Traditional Martial Art as Compared to Modern (Mixed) Martial Art

I’ve talked in the past about how our area of the state and country has produced a lot of great “fighters”. If those guys were training today, you can bet that they would be doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and wrestling in addition to kickboxing and Karate. All of these “Combat Sports” are considered “realistic” martial arts.

When we see these aggressive, highly trained people pounding each other bloody on our televisions, we can’t help but believe that their way must be the right one. Look how much punishment they can dish out and take! Properly executed BJJ techniques look like magic and are very impressive.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the organization that arguably began the Mixed Martial Art (MMA) craze, has changed radically in the twenty years or so that it has been around. In the beginning, it was simply a contest to see which martial art was the best against other martial arts.  Royce Gracie, the son of one of the founders of BJJ, dominated that first competition and many thereafter.

Over the years, due to factors such as pressure from prominent politicians and public outrage over the violence of the spectacles, the UFC has added more and more rules. In my opinion, while this has served to decrease the amount of blood in the ring, and rendered fewer immediate injuries, it has only increased the violence.

As a promotional agency, the UFC and similar organizations have a vested interest in prolonging matches and making them more interesting for the viewers. By adding gloves, limiting strikes and holds, adding weight classes, and limiting the time of the rounds, they are taking the matches farther and farther away from “reality”.

Traditional martial arts tend to be looked down upon in the MMA community at large. However, m

any of the bigger names, people who came from traditional martial art and received their core training there, still talk about the benefit of traditional martial arts. You can even see elements of their martial art in their MMA fights.

The way that I think about it, traditional martial art is about balance. Often symbolized by the Um/Um YangYang or Yin/Yang symbol, traditional martial art is about much more than fighting. In addition to physical balance, traditional martial artists learn to balance work and family life, personal time and time with others, training time, etc.

Master Barry Harmon often says, “You may never have to defend yourself with Kuk Sool, but you have to get out of bed and go to work every day.”  He’s talking about balancing the intensity of your training with the needs of your life outside the dojang (training hall).

MMA is very popular now. I’ll bet that almost everyone has at least seen it when surfing through the channels on TV. Even if you didn’t stop and watch, you were aware of it. Not everyone is aware of traditional martial arts and the impact that it has on the practitioners’ everyday lives.

If you want to train to fight, there are several good places in town. If you want to train for a better life, a more balanced and healthy one, then a traditional school like ours might be a better choice.





One response to “Traditional Martial Art as Compared to Modern (Mixed) Martial Art”

  1. matt rosenbaum Avatar
    matt rosenbaum

    Well said Ken. There are many (right) ways to live. The truth of a way is proven by its fruit. Of course, the heart pursues its earnest desire. I have come to see that what we believe and what we espouse are often 2 different things. However, we act out of what we believe and not what we espouse. I hope people who are seeking a well-balanced life will see this and come train with you.

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