MMA sucks, traditional martial arts suck more, Part Two

I hadn’t really intended to write a second part to this “MMA sucks!” post but the amount of reactions I’ve received pushed me to it; so it’s all your own fault!

Seriously, I seem to have given the impression that I dislike MMA. Despite having clearly stated otherwise, this is still the response I got the most. So I’ll repeat it: I have nothing against MMA, at all. On the contrary, if I had more time, I’d resume my shootfighting training because I enjoyed it immensely. What’s more, I have tremendous respect for everybody who steps into the ring, cage or onto a lei tai. Those who haven’t fought full contact (I don’t care which rules, it all hurts)  don’t know what they’re talking about and should at the very least respect the courage these athletes show. Which brings us to my first point:

Pressure testing

Over at Neil’s blog, somebody commented on his MMA post and said this:

I agree with what you say “What works, works.” the rub is how you KNOW it works or not. The traditional arts you espouse lack aliveness, they lack pressure testing, and their students do not KNOW if they can perform the techniques, nor do they KNOW the technique will work of they do.
The training methods are faulty. Embrace it, change the way you train, be a better Martial Artist for it.

This is a classic argument against TMAs and one that I can only half agree with. First what I disagree with:

The argument is based on a false premise: Some TMA schools lack anything resembling pressure testing. Many other schools have a variety of ways to do so. So it’s a statistical issue more than anything else: it depends on which traditional schools you see. Some of the schools I trained at had an insane amount of pressure testing with all-out sparring and no limits to the techniques you could use.  There was no protective gear either; they thought gloves and shin guards were for wussies.

In contrast, I’ve also seen watered-down MMA programs implemented in commercial dojos to increase the income stream. There was no pressure testing at all and the techniques were taught in the same robotic fashion as their traditional arts. Had these people entered a class of that traditional school, they would have been humiliated by the traditional folks, using nothing but their old-school techniques.

So let’s say it’s way too easy to look at a handful of traditional schools and MMA gyms and then make a blanket statement like that.

Context is king

Here’s the part where I agree with that statement. I mentioned this in the first part and it’s one of the traps traditional folks fall into:

You cannot take a traditional art out of it’s historical/cultural context and expect it to work in another one. Like I said, 500 years ago in China is not the same context as today in the suburbs. You can’t just switch these around and think they’ll work flawlessly.

But there’s a flip side to this: Your art was perhaps developed back then and made you devastatingly lethal. But that doesn’t mean you can get those same skills by just going through the motions today. The training methods and concepts will be closed to you until you take your training to a deeper level. What you need most of all is a deep understanding of what violence is. This isn’t out of your reach by default, it largely depends on your environment and past experience.

Basically, there are a only a couple of ways you can get this understanding, which is the common denominator of all the martial components of traditional martial arts :

  • Live in a society where violence is a daily occurrence, a fact of life.
  • Failing that, have experienced the physical and psychological effects of violence in your past. The more experience, the more understanding you’ll have.
  • If that isn’t your case either, you’ll need to study, train hard and go through as much pressure testing and scenario training as you can.

Fortunately, most of us live in a society where violence is if not rare, at least not something you face on a day-to-day basis. Sure, you might read or hear about it, but it doesn’t happen to you every single day. As a result, most of us fall into that last category, the ones who have to train hard to get that understanding of what real-world violence is actually like.

The traditional practitioners I mentioned before are all guys who know violence intimately. Either because of where they live or because of their profession. They don’t need pressure testing because they get that enough in their daily lives. They understand the realities of violence on a gut level and play for keeps.

If there is anything missing in the way traditional martial artists view their practice, it’s often just that: a lack of comprehension of what violence entails. Because if they would know just a fraction of what happens out there, they would train a whole lot harder than they do. In contrast, most MMA gyms understand the need for the rough training to prepare a fighter for the Octagon. And that’s where the discord often starts.

UPDATE: Check out “From the Octagon to the Street” for more thoughts on this topic.

