In the 80′s it was the era of the Ninja, thanks to the movies. That phase passed.

It n the 90′s, it was the era of Aikido, thanks to Steven Seagal and again, those movies. That phase passed.

Now it is the era of Mixed Martial Arts, thanks mainly to the UFC. This phase continues to grow.

For those involved in UFC and competitive fight organizations, mixed martial arts are a requirement. No one can survive, yet alone win with just a stand up game or a ground game. It is the individual such as Georges St. Pierre, who has the complete package, who walks around as the champion. Mixed martial arts are a perfect fit for such competitions.

But for the rest of us who do not regularly partake in the “joy” of an elbow-to-the-chin on a I pose the question, “Is MMA really good for martial arts as a whole?”

Though each martial artist must answer this question for him/herself, my reply would be a resounding No.

Part of learning an art is the “-do” aspect of it (ex/ Kendo, judo.) Do in Japanese is the same as Tao in Chinese, which of course, translates as “the way.” When treating the art with the proper respect, one recognizes that the way is not just about learning a technique; rather, it is about the whole picture. Taken out of context, a kata is rare understood to the degree that the masters’ intended.

This reminds me of my prior profession, that being an Acupuncture Physician. I spent 4 years learning this healing form. Chiropractors and MDs spent a weekend. One weekend. It is not about learning to put a needle into a patient. It is not a modality but rather, a complete healing system. Taken in pieces, it becomes reduces to a trivial method akin to taking aspirin when a person gets a headache. Yes, it may work but did you really get to the root of the problem and correct it? Did you address the individual as a person or just go after masking the problem?

I noticed this last weekend at our big Systema (Russian Martial Art) seminar in Tampa. Aikidoka for example, would try to take a “technique” from Systema and apply it to their Aikido. The end result was a simultaneous destruction of 2 beautiful arts. (As a side note, Systema has no techniques.)

I think taking bits and pieces from other arts and trying to weave them (or jam them) into your current art misses the whole point. Archery is not Kyudo. Learning to throw a front kick is not “knowing” karate.

We Americans have much to offer the world of martial arts. One of the big adjustments we all could make is adding a little patience into the mix. Take the time to learn an art, learn a -do, not just a method or a trick. By maintaining its purity, we offer the true respect that the arts deserve.

Author's Bio: 

David Orman is the Chief Instructor and Founder of Central Florida Systema school in Winter Garden, FL.