Bruce Lee Got It Wrong….

“The best fighter is someone who can adapt to any style, to be formless, to adopt an individual’s own style and not following the system of styles.”

….or maybe Dana White (of UFC infamy) got it wrong……he said (paraphrasing Bruce Lee) “the perfect style was no style. You take a little something from everything. You take the good things from every different discipline, use what works, and you throw the rest away”

I wonder if he was talking about learning to speak in English, would he advocate leaving out the words that he doesn’t like or can’t spell? There is a huge difference between “adapting” and “throwing the rest away” or “leaving out”
“Adapting” is a training strategy and a good one at that….
“Leaving out” seems to be the absence of any solid strategy and based on ignorance and lack of knowledge..

Style IS important! Style is like a “folder” of techniques…… a collection… a pre designated collection of techniques or skills intended to form a cohesive knowledge base to use as your bible or guidebook. These styles are usually created and collated by experts in their field and can represent a complete body of work of decades (or even more) of development. Practising all of the techniques that have been designated by “those who know” will give you a solid base in that given structure. Choosing from this selection, and then only practising the ones you “like” or “know” or even “choose” does not give you a superior knowledge, nor a superior skill set.

The flaw in the logic is that, sure, its OK to take this out and add this in….provided (and this is a BIG proviso) you knew the techniques in the first place. Discarding what you don’t know is a sure sign of ignorance rather then wisdom.

During the late 1960s to early 1970s, the concept of combining the elements of multiple Martial Arts was popularised in the west by Bruce Lee via his system philosophy of Jeet Kune Do. Lee believed that “the best fighter is not a Boxer, Karate or Judo man. The best fighter is someone who can adapt to any style, to be formless, to adopt an individual’s own style and not following the system of styles.” In 2004, UFC President Dana White would call Lee the “father of mixed martial arts” stating: “If you look at the way Bruce Lee trained, the way he fought, and many of the things he wrote, he said the perfect style was no style. You take a little something from everything. You take the good things from every different discipline, use what works, and you throw the rest away”

Dana White is the “culprit” that started the MMA nomenclature and applied it to his newly formed Ultimate Fighter Competition. Yes, it was a competition or a tournament for fighters…..wrestlers, boxers, kick boxers, brawlers and thugs of any description. MMA is violence. It’s a competitive sport, to be sure, but it’s a violent sport. Whether the sport should be defined by its violence is another question. Despite the fact that football and hockey involve a great deal of violence, that’s not the purpose of those sports. Scoring points, as represented through goals or tries, wins games; rendering the opposing team’s players unconscious is a sideline, not the objective. In MMA, despite the existence of judges and scoring systems, it’s impossible to make the argument that winning by knockout or submission isn’t the goal. At the end of the day, there’s just no denying that, no matter how hard we emphasise MMA as competition, MMA is just fighting, its not Martial Arts mixed with anything except ignorance!

In fact, you don’t need to know Martial Arts to do MMA and doing MMA won’t teach you Martial Arts either. It might teach you to fight, but it certainly will teach you how to hurt someone and even more likely, be hurt by someone. Getting taught to “do” MMA is like taking cooking lessons from a cannibal…..

So, is MMA a “style” or is it better characterised as the complete absence of style, guidance and expertise? It’s a bloodsport and a vicious one at that. Let’s call it what it is, fighting for the sake of ego gratification…. be it for a cash prize, a plastic trophy or the sheer gratification of beating the hell out of someone else.

MMA is defined as a Combat Sport ……therefore, it cannot be a Martial Art. Martial Arts are never Sports and Sports are never Martial Arts!

There’s got to be more of a difference between a labourer, an apprentice, a tradesman, a craftsman and an artist than just a random name. It’s more than the name unless, that is, that the next time I make a toothpick from a twig I can called it Mixed Carpentry. Perhaps in the future, after decades more of strenuous and vigorous Martial Arts practice and meditation, with the correct support and guidance from my Instructors I can now attain a state of Mixed Enlightenment.

……..anyone know where I can buy a spandex Orange Robe?

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