Martial Arts v MMA

I’m Paul Willson I am a brown belt in Ju Jutsu, a centuries old Japanese martial art.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on

One criticism a martial art often gets is “it won’t work in MMA” as if in some way if it doesn’t work in the octagon then the martial art is no good.

I have never understood this argument. Firstly I will state the obvious that MMA is not a martial art, it is sports fighting. Also it is Mixed Martial Arts, clue in the name. Fighters who complete in MMA use a mixture of martial art techniques to win a one on one refereed fight where the winner knocks out, submits or the referee steps in to stop the opponent for their own protection.

Don’t get me wrong I like MMA. I check out the free fights on YouTube and record and watch the big fights on TV. I admire the fighters. They have a high level of fitness and in each fight they put everything on the line, a win and their career advances, lose it is a serious career setback. However, to say MMA is a martial art is wrong.

One thing that supports this argument is that MMA fighters generally specialise in one martial art. Most of the time this Kick Boxing, Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu because these are the best disciplines for MMA ie striking, submitting and taking the opponent to the ground. There are some Judokas and Karate fighters, Russians using Sambo and in the far east there are some Silat, Muay Thai and other Asian martial arts used but even there because of the nature of MMA Kick Boxing, Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are still used.

Another argument is that Kick Boxing, Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu come from traditional Martial Arts. Kick Boxing has it’s roots from Muay Thai, there has been Wrestling in some form in most cultures for thousands of years and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was developed from Judo which was developed from Ju Jutsu. So don’t dismiss traditional martial arts.

Knowledge of multiple martial arts will help a MMA fighter win a fight in the octagon but it in itself is not a martial art.

If you have any views on the difference between martial arts and MMA please leave a comment below.


Published by Paul Willson

I am Paul Willson. I have reached the rank of brown belt in Ju Jutsu. Thanks to Coronavirus I not been able to take my black belt grading stopping my martial art's journey in its tracks which the only polite word I can think of as frustrating. I have created this blog to try and help anyone who is thinking of starting a martial art or has just started a martial art.

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