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.