This is really less of a buzzword, and more of a buzz”method” but, the concept still applies just as well.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has become an entire sub-culture, with it’s own “speak” and style. UFC started out as more of a bar brawl style cage fight, using whatever training and techniques and style you had, and to the victor went the spoils. Now, however, it is this combination of watered down Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) and Muay-Thai; labeled as Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Both of which in there natural and raw form are serious and effective arts.
What the general public seems to have forgotten, ignore, or disregard, is that it is a sport. The “Affliction” shirts, and flat-bill “Tapout” baseball caps make you look hardcore and you belong in and to this sub-culture; but, what does all this stuff mean? For the 1% of the population who actually participates in UFC/MMA, it is how they identify in their sport, fair enough. The rest of those who wear the gear, and know the names of the athletes but do not participate, are fans, also fair.
Where the problem starts is when people assume that MMA is a viable form of self defense. You may have noticed I kept referring to UFC/MMA as a sport, and indeed it is. UFC has taken parts of BJJ and Muay-Thai, both good arts, and sportized (it’s a word because I just made it one) them.
UFC has rules, regulations, etc that go into a sport. They have to make money, keep the fans happy, keep new guys interested, just as in baseball, football, basketball, and all the others in order to keep the sport alive. This is however, not a martial art. I am sure those that participate in the sport are fuming and more than willing “to step in the octagon with me”, but look; I do not fight with rules, the eyes, knees, groin, are all viable targets, and disabling you is a goal.
When you train for self defense, you should train and prepare for a real world street fight. There are a lot of great arts, forms, and styles out there, and even more folks who are masters of their respective art. But, you should not look to a sport for self defense.
Now that I have hurt the feelings of all the UFC/MMA fans out there, lets do a comparison of the pros and cons that UFC brings to the table.
- Learn to hit and be hit. You must know how to strike properly, without hurting yourself, transferring energy, and all that
- Fundamentals. Muay Thai is what is used for the stand-up game. Muay-Thai is a series Thai style of boxing/kickboxing. This entails footwork, combinations, focus drills, cardio, etc., etc. All good things.
- The ground game is primarily BJJ. This is a great art, especially if you are smaller. I have seen little guys, straight dominate little guys. Shoot, I have been dominated by guys significantly smaller than me on the ground. (they were very good)
- Both BJJ and Muay-Thai are watered down solutions of the original. You can still get good stuff out of them, but I assure you, by the time you get through all the rules and attached garbage, they are not as potent.
- There are rules in UFC. There are no “rules” on the street.
- It is a sport…
There are certainly valid points to be taken from such a training for self-defense. But, I would highly encourage you seek other venues for the purpose of self defense
What can we learn?
- UFC is a sport. Sports are nice to enjoy and play and all that. However, for the purpose of self defense there are better venues.
- If you are going to invest time and effort into a fighting style/system for self defense, do your homework and research. Find a place and style that works for you and fits your self defense needs.
- Don’t get caught up in the buzzwords of our modern times. Wearing the “Tapout” gear and knowing the names of all the champs is fun as a fan, but it does not make you a warrior.
- Becoming proficient in a fighting style/art takes time and dedication. Find something you love that works for you, and dive in head first!