Beyond the Self-defence OR What Aikido & Japanese Jiu Jitsu can offer MMA?
For as long as martial arts existed, the debate over what form of arts is better has also existed. In ancient Persia wrestling schools used to send out their champions to challenge other schools’ techniques and styles. In Japan and China where majority of the modern martial arts has originated it has been the same. In all these, once the victory was achieved by the champion the fame always created a demand for attaining the new skills and style from that particular combat art. Nothing has changed, in fact, since then. Nowadays MMA has been the popular face of the dojos with UFC fights being so popular especially among the younger generations. Most martial art clubs offer some form of mixed martial arts in their curriculum trying to keep up with the market.
Is this a bad thing or good? To me mixed martial arts is not a dirty word. In fact every martial art today is by nature a mixed martial art. That is from their ancient forms to their modern forms they have incorporated knowledge and techniques from other arts and evolved into their current form as we see them today.
However, for the sake of classification we can explain some of the subtle differences among martial arts. The mixed martial arts practised today are a sporting event, just like Olympic Judo or Wrestling. In these form of martial arts, two opponents try to best each other using their skills and eventually win either by point or by submission (including knock out). Though mixed martial arts competitions abide by certain rules athletes are not limited in type and number of skills used or martial arts styles. In Judo, Wrestling, Taekwondo, Brazilian Jui Jitsu, Samba and Karate; however, there are more limitation on type and number of techniques used. There are also emphasis on which part of body exerts the main blow or attack, or how and using what, the techniques are implemented.
I make a pause here and go back few steps. I want to mention that beside self-defence and street fights aspects, majority of modern martial arts were invented for battles and warfare. In sporting event your sole objective is to exhaust and eventually win your single opponent. In battle however, you need to be quick and fight with minimal exhaustion of your body energy and fight multi attackers. This is where some martial arts fit in, these include Aikido and traditional Japanese Jui jutsu. Both of these arts were invented for disarming the enemy with minimal usage of power and movements. Aikido further uses more circular movements that are based on movement of samurai sword, even if the technique is done by hand, hand will play the sword.
In Aikido and Japanese jujutsu even break falls and rolls are done in a way to minimise the impact on your body and to get up and fight again. This means that you roll or fall in a certain way to get up again. This is unlike MMA fights that break falls are quite rough and could in many cases be flat on the back. Further, in these traditional arts, because minimal movement is required and energy of your techniques comes from your central line and momentum from the opponent, impact can be more effective, that is if performed correctly. However, mastery of these takes a bit longer time than other martial arts that rely on sparing or grabbing. Having said these Aikido and Japanese jujutsu have also seen a dramatic evolution, many techniques from Judo and even sparing arts like Karate where incorporated and modified in these arts, which makes them not so traditional any more.
So what can these arts offers?
1. Proper positioning of the body
2. Using minimal energy to throw, pin or submit your opponent.
3. Proper and safe break falls and throws.
4. Wider vision in the fight, remember these arts are designed for multi attackers.
5. The most important of all contributions is the relaxation of the muscles, proper usage of your central line.
Therefore, every MMA practitioner can incorporate these into his/her fighting routines. These are the essence of fighting and everything else will fit in later.
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