With the modernisation of martial arts, there has been an explosion of hybrid style competitions that are now far more popular than boxing or any other combat sports.  Competitions such as UFC and Pride in Japan, have taken blood sports to the next level. They call these kind of competitions “Mixed Martial Arts.”

Watch the attached video and share your comments.

Is this martial arts?

Is it good for martial arts?

Is it good for society?

Why is it so popular?

And any thing else you may like to comment on.


[youtube 084zBG7_6hA]


  1. Andrew Blanch on March 16, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    I think it is Martial Arts, perhaps overtly focused on the physical.

    When I look past the disturbing violence I see two opponents pushing each other to their limits. They choose to challenge their selves and face the risks of permanent damage to their bodies. I imagine they connect to their spirit at a deep level.

    Can anything that gets people excited and inspired about Martial Arts be all bad?

    I wonder if it is blood lust that captures most of the crowd, or if it is more about the inspiring contesting of spirit between the two combatants. Their ability to face danger head on and not surrender to fear. There is also the skill and the endurance which deep down I think everyone knows takes great effort and practice and faith to realize in one’s self.

    I wonder if it is so popular because of the blood lust and or because of the inspiring spirit. I suppose we are all on different stages in our individual journeys. Some of the crowd are Martial Artists like us at Northstar, appreciating the skill and endurance and strength of spirit, whilst others perhaps only experience the blood lust.

    I imagine that everyone who is engaged by MMA as a spectator can’t help but grow to recognize the Martial “Arts” in it.

    Perhaps the governing body/s of MMA could look to promote the Martial Arts aspect more.

  2. Ben O on March 16, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Is this martial arts?

    Broadly yes, I consider MMA / UFC / Pride etc to be martial arts as a high degree of training, skill and fitness is required. However the quality of each match can vary from brawling to demonstration of technique. The same can be seen in boxing and muay thai fights. The quality and the exhibition of skill varies from fight to fight.

    Is it good for martial arts?

    MMA is good for martial arts as broadening your skill base and covering more ranges of movement and techniques means more holistic and effective approach to self defence.

    UFC / Pride – maybe not so good as essentially these are sports entertainment fights. I wonder whether martial arts benefits from being associated with modern day gladitorial contests. Then again, I have always loved boxing, but more so when skill and technique is exhibited.

    Is it good for society?

    I am a bit unsure. I think in its present form it probably is not good for society. The fights are designed to be entertainment and are very voyueristic – the steriod muscles, the girls with fake breasts and skimpy clothes, the loud music, the blood and the hype. The trash talk and the gangsta posing. It annoys me.

    Contrast that with the symbols of respect preceding a amateur boxing match, muay thai and Asian based martial arts.

    I think it leads some people into thinking that violence is a primary solution to a problem. I worry that people will think they can master technique without first mastering their ego and their impulse to lash out. In the past effective martial arts systems were constrained by social systems or specialised groups. These ‘controls’ are lessening over time.

    Why is it so popular?

    It is entertainment and there is a gladitorial instinct in humans. Particularly in young men.

  3. Richard Holdstock on March 16, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Is this martial arts?: NO ~ but great for Mugs & Thugs.

    Is it good for martial arts? ~ NO ~ there is no speed nor technique.

    Is it good for society? NO ~ just encourages youth to copy on street

    Why is it so popular? ~ Society for better or worse needs new fads & phases ~ most activities either branch or morph into different directions ~ some even revert back in time like Pilates and Kettleball ~ just a matter of time before the new fad will be Chistians Vs. Lions.
    Richard Holdstock
    Goju Ryu Bushido Karate Academy
    Blacktown City

  4. Catherine on March 16, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Is this martial arts?

    Hmm – I suppose it is one utilization of a number of fighting techniques which are generally acquired from learning a variety of martial arts disciplines

    Is it good for martial arts?