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Comments

  1. Frank Garza says:

    Great writing…:)

    I agree with the “pressure testing” concept…:)

    Like different types of contact, pressure testing, is the same way.

    Some people really don’t know what hard contact really is. And some don’t know what real pressure testing is.

    As an instructor, to pressure test a student you have to find the right balance between too much pressure and not enough pressure.

    The same thing goes for contact. Many students think they want hard contact, and then when they get it, a lot of them want to quit.

    But if you hit them too light, some of them develop a false confidence.

    I personally don’t like safety gear…it makes people over confident and many times lazy. Without gear, if you block wrong, then you know real quick. And having an arm or leg slightly bruised in a dojo is a lot better then having it broken/sprained on the street.

    I think you can do a traditional martial art with some modern drills and get the best of both worlds. But you have to keep the drills challenging.

    The traditional ways of working basics and proper breathing, are much more important than most think. Those things just aren’t taught and explained, the right way.

    Anyway…great blog bro…:)
    Frank “pancho” Garza

    • Thanks Bro and thanks for stopping by. You’re right about people not knowing what contact really is. And cranking it up makes lots of them pick up their marbles and go home. I always try to increase it in small increments over a longer time period. To give them time to adapt. But even then, you still get guys who just call it quits when they’re not even close to some serious contact.

  2. Frank Garza says:

    Great writing…:)

    I agree with the “pressure testing” concept…:)

    Like different types of contact, pressure testing, is the same way.

    Some people really don’t know what hard contact really is. And some don’t know what real pressure testing is.

    As an instructor, to pressure test a student you have to find the right balance between too much pressure and not enough pressure.

    The same thing goes for contact. Many students think they want hard contact, and then when they get it, a lot of them want to quit.

    But if you hit them too light, some of them develop a false confidence.

    I personally don’t like safety gear…it makes people over confident and many times lazy. Without gear, if you block wrong, then you know real quick. And having an arm or leg slightly bruised in a dojo is a lot better then having it broken/sprained on the street.

    I think you can do a traditional martial art with some modern drills and get the best of both worlds. But you have to keep the drills challenging.

    The traditional ways of working basics and proper breathing, are much more important than most think. Those things just aren’t taught and explained, the right way.

    Anyway…great blog bro…:)
    Frank “pancho” Garza

    • Thanks Bro and thanks for stopping by. You’re right about people not knowing what contact really is. And cranking it up makes lots of them pick up their marbles and go home. I always try to increase it in small increments over a longer time period. To give them time to adapt. But even then, you still get guys who just call it quits when they’re not even close to some serious contact.

  3. Hi Wim,

    As a lifelong martial artist who has worked as a Patrol Deputy, Detective, Defensive Tactics Instructor and ultimately as Special Agent in the US Secret Service I can tell you that your comments are right on. I have been teaching a segment called “MMA will get you killed against the blade.” We regularly confirm the statement that “Two beats one on the ground.”

    You do not want to go to the ground! I tire of the number of mythological statistics that 90% of all fights go to the ground. My experience shows that sloppy drunks fighting go to the ground. People who are knocked unconscious go to the ground. Individuals that fall prey to multiple attackers such as high/low attack scenarios go to the ground. Suspects that are arrested using control/defensive tactics go to the ground to be cuffed. At know time does a police officer who is serious about his craft or a civilian responding to a self-defense situation want to go to the ground “with the suspect.”

    Good law enforcement officers and martial artist alike will train in ground defense skills, but not with the goal of a submission. The goal is to survive the attack using any soft targets that are available, that is all those that are against the sport martial art rules, and recover to a superior position on his/her feet. This allows the trained officer to be aware and respond to secondary risk and the citizen the best opportunity to escape the conflict. This type of situational training is imperative.

    I only recently started reading your blog. You are spot on with your comments. I was fortunate enough to have been a part of a very physical traditional school where protective equipment was almost non-existent. That together with wrestling gave me a good foundation that has continued to develop with my lifelong training that benefits from the real world views I along with other professionals have been privileged to have along with knowledge shared by many talented professionals like yourself.

