out victorious, deep principals and elaborate techniques tend to go away. The journey of transformation has a different quality and I think it leads to a different place.

Personally, I consider training for a combat sport to be so driven by the need to obtain tangible results that it is silly to call it "art" in the same sense that a lifetime+ journey like Aikido training is.
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