    In my view, probably not. If the aim is to increase volume of business (ie more students in martial arts) from a section of the population who want to be able to “street fight” – a dubious ambition in my mind which should be differentiated from having self defence capability – then I guess you could say it IS good for martial arts. On the other hand, does it contribute to the notion that martial arts is about self mastery, choosing to fight only when the “needs of the situation” dictate? Nope, hard to see how this contributes.

    It doesn’t explicate the process of learning a martial art. A perceived truth, from my point of view, is that, in training, a more junior belt is far less likely to be injured by a more senior belt or experienced martial artist, than they are by someone of their own skill level. So, with practice comes skill and some wisdom about application? There is here, too, some notion of respect for the path of others. How can all of these concepts be communicated to the wider public through something like a UFC when all they see is thumping flesh and blood? It all feels a little conflicting, too, because testing yourself is part of the path, too, for many people – I’m just not sure that these fights represent that or show that?

    Is it good for society? Why is it so popular?

    Very doubtful that it is good for society. It’s curious how this UFC etc has taken the viewing public by storm – but largely a demographic of 15 – 30 year old males who probably already have enough anguished testosterone running around their systems. It concerns me that some of the applied techniques are ones which, if somehow used by people who have no idea the impact, could very easily maim or kill others.

    It seems to increase the “nett violence factor” in society. I suppose a counter argument is that it contributes a gladiatorial arena where the viewer can voyeuristically participate instead of actually participate.

    A very difficult issue…

  5. Karl R on March 17, 2010 at 1:03 am

    I really find myself with mixed emotions regarding MMA, & especially the UFC & all the associated hype. It is a modern-day gladiatorial competition & though I’m sure there are competitors who embody the martial arts spirit, I have a hard time seeing past the brutality. Then there is the ‘showbiz’ spectacle that doesn’t exactly lend itself to pure martial arts. Not to take anything away from the competitors as there is no doubting the skill, courage & fitness they possess, but I do think it is removed somewhat from the martial arts ethos. MMA does embody the physical martial arts skill set, but the true spirit of martial arts seems to be missing.

    As far as being good for society, I doubt that is the case, however in saying that I would not want to see it banned. You could argue it is an outlet for young mens’ testosterone or you could see it as or validating or even encouraging thuggish behaviour. When you consider MMA’s core audience, I suspect the latter.

  6. Corinne Dosoruth on March 17, 2010 at 1:05 am

    I love watching boxing, MMA, UFC etc and I do tend to get carried away when I watch. It’s all part of the excitement but having said that. Obviously this video is not good for society and the violence for me personally is not Martial Arts at all – Violence=Ego.

    Although the technique in there is undeniably awesome and fantastic to watch, we are sending the wrong message to young people out there. Kimbo Slice wins by making his opponent bleed. This is not what North Star has taught me.

    Why is it popular – simply because human nature gets carried away and loves watching people bashing each other. We all have madness lingering borderline in our brain and anything can make us tip to the other side. Every human being on this earth is capable of killing anyone and get violent if there wasn’t rules in society that prevent us from giving way to our violent urges. That’s why we learn how and where to draw the line. It is popular because somebody else is doing what we all want to do and the competition is legal which of course draws the crowd.

    Who will miss a chance on seeing somebody else doing what we all want to do?

    What I wonder about is people who were spectators in this fight will find it fantastic as spectators but will they still find it fantastic if it was their son, spouse, family member who was in that ring and bleed in front of their eyes. It is not a very good example of winning because of amazing technique it is more like “I’ve had enough of this, I am going to hit him as hard as I can and it will all be over and I want to be the winner”. Remember Hilary Swank in “Million Dollar Baby”, the opponent didn’t want to loose cause of an ego and hit the hardest she could and someone life’s changes in a spilt second.

    Andy you were a fighter, did you ever have to make someone bleed to win? Or did you win because of your awesome technique and experience?

    Bottom line is Kimbo Slice got angry at one point in the fight and this is not Martial Arts. We have responsibility towards society and are accountable for everything we do, so when we fight, it has to stay an art, good technique, amazing experience, respect for the opponent.

    Educating the little Mighty Mites that Martial Arts changes your life but does not necessarily means violent.