    Keep it up.

    • Hi Mick,

      Thanks for the feedback and your kind words. It’s great to hear from your perspective as bot ha martial artist but more importantly, a life spent in law enforcement.

      That myth of all those fights going to the ground is probably going to be the hardest thing to kill. Because people see it in MMA matches so it must be real in the street too?! Then I shake my head, try to explain and get a typical response like “Brock Lesnar would kick your tai chi master’s ass in the street!!!!” Which is when I give up and walk away. :-)

      I was fortunate that in the Chinese arts I started in, there is virtually no ground fighting. It was instilled in me that you never wanted to go to the floor. If you did, your only goals was to get back up. to this day, that’s my focus. Arts focused on ground work are great, I love what they do. But on the street, I’d rather do something else. Like running fiercely. :-)

  4. Hi Wim,

    As a lifelong martial artist who has worked as a Patrol Deputy, Detective, Defensive Tactics Instructor and ultimately as Special Agent in the US Secret Service I can tell you that your comments are right on. I have been teaching a segment called “MMA will get you killed against the blade.” We regularly confirm the statement that “Two beats one on the ground.”

    You do not want to go to the ground! I tire of the number of mythological statistics that 90% of all fights go to the ground. My experience shows that sloppy drunks fighting go to the ground. People who are knocked unconscious go to the ground. Individuals that fall prey to multiple attackers such as high/low attack scenarios go to the ground. Suspects that are arrested using control/defensive tactics go to the ground to be cuffed. At know time does a police officer who is serious about his craft or a civilian responding to a self-defense situation want to go to the ground “with the suspect.”

    Good law enforcement officers and martial artist alike will train in ground defense skills, but not with the goal of a submission. The goal is to survive the attack using any soft targets that are available, that is all those that are against the sport martial art rules, and recover to a superior position on his/her feet. This allows the trained officer to be aware and respond to secondary risk and the citizen the best opportunity to escape the conflict. This type of situational training is imperative.

    I only recently started reading your blog. You are spot on with your comments. I was fortunate enough to have been a part of a very physical traditional school where protective equipment was almost non-existent. That together with wrestling gave me a good foundation that has continued to develop with my lifelong training that benefits from the real world views I along with other professionals have been privileged to have along with knowledge shared by many talented professionals like yourself.

    Keep it up.

    • Hi Mick,

      Thanks for the feedback and your kind words. It’s great to hear from your perspective as bot ha martial artist but more importantly, a life spent in law enforcement.

      That myth of all those fights going to the ground is probably going to be the hardest thing to kill. Because people see it in MMA matches so it must be real in the street too?! Then I shake my head, try to explain and get a typical response like “Brock Lesnar would kick your tai chi master’s ass in the street!!!!” Which is when I give up and walk away. :-)

      I was fortunate that in the Chinese arts I started in, there is virtually no ground fighting. It was instilled in me that you never wanted to go to the floor. If you did, your only goals was to get back up. to this day, that’s my focus. Arts focused on ground work are great, I love what they do. But on the street, I’d rather do something else. Like running fiercely. :-)

  5. Brother Wim
    I am not a martial artist so I really cant comment on that aspect. But I watched a guy try to shoot in and take an old cowboy to the ground. Old man reached down and ripped the kids cheek off his face.So I would agree with all of yall. I really have to agree with Pancho if you dont train to take a hit whats gonna happen if you do get popped. Its a whole new world when that happens

  6. Brother Wim
    I am not a martial artist so I really cant comment on that aspect. But I watched a guy try to shoot in and take an old cowboy to the ground. Old man reached down and ripped the kids cheek off his face.So I would agree with all of yall. I really have to agree with Pancho if you dont train to take a hit whats gonna happen if you do get popped. Its a whole new world when that happens

  7. Danny Young says:

    I am going to go in a totally different direction here. I don’t think there is anything “wrong” with any Martial Art as long as you clearly understand what you are getting into or buying. But, so many don’t have the knowledge or understanding of this, and I think that is the real problem.

