MMA vs Martial Arts

MMA vs Martial Arts
Photo by Daniel Lloyd Blunk-Fernández on Unsplash

A lot of people are under the impression that MMA is not the real thing, not a real martial art, because it is a mixture of techniques from different martial arts which come together into one style. The same could be said for those interested in playing for PlayCroco casino bonuses. But the main difference really comes down to the concept.

MMA is really about the sport itself and on prizefighting. There are rules involved when fighting and there is the possibility of making a lot of money by winning fights. Martial arts, on the other hand, is more about self-improvement.

Below we will look at the differences and similarities between the two before coming to a conclusion as to whether MMA can be seen as authentic martial art.

The main differences between MMA and Martial arts.

  • MMA is a sport in which the main goal is to win. The same cannot be said for martial arts as the main aim is self-improvement, although at times and in some martial arts, say karate, competitions might be involved.
  • Meditation exercises are nearly always involved in martial arts as a way of calming the mind. Meditation is not a part of MMA training, even though fighters may choose to meditate of their own accord.
  • Martial arts, particularly those from China, include techniques that are not suitable for real fighting. All MMA techniques will work in real fighting situations.
  • A big part of some traditional martial arts is that they may have a cult following whereas in MMA this is not the case.
  • MMA is a very popular sport and it is possible for fighters to make a lot of money. Martial arts like karate or judo can be competitive but there is little money to be made and it is far less of a mainstream sport.
  • The majority of martial arts focus on one type of fighting, for instance judo on grappling. Whereas MMA will teach different varieties of fighting, like in the standup, or on the ground. This makes MMA more versatile.

Which is better for self-defense purposes?

MMA would without doubt be more useful to you in any self-defense situation as opposed to any other form of martial arts. The fact that MMA teaches a variety of techniques, prepares you for an authentic fighting situation. That is:

  • Standup – Muay Thai, Karate, Boxing
  • Clinch – wrestling, Muay Thai, BJJ
  • Ground fighting – wrestling, BJJ

Basically, MMA will prepare you for any fighting situation. And because MMA involves sparring you will have more of a feel for what a real fight situation may be like. If you find yourself in a real- life fight situation you will have the techniques to defend yourself or to get away.  But a drawback, perhaps, for MMA is that you won’t learn how to protect yourself from, say someone coming at you with a weapon. Some Martial arts may teach you this. Also, unlike Martial arts, MMA teaching does not include how to use dirty tactics like, say Krav Maga.

MMA sportsmen learn to fight according to rules. No dirty tactics allowed. No groin strikes, eye gouging or biting to name just a few. Obviously in street fighting there are no rules and for this reason martial arts may have a slight advantage as they do teach dirty tactics.

Nevertheless, even though most MMA fighters don’t practice these dirty tactics in the gym, they are very skilled and probably have far better overall fighting skills.

Is it possible for an MMA fighter to compete and win in a Martial Arts competition?

As already mentioned, MMA fighters are experts in a variety of fighting techniques but this may not necessarily enable them to compete and win in martial arts tournamentsThe reason that it may not be so straightforward is that MMA involves bringing together a variety of techniques into one form of fighting and not in highlighting one particular technique.  The other reason is that the rules in martial arts competitions are very different than that of MMA ones.

An example of this was seen when in 2017 Conor Mcgregor, MMA star faced Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match.   Being an MMA fighter, McGregor was an experienced boxer.  However, after 10 rounds he was knocked out by Mayweather.

Is a Martial Artist able to win against an MMA fighter in an MMA match?

Unlikely.  It would be very difficult for a martial artist to win a fight against an MMA fighter during an MMA match.  Whilst martial artists are good fighters, they are one dimensional whilst MMA fighters are anything but.   For example, in Judo.  They have excellent techniques in throws, trips and sweeps but they do not have skills to defend against the brutal techniques, kicks and punches in the standup used by MMA fighters, not to mention the difference in rules that also apply.

Not all Martial Arts are allowed in MMA

As long as the techniques used in the specific martial art are within the rules laid out by MMA then they will be admitted. However, having one particular martial art skill will not be enough to fight in MMA.  It is important to be skilled in a number of techniques.   Some martial arts are just not suitable for MMA, such as Kung Fu which relies on moves not allowed in MMA like eye-gouging and groin strikes and others like Aikido where the techniques are just not up to par for MMA.  But there are a number of martial arts that have proved to be useful in MMA fighting:

  • Muay Thai
  • Boxing
  • Karate
  • Taekwondo
  • Wrestling
  • BJJ

Which is the most suited martial art for MMA?

It seems that the majority of UFC champions are wrestlers. But to say they are the best for MMA is difficult because MMA fighters need to be expert in more than one art.   Today MMA fighters train in a whole range of martial arts, like Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling and Jui Jitsu in order to become accomplished fighters.

Can MMA be considered a martial art?

Many people don’t consider MMA as a real martial art because it involves a whole range of techniques culled from other arts. However, many martial arts also take techniques from other arts as well.

One reason MMA is often not considered a martial art is because its aim is not on self-improvement. However, this is not quite true.  Many studies have shown that MMA does improve well-being in lots of ways, from boosting self-confidence to dealing with many forms of mental health issues.


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