  7. Rick on March 17, 2010 at 3:31 am

    Is this martial arts? It’s “martial” , but not “arts”, if you define the arts as the refinement of a skill through practice.

    Is it good for martial arts? I think not. As soon as I mention that I do a martial art, inevitably the person asks me, “Why don’t you do MMA?” I reply, “Do you know what is involved, and would you be prepared to do that”? and they quickly have a re-think.

    This is why I don’t think it is good for society. In the martial arts, it is the journey that matters. An individual goes through a process of self – discovery. Inevitably the martial arts change a person. They teach him/her when NOT to fight. MMA short-circuits this process and goes to the bloody conclusion.

    Martial arts is rooted in a strict discipline, much like chivalry of old or the ancient Japanese code of Bushido. The Samurai, for example were bound by this code. MMA is bound by no such code.

    Why is it so popular? It is popular because of the rise in commercialism and corruption of the classical sport, boxing. In the last Oscar de la Hoya fight, for example, the winner received $30m, the loser $17m. So the fight consisted of two millionaires skipping around pretending to fight each other. The Contender Australia series was outrageously rigged to favour a fighter that would lose to Mundine. The fight public are sick of fight-rigging, and want real contests. I also agree with others here who said that there is a gladiatorial instinct in us and this satisfies that instinct.

  8. rbl on March 17, 2010 at 3:46 am

    It’s a fight between two brawlers under unified mixed martial arts rules. It hardly reflects on the sport as a whole, and it’s disingenuous to use it as the only example. Is Lyoto Machida not a martial artist? He practises traditional karate as taught to him by his father, and he’s the UFC light heavyweight champion. Surely that is a more relevant example than two novelty fighters like Kimbo and James Thompson.

    If you think that MMA is ugly at times I would agree, but that is the nature of a fight. I believe it is good for martial arts because it provides an arena for fighters to test their skills in a realistic and verifiable way against an opponent of a similar level. If it can get kids to train in a martial art or combat sport instead of watching TV or getting high then yes, it is a good thing for society as well. Muay Thai and boxing are just as violent as MMA if not more so, both have been around for hundreds of years (longer than most “traditional” styles) and yet society has not collapsed.

    At the end of the day if two rational adults want to fight each other in a sanctioned contest with a doctor and referee present, is it really anyone’s business but their own?

  9. andy on March 17, 2010 at 3:51 am

    Excellent post, Machida is a fine example as well as other top Karate exponents such as Georges St Pierre that are making their presence felt in UFC. It great to see so many great comments.



  10. Aileen on March 17, 2010 at 7:08 am

    First off, it’s my first time logging on to your website and haven’t gone through it but I think I’ll be visiting more often.

    On to the topic – By deffinition it is martial arts. It is warfare, trained or untrained. It all comes down to what viewers’ inclinations are. Personally I find it no different to aminal cage fights and it highlights the hypocricy of society. It’s popular for the same reason realiy TV, boxing, sports, the races et al. are popular – vouyerism and the adrenalin rush spectators get without having to do the deed themselves, specially when their bet wins.

    Is it good for martial arts? Well, we’ll have to go all the way back to strict schools of martial arts (in ancient Japan, China or wherever else) and those trained in the streets. Is it elitist to say it isn’t (good for martial arts) because the forms are shoddy and is it too pedestrian to say “well, anybody can do it no matter how they want it!”. Both sides have been around since the begining of martial arts and will still continue to be.

    The main difference lies in the dicipline of mind and body and the respect a martial artist shows to himself/herself and to the poeple around them. That, I believe, is the true mark of a martial artist.

  11. andy on March 17, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Hi Aileen,

    Thanks for the great contribution, you made some really good points.
    Hope to hear from you again.


  12. Ian P on March 17, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Martial Arts?

    Doesn’t it depend on the mindset of the participants?
    Did you see the winner kiss the loser? c. 6:28 I think.
    That’s real maganimity, the best winner I’ve ever seen and he had very obviously put absolutely everything he had into the event. Passion.

