Guest Author - Caroline Chen-Whatley
It seems like these days if you're not doing Mixed Martial Arts, you're not doing Martial Arts. I subscribe to many newsfeeds relating to Martial Arts and not a day goes by that I don't see something about MMA. Whenever I tell anyone I do Martial Arts, they suddenly ask me if I also follow UFC. (BTW, if you're curious, no I don't watch. I check in on a few of the fights now and again but I've come to realize it just really isn't my cup of tea.)
And once UFC enters into the conversation, it is all about large, angry, testosterone filled, muscular men duking it out. Reality is, most of the people who do Martial Arts look nothing like the hotties in the UFC. There are a few that do and they certainly make it a pleasure to go to class… until you have to face them in sparring.
But I digress. Back to my rant. Mixed Martial Arts isn't all there is out there. Furthermore, it's not anything "new". In fact, if we want to get technical here, ALL Martial Arts today are mixed in some fashion or another. Look at the history of the styles. Look at your own style's history if you study one. You will find different teachers bringing in different ideas and concepts into the style over the years. These influences came from… you guessed it, other styles.
There is no pure system out there because the reality is no system could survive in its original form. Things change and improve as they grow and get more experience. Just look at anything around us. Computers have changed the way we do things and with each generation of the computer, they come up with new and better ways to do the same thing. Same with almost anything you can think of out there. Cooking. Biking. Living.... Need I go on?
As any anthropology student can tell you, for something to remain "pure" in a culture, it would have to be isolated from everything else in the world. Once external influences are injected, how people do things changes and adapts. That is the nature of human beings. A system that is "pure" is untested and uninfluenced by the reality of the things around us. That lack of reality would make the system ineffective and incapable to adapt to what really happens in life, fights, anything.
The problem I have with MMA is that these days it comes with too much negative baggage. Right next to all those newsfeeds about UFC, I find articles about how it is viewed to be too violent by many people. I see articles of how someone trained in MMA has taken out his anger on someone else. Participating in MMA is almost like a badge of machismo.
So if anyone asks me for my opinion on MMA, my answer is simple: No... I don't do MMA and I'm not interested.