Two Letters Re: Martial Arts Fact Versus Fiction

The most recent response to this article includes the following quote: “ I noticed that many seem to be fans of Ultimate Fighting and I’m not going to say its fake, but it is entertainment. The fighters are great but lets be honest, the matches are intended to draw ratings by selling the drama.”

I felt I needed to respectfully respond to this, not with the intention of arguing, but clarifying, based on a more educated and informed perspective on Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). I’ve been a martial artist for over ten years, and involved in Mixed Martial Arts (or Ultimate Fighting) for eight of those years. I’ve met and trained with some of the best fighters in the sport, and have been involved with and trained regularly with traditional martial artists from every conceivable discipline including Goju Ryu, American Kempo, Kyokushin, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Aikijitsu, Judo, Russian kickboxing, American kickboxing, Western Boxing, Capoeira, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, freestyle wrestling, submission wrestling, muay thai, Sambo and Gung fu. I’ve trained with two different police departments, bouncers, and numerous members of the armed forces on hand-to-hand combatives. I have also fought “in the cage” as they say.

Without knowing any better, many people compare Mixed Martial Arts to Professional Wrestling, and assume that it is either fake, scripted, or “entertainment”. Unlike WWE or TNA (pro wrestling organizations), Ultimate Fighting organizations (The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), King of the Cage, World Extreme Combat, Pride, Bodog Fights, etc) do not script their matches or decide the outcomes beforehand. The sport of MMA is a combination of the three most legitimate combat sports that exist today: boxing, kickboxing, and wrestling. In fact, the sport existed in the ancient Greek Olympics under the name “Pankration”, and was the first and most celebrated sport in the games.

Many people’s idea of martial arts comes from watching Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, or Chuck Norris take down an opponent in a fast, cool, calculated fashion…often with little effort. This is Hollywood . This is fake. Anyone who has been in real combat with tell you that it’s dirty, clumsy, unpredictable, and scary. To expect two MMA Athletes (Ultimate Fighters) to step into the ring or cage and finish one another off quickly and realistically is to insult their skill and devotion to the sport. The fact that an Ultimate Fight can last 15 minutes is purely due to the level of proficiency, athleticism, and rules involved in the sport itself.

Imagine Mike Tyson being confronted on the street by a mugger. One lunging hook later, the mugger is laid out cold with a broken jaw, assuming he doesn’t have a weapon. However, though Iron Mike walked through many opponents in the ring in this manner, fighters like Buster Douglas and Evander Holyfield just absorbed Mike’s tremendous power and kept on coming. Why? Because they trained every day to do just that.

If an MMA athlete was confronted by an untrained person on the street, that untrained person would likely end up in the ICU with broken limbs and a collapsed trachea. However, when two highly trained, experienced, and athletic MMA fighters square off, it often becomes a chess match. On the other hand, there are plenty of lightning fast knockouts and submissions if that’s what you’re after.

The rules in MMA were created for the safety and longevity of the fighters, and due to constant and rigorous pressure testing, real application, and scientific examination and re-examination, the style of “Mixed Martial Arts” or “Ultimate Fighting” has become the post complete, efficient, effective and proven self-defense system in existence today. That’s why Police Departments and Militaries the world over are now training these concepts. Without the rules, MMA would be a gladiatorial bloodbath, and high caliber athletes would steer clear. However, think about the techniques that aren’t allowed: biting, eye gouging, hair pulling, groin strikes, throat strikes, finger breaking, kicking a downed man…
How much training do these techniques really require? In fact, combine all those techniques, and I’d say that’s pretty much how an untrained person would fight. Do you really think a trained MMA Athlete wouldn’t utilize these techniques in a life-or-death altercation? Of course they would!!!

As was also said in the article, “As many have stated before [you need to learn] a system with equal parts grappling, punching, kicking, elbows, knees, etc.” Well, that’s the definition of modern MMA or Ultimate Fighting. Combine with that the natural “dirty” techniques mentioned above, as well as training with firearms and blades (we do cover blades in my MMA class) and you’ve got a comprehensive self-defense system that has something few others do… a regular and high caliber testing arena, that all are free to watch and enjoy, where the finer techniques of the system are constantly streamlined, tested, innovated, sometimes discarded, and generally forced to evolve from the outdated traditional exercise routines they are based on.

Next time you watch The Ultimate Fighting Championship, imagine that hypothetical fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris… and know that both were/are outspoken proponents of MMA. Most Sincerely, – EID



A very well thought out and personally researched treatise on martial arts. There were one two points with which I respectfully disagree: Point #3) MMA/ UFC fighters are great athletes, and at the top end are the best ring fighters, bar none. As such, they are fighting within time limits, rounds, etc. and have a precise time frame for the entire event. Thus, what looks like stalling is, in fact, a chess game to make one’s move without getting caught coming in. In a street encounter, one doesn’t know which round one is in, so don’t dawdle: see initial statement of point #3; Point #11) owning a gun makes one no more of a gunfighter than owning a piano makes one a musician. Any artificial weapon must be an extension of a natural attack. The more complex the weapon, the more complete the new skill-set to master said weapon becomes (brass knuckles require far less training than an Uzi to use effectively, for example). If one neglects to acquire these necessary skills, little more is accomplished than providing weapons to bad guys.

On the highlight reel: #5) Awareness! Fights avoided are rarely lost…#4) The fight’s over when the winner says so! Now, shut up and reload!…#9) We call this Environmental Awareness, and it’s not the Al Gore Greenie-Weenie Variety; simply stated, your Environment is everything in, on, and around you. Spinning some miscreant headlong into a dumpster has the same effect of a crack to the forehead with a PR-24 night stick, without the hassles of carrying one; #8) Fight Dirty! Strike hard, strike fast, strike them to the ground…I call this The Theory of Inverted Sportsmanship. If you’d like to know a solid basis for self-defense, get wrestling, boxing, judo, and UFC rulebooks. Everything in these that is considered a foul is to protect the fighters from serious injury. Therefore, these are the methods to apply first and most vigorously when attacked.

I found myself in total agreement with the letter , with the exception of the two minor points stated earlier. One omission I would like to emphasize, that gets scant attention in any martial arts setting, for politically correct reasons: you must be absolutely ruthless with your attacker. You must be willing to brutally smash him into submission. If you are squeamish on this now, your flight instinct will take over in a confrontation, your fine motor-skills will vanish, you you will get your head (or some other vital or exotic part of your anatomy) handed to you. We refer to this as Spiritual Point of Origin: finish the fight, in its most gruesome outcome, now, in your head, and make peace with it. If you cannot accept mentally and spiritually that which you may be required to do, how can you possibly manifest the same physically? The short answer, folks, is, you can’t…As always, Keep the Faith, – Bonehead