    Lack of Knowledge.

    Even Martial Artists don’t seem to understand what is Sport, or what is Real Combat. How are we to expect the unknowing public to understand any of this, when we who are in it can’t agree on this? Martial Arts are good, but all things are not the same.
    Danny

  8. Danny Young says:

    I am going to go in a totally different direction here. I don’t think there is anything “wrong” with any Martial Art as long as you clearly understand what you are getting into or buying. But, so many don’t have the knowledge or understanding of this, and I think that is the real problem.

    Lack of Knowledge.

    Even Martial Artists don’t seem to understand what is Sport, or what is Real Combat. How are we to expect the unknowing public to understand any of this, when we who are in it can’t agree on this? Martial Arts are good, but all things are not the same.
    Danny

  9. Sorry but this argument from the TMA crowd is bullshit – the “but his buddies will…” – If pulling out an “unfair fight” is all you’ve got then I’ll say TMA is a waste of time because most criminals carry guns! There, all that MA training is a waste of time because they’ll just shoot you..

    Oh what is that you say? Maybe not all fights are against an opponent armed with a gun? Well not all fights are against multiple opponents, and if you are going to refuse to learn a set of techniques simply because SOMETIMES they don’t work, then throw away everything in YOUR favoured style too, because NOTHING works ALL the time.

    By the way, the best way to learn how not to go to the ground, is to learn how to take it to the ground!

    The truth is MMA *is* traditional martial arts. Several of them, and all of them. Anyone who says sticking to ONE MA is smarter than learning as many MA’s as possible, including ground fighting, is an idiot because there will always be someone better than you at it, and at that point you better have a backup, or you will be in deep shit.

    PS that myth, is NOT a myth:

    “6. The report concluded: “Nearly two thirds of the 1988 altercations (62%) ended with the officer and subject on the ground with the officer applying a joint lock and handcuffing the subject.” Given this, it is better put that the LAPD data says when officers physically fought with suspects (versus simply encountering minor resistance or non-compliance which required a minor use of force, but did not escalate into an altercation), 95% of the time those fights took one of five patterns, and 62% of those five types of altercations ended up with the officer and subject on the ground with the officer locking and handcuffing the suspect.”

    http://ejmas.com/jnc/2007jnc/jncart_Leblanc_0701.html

    The 95% number is a misquote, the actual statistic is 62% of 95%, or just over 68% of the altercations studied ended up with both the officer and the suspect on the ground grappling.

    So you guys carry on training to win 32% of fights, while the rest of us train to win the other 68%!

    The problem you TMA types seem to have is thinking that an MMA guy ONLY goes to the ground. That is your fatal flaw! A well trained MMA fighter will fight on his feet, on the ground, even hanging from the ceiling if he has to – the point is to be highly skilled EVERYWHERE. Just saying “being on the ground is bad, so I won’t ever do it” is pure insanity. Sooner or later you will end up there, and if you are not trained and your opponent is, then you will lose… badly.

    • Karmakaze:
      First, mind your tone. This is my house and if you can’t be civil, you can leave. Coming here and calling everybody an idiot qualifies as rude.

      Second, if you’re man enough to call somebody names, be man enough to use your own. Nobody likes a keyboard warrior who hides behind the anonymity of the Internet.

      Third, have you even read the two articles?

      “If pulling out an “unfair fight” is all you’ve got then I’ll say TMA is a waste of time because most criminals carry guns! ”
      Read the articles.

      “because NOTHING works ALL the time. ”
      Never disputed that and besides the point.

      ” By the way, the best way to learn how not to go to the ground, is to learn how to take it to the ground!”
      Not only no but hell no. The best way to learn how not to go to the ground is to practice defense against attempts to take you there. MMA doesn’t have a monopoly on takedown techniques or defenses against them.

