MMA has evolved.
It is widely considered the most demanding combative sport in world, and is quickly becoming the most popular. In the early days of UFC it was a proving ground, an area where styles go test their effectiveness against other styles. With the evolution of MMA it is no longer an area of style verse style, but is now MMA combatant verse MMA combatant.
Mixed Martial Artist all train in three disciplines: striking, submissions, and takedowns. The MMA fighter may have a strong background in one particular style of Martial Arts, but they change their style to meet the demands of facing a well-rounded opponent in a controlled fighting environment. The MMA fighter does strength and conditioning training, along with technique training, with the goal of being able to dominate inside the Octagon. MMA is a highly competitive combat sport.
While the MMA and the Mixed Martial Artist have their roots in traditional Martial Arts, they have elected to concentrate on just the martial aspect of Martial Arts.
The traditional Martial Artist, one the other hand, is on a never ending journey of self-exploration and discovery through his art. The combative aspect of Martial Arts is just a small portion of the traditional Martial Artist journey.
The traditional Martial Artist seeks self-discovery throw various other techniques. Using meditation and breathing exercises a traditional Martial Artist looks to unlock his hidden potential and life force through discoveries in Qi. He tests his concentration through intense and demanding forms, known as Kata’s. For the traditional Martial Artist, the study of his art is as much a study of spirituality and an understanding of the forces of natural energy as it is the study of fighting.
While the MMA fighter demonstrates his skills in a fighting arena, and his win – lose record is the display of his skills and knowledge, the traditional Martial Artist uses less combative demonstrations to display his skills
Breaking demonstrations are used to show the power the traditional Martial Artist can generate with his kicks and punches. Kata and weapon demonstrations combine the gracefulness of art with deadly technique.
Perhaps the biggest difference in the two, MMA and traditional Martial Arts, is the difference in how they view combat. The mixed martial arts training is focused daily in anticipation of pitting his skills against another formidable fighter. There is no doubt in the MMA fighter’s mind that he will be in an aggressive and potentially dangerous position. Meanwhile, the traditional Martial Artist trains a life time hoping to achieve the self-discipline and restraint needed so that he never has to test his skills in live combat.
Although both the artist and the traditional artist are highly skilled, and deserve respect for the dedication they have for their art, they have chosen a different path. For the traditional Martial Artist, the study of his art is as much a study of spirituality and an understanding of the forces of natural energy as it is the study of fighting. In the end both discover much about themselves, but the journey to self-discovery is what differentiates the two.