It’s not Scottish.
MMA is crap? Not to be a jerk but that is completely and utterly wrong. I am not going to say some MMA gym’s don’t suck but the style itself is absolutely 100% the way to go. If we really want to be an animal the modern hybrid of boxing/ muy thai kickboxing/ wrestling and BJJ that is MMA is the answer. It is what the best real world practil fighters in the world use, as well as what our military and it’s elite SOF units pattern their training after.
The issue with BJJ is that it is very limited. BJJ guys are the best grapplers in the world, without a doubt. However that is only one necessary skill to be a complete fighter. Also BJJ’s take them down and submission plan is really only viable in an organized arena where you know you will only fight one guy. The best BJJ dude in the world can’t beat a redneck’s friend putting a 10W boot into his face while he is on the ground.
I did not support my statement, and he was right for giving me some friendly crap over it. The slew of MMA style training does have a few perks. They demand physical fitness from their practitioners. They train grappling very heavily, which is good because most fights end up on the ground. They are really, really good at applying and reversing joint locks.
Having said that there are quite a few flaws with MMA as a self defence system. Is it better than nothing? Hell yeah. Could someone use MMA as a foundation for a successful and well-rounded hand-to hand combat training? Yes, but the first step is to identify the flaws, and learn skills to mitigate them.
First, There is no philosophy in the training program. This leads to two problems. Practitioners are generally way, way to aggressive. Agression has its purpose, but sometimes it is better to let your opponent be the agressive one and make the first mistake. I am training for when the fight is over, there is a victor, hopefully me, and the vanquished. The vanquished doesn’t go on to train for the next fight.
The other problem with a lack of philosophy is the ubiquitous “chip on the shoulder”. I’ve met many MMA guys, and even a talented fighter you have watched on pay-per-view as a professional. Not everyone who trains in MMA has it — it’s not like they hand you one as you walk in foir your first lesson. Let’s just say there is a significantly higher percentage of them that have this attitude problem. I’ve also seen this on a few of the dragon-ninja-american-kenpo-whatever guys. Not a huge problem, but worth paying attention to.
A major problem with most of the MMA arts is a lack of understanding of anatomy and physics. I see kicks above the waist, improper punching tecnique, and flashy moves that look awesome for the crowd but are ineffectual. As youkick higher, your center of mass shifts upwards, resulting in a significant lack of power because your base is weaker. This is why the original muay thai fighters’ kicks were low, to maximize their power. MMA arts teach you to punch people in the head, which is wrong. Your wrist did not evolve (or created by some higher power) to punch things. Your bone alignment while punching has to be perfect, or you break your wrist. Boxers and MMA guys tape their wrists to prevent injury because of this. If you get mugged while shopping for groceries, will you have your wrists taped? The human head is a bag of bones, the last thing you should do is punch it. Strikes using other means, or fists to different targets is safer, and usually more effective.
I laughed out loud at a Krav Maga demonstration because the demonstrator threw this four minute combo of punches and short kicks that was spectacular, but would leave 99% of the people in the world panting and out of breath, unable to defend themselves after an expenditure of energy of that ferocity. the Akido demonstration after the Krav Maga dude had five attackers trying to subdue a 50+ year old guy. He didn’t break a sweat. The five attackers never laid a hand on the guy, and were panting and exhausted after only a minute. So being in shape is a good thing, but having it as a cornerstone to your hand to hand defense might not be the best idea. Prepping is about conserving resources, a solid strategy – even in a fight.
There are a few more drawbacks, like the continual waste of energy in bouncing around and throwing feints, aka “shadowboxing.” Looks great before a bout, but telegraphs your moves to someone like me who looks for such things. There is minimal training in weapons. Most show you how to disarm an opponent, but are little help if you are the one with the knife. Breakfalls are sloppy, and not applicable to anything other than a practice mat. I breakfall onto pavement and concrete to make sure I take as little damage as possible if I fall or if I’m thrown.
Finally, there is the problem with rules. TOR pointed it out in his reply about BJJ, but the same flaw is found in other MMA styles. MMA fighters have a ref, a ring or octogon with padded turnbuckles and springy floor. If you are jumped outside a club, you have none of these things. MMA fighters don’t know what to do with joint locks that are “not allowed.” I had a friend who started taking BJJ after the rise of the UFC challenge me to a friendly sparring contest. It was over in less than five seconds. As he shot for my legs I simply stepped back and grabbed his fingers, bending them backwards. He tapped out as he hit the ground and started calling me a “cheater.” After pointing out the lack of referee, and on his front lawn, not an octogon, he laughed and told me not to do that. If he got a hold of me at all, or if my choke or joint lock wasn’t perfectly executed, he would have me. I had a few more problems with “the rules,” like throws (think Judo) are not really allowed. On the whole, I took seven out of ten sparring matches. Not bad when he was going for his brown belt soon, and I was still a white belt. Who is kidding who? I’m still a white belt. Rank is meaningless to me.
There is no “perfect” martial art, so the trick is to take an honest look at it and make sure that you are mitigating any flaws. I will probably take some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu soon, because their grappling skills are unmatched. After I improve that skill set to my satisfaction, I’ll take something else to fill in another weak point. Just like with any set of skills continual practice and refinement is the only way to go. Keep learning or give it up.