      “The truth is MMA *is* traditional martial arts. Several of them, and all of them. ”
      Not even close. MMA is slowly becoming a TMA in and of it’s own right but it has tossed out the baby with the bathwater. Taking techniques form different styles, mixing them up and saying they’re a TMA is completely off the mark. 20 years of study in a TMA is nothing. You’ve only barely scratched the surface then. So how could you go around cherry picking techniques, taking them out of their context and then believe they’ll work as advertised? Naive at best.

      ” So you guys carry on training to win 32% of fights, while the rest of us train to win the other 68%!”
      Statistics are always fun and you can use them to further your agenda. That still doesn’t mean your statistic has any relevance to the discussion at hand. Here’s the part you’re missing: Standard arresting/handcuffing procedure for LEOs is to put a resisting suspect on the ground. Sure, there are other ways to cuff a perp but in the vast majority of cases, it’s easier to do so from the ground. Ask any LEO if he’d rather arrest a resisting suspect on his feet or first pin him down. Given that, it’s easy to have a large discrepancy in the numbers.
      Also, I’d love to see the raw data of the study to find out another missing bit of info: LEOs most often work in pairs. In how many of all the cases in this study did the arresting officer take it to the ground with a partner to help him there?
      I can statistically prove that 100% of all people who end up drowning in the sea end up wet. And I can erroneously conclude from there that all you need to survive from drowning is train by standing under the shower because you also get wet that way. Statistics don’t prove anything…

      ” The problem you TMA types seem to have is thinking that an MMA guy ONLY goes to the ground. That is your fatal flaw! ”
      Us “TMA types” don’t think that at all. That’s your assumption and you know what they say about those…

      “Just saying “being on the ground is bad, so I won’t ever do it” is pure insanity. Sooner or later you will end up there, and if you are not trained and your opponent is, then you will lose… badly. ”
      The insanity is not realizing that MMA is not the only way to handle a fight that goes to the ground. MMA and TMA have different goals and methods. Apples and oranges.

      As a final point: in every fight I was in, I never encountered a situation in which going to the ground was a better solution than staying on my feet. In every fight where it went to the ground, I never saw a situation in which getting up wasn’t the best solution. Every single bouncer, LEO or soldier I talked to, people from all over the world who put their lives at stake on a daily basis, has agreed with that.

      A word of caution: This is my place, my rules. Be polite, state your case with arguments and do so without making assumptions or name calling. Do that and you’re more than welcome to join the discussions here. Keep up this line of response and you’ll get banned.

  10. Sorry but this argument from the TMA crowd is bullshit – the “but his buddies will…” – If pulling out an “unfair fight” is all you’ve got then I’ll say TMA is a waste of time because most criminals carry guns! There, all that MA training is a waste of time because they’ll just shoot you..

    Oh what is that you say? Maybe not all fights are against an opponent armed with a gun? Well not all fights are against multiple opponents, and if you are going to refuse to learn a set of techniques simply because SOMETIMES they don’t work, then throw away everything in YOUR favoured style too, because NOTHING works ALL the time.

    By the way, the best way to learn how not to go to the ground, is to learn how to take it to the ground!

    The truth is MMA *is* traditional martial arts. Several of them, and all of them. Anyone who says sticking to ONE MA is smarter than learning as many MA’s as possible, including ground fighting, is an idiot because there will always be someone better than you at it, and at that point you better have a backup, or you will be in deep shit.

    PS that myth, is NOT a myth:

    “6. The report concluded: “Nearly two thirds of the 1988 altercations (62%) ended with the officer and subject on the ground with the officer applying a joint lock and handcuffing the subject.” Given this, it is better put that the LAPD data says when officers physically fought with suspects (versus simply encountering minor resistance or non-compliance which required a minor use of force, but did not escalate into an altercation), 95% of the time those fights took one of five patterns, and 62% of those five types of altercations ended up with the officer and subject on the ground with the officer locking and handcuffing the suspect.”

    http://ejmas.com/jnc/2007jnc/jncart_Leblanc_0701.html

    The 95% number is a misquote, the actual statistic is 62% of 95%, or just over 68% of the altercations studied ended up with both the officer and the suspect on the ground grappling.

