Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Evolution in Combat Sports

At Wim Demeer's excellent blog, there was a recent post on the evolution of combat sports. 

An excerpt is below. The full post, with many accompanying videos, may be found here

I believe it is fair to say that Benny (Urguidez) in his prime wouldn’t stand a chance against (the late) Ramon (Dekker) in his prime. Ramon was in the same weight class as Benny, so that can’t explain the difference in power and effectiveness. Look at how Benny and Fujimoto kick: there is nowhere near the power compared to Ramon’s leg techniques. They also look like amateurs compared to Ramon: there is no integrated approach to using arms and legs.

In part, this can be explained by the stage of development the sport was in back then: Benny came from a boxing and karate background and it shows in how he fights. He didn’t practice muay Thai, few Westerners did back then. In essence, him and his contemporaries made things up as they went along, developing skills and adapting their karate techniques to what was then relatively new sport. In contrast, Ramon Dekkers trained muay Thai (Dutch version) from the beginning and you see this in the way he moves, punches and kicks.

If you compare Ramon to today’s fighters, you’ll see even more differences between them and Benny, but also Ramon. The sport has changed, evolved and grown. Not just on a technical level but also strategies, tactics and training methods.

We’ve seen the same thing in MMA when you look at the first UFC events where the Gracies demonstrated the need for effective ground grappling which many fighters lacked.

Fast forward 20 years and there are no Gracies any more in the UFC. Today, every fighter has a good ground game along with good stand up (an area in which the Gracies always were severely lacking) to be able to compete. The funny thing is that the next step in the evolution of the sport is a resurgence of techniques from traditional martial arts. Karate, Tae Kwon Do and other arts are used as a source for innovating in the cage. In a few years, it’ll be something else.

This process is natural and normal for all sports, combat sports included, which brings me to my actual point:

If you don’t follow the evolution of the sport, you become obsolete.

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