Is MMA a Threat to the Values of Traditional Martial Arts?
written by: Master McCorry
MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts has been comparatively a new entrant to the age old traditions of conventional martial arts. In fact, though attempts in the line to create a single martial art with the elements of different arts date to the 1960s, MMA in its current form, was the result of the Ultimate Fighting Championship that was inaugurated in 1993. Originally, the Ultimate Fighting Championship - or UFC as it is popularly known - had kicked off as a platform to find out the best fight technique of all. However, in the course of time, the different martial arts that played out in the UFC arenas mingled together and UFC became the stage to what came to be known as MMA. The popularity of MMA soared after the television appearance of the series The Ultimate Fighter in 2005. Since then, we are witness to an MMA phenomenon, when the sport got immense attractiveness all over the world, especially in the United States.
The Erosion of Traditional Values in MMA
Along with the rising popularity and zest of the MMA, a number of analysts and martial art enthusiasts have started pondering the other side. A number of analysts have come up with bold remarks on how the glamour and competitive zeal that is associated with UFC tournaments have resulted in an erosion of the values that were an integral part of the traditional martial arts.
These analysts have tried to point out how the commercialization of MMA has led to a disappearance of values like respect, mutual cooperation and tolerance in the modern MMA arenas. The argument is that when MMA is commercialized, especially with a television audience in mind, it causes many contestants and promoters to forget the values of sportsman spirit, respect and modesty.
Blending the Strength of Tradition with MMA
How is it that MMA, a sport with elements absorbed from all the traditional martial arts that cherish these very values, does a volta-face like this? The reason that most analysts put forward is this: even though MMA draws a lot from the traditional martial arts, only a portion of the current MMA practitioners are actually trained in these traditional arts. This has led to the current situation in which many MMA artists have started considering themselves more of a fighter than a martial artist.
MMA, in itself, is an art with a lot of positives to it. The benefits of MMA are doubled by the fact that it has acquired the status of the most popular martial arts in countries like the US. Even the modernized facet of MMA with its focus on healthy competition and sports-like spirit is an aspect worth keeping. If the core values like respect, humility and cooperation could be blended with these, MMA has the potential to be the greatest martial art of all. For this, we need training institutions that teach MMA without effacing its humanitarian outlook.
There are a number of martial art institutions in the US, like the Bruce McCorry’s Martial Arts Academy (Peabody. MA) that emphasize the core values of conventional martial arts even in radical arts like MMA. What we need is an MMA with a human face and academies like Bruce McCorry’s gives us that.
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