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 ~

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Is MMA Evolving to Include Internal Martial Arts

Below is an excerpt from an excellent post at Tai Chi Notebook, where the author explores the question of whether the evolution of MMA might begin to include some internal martial arts.

The full post includes many videos which are fun to watch. The full post may be read here.

We’re at an exciting juncture in MMA right now. As discussed in a recent Joe Rogan podcast with MMA analyst and commentator Robin Black (see video below), MMA is transitioning from an era where the mantra had become “Boxing, Wrestling and Jiujitsu is the answer to everything” to a world of new possibilities, as exemplified by newer, unorthodox, fighters like Conor McGregor and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson who have successfully introduced elements from traditional martial arts, like controlling the distance with kicks, that can catch out a seasoned wrestler/boxer who is not used to that sort of movement.
I’d like to be able to say that going towards the refined Neijia movement would be the natural evolution of MMA, as it moved from its slug-fest beginnings to more evolved fighting techniques, however MMA evolution doesn’t work like that. It’s too simplistic to see it as an evolution from thuggish, brutish origins, to the more refined and technical fighters of the modern age. Sure, the early UFCs featured many pugilists who were more brawlers than anything else. And in contrast, today’s modern MMA fighter is a hugely technical martial artist, who needs to be well-rounded in several fighting disciplines, but the beginnings of the UFC were also characterised by victories obtained via a very, very technical martial art that didn’t require huge levels of athleticism, in the form of Brazilian JiuJitsu. So, while the evolution of MMA isn’t the nice, upward directed straight line starting at “brawling” and ending at “technical” we’d like to see, if we were going to make some sort of convincing argument for ‘more technical’ as being the final destination, things definitely are improving in terms of technique in all areas simultaneously – it’s just that we didn’t start from a level playing field for all the different areas that make up the modern fight game.

Kung Fu has plenty that can be added to MMA in terms of techniques, as I blogged about recently. What the Neijia can add specifically is a lot more subtle -it’s more about using your body as one unit to produce power, but as Ido Portal’s interest in the subject has shown, it is also about improving the quality of your movement, and that can’t be a bad thing for any fighter.

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