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Is mixed martial arts effective against every other martial art form? Can it be used in real life?

Updated: Mar 26

Let’s consider the first question first: Is MMA effective against every other martial art form? We will approach this one from a sports perspective, as it is within sporting situations that MMA has been pitted against other arts. From these sporting events, no discernible pattern has emerged. There are matches in which MMA has choked, pinned, or knocked out other arts, and there have been matches in which more conventional martial sports have defeated the newer sport of MMA. Sport must be taken for what it is. The safety rules of martial sport always shape outcomes in matches. A karate man would likely not fair very well in a judo contest where striking is forbidden. Similarly, a jujutsuka is not likely do well in a point fight with a taekwondo practitioner where use of the hands is illegal. The sport of MMA has coalesced to be a highly specific pursuit with its own rules and players. In the future the MMAers will more and more keep to their own contests just as judoka will keep to theirs. To close, a talented MMA practitioner can defeat a poor karateka just as a talented judoka could defeat a marginal MMAer. It is more about the dedication of the sportsman than the specific techniques used.

The second question asks if MMA can be used in a real life situation. Certainly there are specific parts of the overall MMA concept that can be applied on the street. However, if a person is specifically interested in realistic self defense, I do not believe that MMA is the method to study. MMA is a sport. Granted, it is a rather brutal one, and its techniques are pulled from other martial arts; nevertheless, it has developed in a sporting context governed by rules and specific, limited combat notions.

For example, one of the primary aspects of MMA theory is the notion of grounding an opponent. The idea of taking an assailant to the ground on the street and grappling around looking for an arm bar or entanglement is simply insane. On the street the goals are safety and escape: do what level of defense is necessary to protect yourself and your loved ones, then escape. Again, this is entirely unlike the sporty, gladiatorial mindset of MMA. If you’re looking for sport, it may be one to consider; if you’re looking for self protection, seek a school that can make even the most diminutive, quiet person capable of protecting himself. That is a self defense school.

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