People study Martial Arts for different reasons. Some just want to get in shape; some want to get involved in diverse kind of Tournaments, some use Martial Arts as a way of releasing stress, etc. I am a strong believer that Mixed Martial Arts is the approach that every serious Martial Artist should take in order to be able to defend themselves from the reality of an unmerciful attack against his/her life. Mixed Martial Arts is a “must” not only in an MMA Tournament, but also out on the streets.
We should know as much as possible about every form of combat. We should know what to do standing up, we should know what to do if we end-up on the ground, we should know about primary targets to hit, we should know what to do if faced with being grabbed in different ways and, in general, we should know what it means to fight with no rules. We must have a profound understanding that real fights do not possess the beauty presented in traditional Martial Arts. Real fights are nasty and ugly!
Growing up, my community had unwritten rules; we did not hit anybody in the face who wore glasses, we did not hit anybody on the ground and we stayed away from kicking. It was all straight-up-bare-knuckled punches. I believe that we all agree that the world has become more and more violent and these rules do not exist anymore.
I love Martial Arts; as a matter fact, I am entertaining the possibility of working on another Black Belt as I engage in the studies of another Martial Arts. However, I am also aware that there are programs that are only emphasizing strictly on self-defense. These programs are not interested in Belts, studying an art for years, learning a new kata, competition, etc. These folks just want to be able to defend themselves. It is here that I believe that the combination of arts and taking what works for us as individuals is crucial.
I heard a marine Martial Arts Instructor say that in the ring he would probably get knocked-out, but in the jungle he would take that same guy and kill him. That is the kind of the approach for many; they are not interested in beauty, but in the ability to defend themselves against a nasty, ugly and unmerciful attack against his/her life and/or the live of his/her love ones.
As responsible instructors we must retain the spiritual value of traditional martial arts as the foundation for our program. Our programs should be more than just kicking somebody else’s butt. We must have values, a moral code, the teaching of emotional discipline, etc. In my program I find that and more because my focus is Jesus Christ who is my Savior and Lord. Perhaps many of my students will not grow up to be the next MMA star, but he/she will have an opportunity to meet Christ as his/her Savior.
Traditional Martial Arts have different valuable things to offer. I find value and purpose in all of them. The idea that you can find it all in one system is rightly outdated. That is why I always say that Bruce Lee was ahead of his time because he understood that we are different as individuals and also that attacks are different. Therefore Bruce Lee promoted a style-less approach to Martial Arts; he took what worked for him and disregard what did not. This is not a philosophy against Martial Arts, but a philosophy against the arrogance of individual styles’ practitioners who claim to be the best and have no respect for other arts.
I conclude with these words: It may be curious or strange for many of you to understand this, but even as I promote the study of Mix Martial Arts, I am not a fan of MMA Competition. I believe that kind of approach of fighting should be reserved for the streets in cases where your life or the life of loved ones are in danger. The idea of seeing someone getting hit with somebody else’s knees and elbows is a step forward into the days of the violence of the gladiators. It is the response of a violent society that actually finds that kind of activity exciting. This is just my opinion; I welcome yours.