    So you guys carry on training to win 32% of fights, while the rest of us train to win the other 68%!

    The problem you TMA types seem to have is thinking that an MMA guy ONLY goes to the ground. That is your fatal flaw! A well trained MMA fighter will fight on his feet, on the ground, even hanging from the ceiling if he has to – the point is to be highly skilled EVERYWHERE. Just saying “being on the ground is bad, so I won’t ever do it” is pure insanity. Sooner or later you will end up there, and if you are not trained and your opponent is, then you will lose… badly.

    • Karmakaze:
      First, mind your tone. This is my house and if you can’t be civil, you can leave. Coming here and calling everybody an idiot qualifies as rude.

      Second, if you’re man enough to call somebody names, be man enough to use your own. Nobody likes a keyboard warrior who hides behind the anonymity of the Internet.

      Third, have you even read the two articles?

      “If pulling out an “unfair fight” is all you’ve got then I’ll say TMA is a waste of time because most criminals carry guns! ”
      Read the articles.

      “because NOTHING works ALL the time. ”
      Never disputed that and besides the point.

      ” By the way, the best way to learn how not to go to the ground, is to learn how to take it to the ground!”
      Not only no but hell no. The best way to learn how not to go to the ground is to practice defense against attempts to take you there. MMA doesn’t have a monopoly on takedown techniques or defenses against them.

      “The truth is MMA *is* traditional martial arts. Several of them, and all of them. ”
      Not even close. MMA is slowly becoming a TMA in and of it’s own right but it has tossed out the baby with the bathwater. Taking techniques form different styles, mixing them up and saying they’re a TMA is completely off the mark. 20 years of study in a TMA is nothing. You’ve only barely scratched the surface then. So how could you go around cherry picking techniques, taking them out of their context and then believe they’ll work as advertised? Naive at best.

      ” So you guys carry on training to win 32% of fights, while the rest of us train to win the other 68%!”
      Statistics are always fun and you can use them to further your agenda. That still doesn’t mean your statistic has any relevance to the discussion at hand. Here’s the part you’re missing: Standard arresting/handcuffing procedure for LEOs is to put a resisting suspect on the ground. Sure, there are other ways to cuff a perp but in the vast majority of cases, it’s easier to do so from the ground. Ask any LEO if he’d rather arrest a resisting suspect on his feet or first pin him down. Given that, it’s easy to have a large discrepancy in the numbers.
      Also, I’d love to see the raw data of the study to find out another missing bit of info: LEOs most often work in pairs. In how many of all the cases in this study did the arresting officer take it to the ground with a partner to help him there?
      I can statistically prove that 100% of all people who end up drowning in the sea end up wet. And I can erroneously conclude from there that all you need to survive from drowning is train by standing under the shower because you also get wet that way. Statistics don’t prove anything…

      ” The problem you TMA types seem to have is thinking that an MMA guy ONLY goes to the ground. That is your fatal flaw! ”
      Us “TMA types” don’t think that at all. That’s your assumption and you know what they say about those…

      “Just saying “being on the ground is bad, so I won’t ever do it” is pure insanity. Sooner or later you will end up there, and if you are not trained and your opponent is, then you will lose… badly. ”
      The insanity is not realizing that MMA is not the only way to handle a fight that goes to the ground. MMA and TMA have different goals and methods. Apples and oranges.

      As a final point: in every fight I was in, I never encountered a situation in which going to the ground was a better solution than staying on my feet. In every fight where it went to the ground, I never saw a situation in which getting up wasn’t the best solution. Every single bouncer, LEO or soldier I talked to, people from all over the world who put their lives at stake on a daily basis, has agreed with that.

