Is Classical Martial Arts Better Than MMA?

Classical Martial Arts against MMA, this is an fascinating question. On one hand, we have the classical practitioner, as in Krav Maga or Tai Chi Chuan and that sort of art. On the other hand we have the people who praise the UFC and regimens such as one would see on Strikeforce.

Now, obviously, we are going to have a difference of opinion, the main thing is can we come up with some facts, or at least opinions so well grounded, that belief in one system is superior to another? I believe it is possible.

First, there is sport v art. In a sport one fights an opponent. In an art, one is in conflict, and thus attempting to resolve conflict, with oneself.

Second, there is the matter of control. In a classical art one is attempting to control ones body, ones opponent, and ones own emotions and spirit. In MMA one is all too often just attempting to smash somebody’s face.

Thus far, the edge seems to be going to the classical methods. In attempting to control ones own self there is a high ground which can’t be argued. This is not to say, however, that the MMA school of thought does not have a voice in this election.

The main consideration, UFC stylists would argue, is whether an art works in the dark alley, and in this they would appear to posssess an edge. After all, the face smashing, body twisting, leg breaks that one perceives in the octagon is definitely useful for self defence. This writer, however, is not completely convinced of the argument.

In the ring, no matter what is said, rules are present. No pokes to the eyes, kicks to apples, small joint twisting, punching the back of the skull, and so on. These are the techniques that a classical practitioner might choose in a street encounter.

Thus, in the final tally, while experience with violence, such as one might find in the MMA ring, has a definite edge, this writer is still going to stick with the classical. After all, in traditional martial arts one learns how to fight without getting mugged, and there are lessons to be learned outside of violence, and which can actually de-escalate conflicts. Choose which you wish, be true to your choice, both classical martial arts and MMA have much to offer.