    So passion, magnanimity and respect for an opponent. What’s not martial arts about that? Other fights I have not seen.

    Why popular?
    On the same thought of what’s going through peoples heads, we’re just guessing. No doubt some are there to examine technique and attitude to learn. No doubt some are there for a gladiatorial conquest.

    Somebody mentioned societal hypocrisy. Well, one solution would be to bring on the tridents and swords in a different arena – just watch the MMA audience dwindle. The remains would be those who are there for more noble reasons, assuming it’s ignoble to want to watch people go hell for leather to the very end.

    Or you combine gladiatorialism with another bastion of hypocrisy – footy – and start an event called Bastard Ball. No rules, no holds barred, ambulances on hand, just get the ball over the line, with the opportunity for audience members to put their hands up for next week’s event. Wouldn’t it be useful to have a process to weed out a few of those sorts?

  13. andrew m on March 18, 2010 at 4:01 am

    I think it’s difined correctly as mix martial arts and there are many well trained martial artists participating in the UFC.
    And many martial artists that would secretly love to give it go.
    People see obtaining a black belt in a particular martial arts as a good ground to build a mma carear, This can be a good thing as more people decide to train and maybe in time the spirt of martial arts effects them in a deep and positive way.If there are more of these type of fighters the views may see a great display of human endurence.
    In perspective gladiators fought to the death and they were’nt willing participants.For the UFC to be the same we would have to kidnap somebody and let then loose in the cage and have the fighters rip him apart till he died. i dont think your average pay per view subscriber would watch that. I would’nt would you.
    Andrew m

  14. Mathieu D on March 19, 2010 at 1:58 am

    “Martial Arts” simply cannot be represented into a video, whatever the content.

    UFC and similar leagues present a fighting sport. It’s a sport. Get it?

    Completely granted that many if not most fighters come from a Martial Arts background. That’s because many such arts teach great fighting skills.

    But if you’re talking about martial arts and only focusing on the fighting part, you are simply missing out.

    I won’t say that UFC is martial arts; however I WON’T say either that UFC fighters are not martial artists; many definitely ARE.

    Oh: I enjoy UFC 🙂


  15. Kai on March 24, 2010 at 8:50 am

    I have no problem with people pushing themselves to the limit, but I believe there are more productive ways to do it.

    Regretfully, I must admit that I sought to earn my stripes in a similar way in my teens, by street fighting. Both the rewards and motivations are extremely similar to what is offered by the UFC. The ‘rush’, the recognition and the glory… Fighters in the UFC are primarily motivated by money, fame and recognition. Thus, it has an ego driven rewards system, and any ‘enlightened’ instructor knows how this can build monsters.

    In my opinion, the UFC generally appeals to Heroes, those who want to be heroes, and those who want to see blood. Violence has always been incredibly marketable and brutality is blatantly encouraged by the organizers of events such as this. While I agree that the competitors may grow in unseen ways, many people lacking emotional maturity do not see this. Younger people in particular, may be encouraged to try to replicate the ‘moves’ in an attempt to capture their own piece of glory and recognition. Unfortunately, those of us who are well versed in street violence know just how dangerous this can be for the public AND the would-be hero.

    In conclusion, I do not believe that this type of contest promotes the finer aspects of martial training, nor the biggest rewards on offer. It only offers money, glory and blood, and generally appeals to to those that aspire to one or all of these. This type of event will always lure a certain type of participant and audience, and encourage a certain type of viewer.

  16. selma on May 13, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Seems we are pushing the bar further as to what is acceptable viewing. I wander if we’ll ever go back to the gladiator style fight to the death scenario with lions and stuff they had in Rome. NOW THAT WOULD BE MARTIAL ARTS!!! Oh wait I thought we outgrew that…

    I sometimes wonder if it is courage that’s driving them or sheer stupidity. A courageous man would want to life for as long as possible as healthy as possible to experience as much as possible in life, use martial arts to help him achieve this rather than fight another man for money. MMA doesn’t teach that “life” aspect of martial arts obviously…

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