      A word of caution: This is my place, my rules. Be polite, state your case with arguments and do so without making assumptions or name calling. Do that and you’re more than welcome to join the discussions here. Keep up this line of response and you’ll get banned.

  11. Hello, I have recently stumbled upon your article doing research for a paper. I agree with several points listed in your 2 articles but I must contend with a few.
    My background in Martial arts are as follows:
    1yr American Karate(too young to really count as experience)
    1yr Muay Thai(competed in Ohio at the bando tourneys)
    2yr Boxing(trained with Max Alexander cruiserweight, before his fight with Roy Jones jr.)
    1yr Bjj
    I do not disagree with the teachings of all traditional martial arts, I just feel that they do not handle their areas as well as other traditional martial arts. That is where I feel MMA has given a chance for certain traditional martial arts to prove themselves against other traditional martial arts.Sort of like an open tournament(which they still hold, like Vale Tudo and Underground fighting). I know that context is key and that the introduction of rules changes what martial arts will be most effective. But it seems to be deeper than that. I do not believe that all martial arts are created equal. some martial arts are just more effective in more cases than others are. MMA has given each martial art a chance to rise to the top, especially in older days like with pankration, even in pankration they had dominant Martial arts with little rules. The dominant Martial Arts today in MMA are (BJJ, greco/freestyle wrestling, Boxing, Muay thai,judo, Karate.) these are usually present in every top mma practitioners arts. Why not a mix of wingchun, jujitsu and ninjitsu or Kung fu? these other TMA’s were able to survive without the use of illegal moves. Adding illegal moves into these arts would surely be more beneficial than just learning one martial art for several years. I am probably rambling here with no coherent point. I just feel that the martial arts in MMA(listed above) do a better job than a single martial art. So this isn’t really an argument, just would like to get your thoughts.

    • Rich,

      <<
      That is where I feel MMA has given a chance for certain traditional martial arts to prove themselves against other traditional martial arts.
      <<

      Example: Arnis (and several other arts) start with the assumption that you will have a weapon in hand. In many of the Arnis styles, you start with knife or stick in hand and only later learn empty hand techniques. It is primarily a weapons art and there is a very specific context why this is so. To have Arnis in the Octagon so it can “prove itself against other traditional martial arts” would mean giving the practitioners a weapon in hand. Because that is when their art is at its best. If you put them in the ring with rules and “fouls” without a weapon, so much of their art becomes useless. So there is absolutely no way they can prove why they do what they do in the Octagon under the rules and limitations that the UFC offers.
      Just FYI, the Dog Brothers actually got an invitation for the first UFCs and said they were willing to come play if they could bring their weapons. The UFC turned them down…

      <<
      I know that context is key and that the introduction of rules changes what martial arts will be most effective. But it seems to be deeper than that.
      <<

      I don’t think it is. I think it’s just like that: context is what drives it all.

      <<
      MMA has given each martial art a chance to rise to the top, especially in older days like with pankration, even in pankration they had dominant Martial arts with little rules.
      <<

      There is no top IMO. The bets hammer in the world is not better or worse than the best screwdriver in the world. Both are carpenter tools. Both are valuable. Not in the same context though…

      <<
      Why not a mix of wingchun, jujitsu and ninjitsu or Kung fu?
      <<

      Because a ninja is a spy or hitman. Spies don’t want to be seen or even worse, caught. Hitmen don’t fight fair or with rules. Just the very concept of fairness is a contradiction in terms for them. If they end up punching it out or grappling on the floor for an armbar, they’ve messed up beyond any hope of repair. What they’ll do is get the job done: attack you from behind when you least expect it, poison you, shoot you from a distance, etc. There is virtually nothing you see in MMA that they can use. There is also virtually nothing form their skill set that is allowed in the Octagon. That is why.
      Apply the same logic to the other arts and you’ll see the same thing happening.

      <<
      So this isn’t really an argument, just would like to get your thoughts.
      <<

      I’ve written ad nauseam about this issue here on my blog. If you do a search in the archives, you’ll find tons of posts.