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Mixed Martial Arts: Myth versus Reality

Updated on November 19, 2013

Myths of Mixed Martial Arts

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is now the fastest growing sport around the world. It has become so popular that it is now the 3rd most watched sport in the US. In Europe, it has accelerating viewership and participation. The revolution in Asia has only begun. Mixed Martial Arts, the blending of techniques from different martial arts in a sport format, is a new athletic adventure with tremendous growth ahead in the years to come. Unfortunately, with its fast rising popularity, myths have arisen. This article addresses the realities behind these myths.

MYTH #1: MMA is dangerous.

When practiced correctly, MMA is as safe as any other active sport such as running, football, or squash. Professional MMA has only experienced 2 deaths in 15 years as a sport. This statistic compares very favorably against most active sports and is considered very low. By comparison, Professional Boxing experiences a few deaths a year. Additionally, with the growth of MMA as a sport, the training standards have increased and most schools now offer programs that use MMA as a fitness platform for the general population.

MYTH #2: MMA is difficult to learn.

The reality is that MMA is very easy to learn. Beginners with no prior experience in sports often excel quite quickly. While it is extremely difficult to become a successful professional MMA fighter, the recreational MMA student can learn moves very quickly and will progress quite dramatically. Additionally, MMA boosts confidence, fitness levels, and mental strength. The reason why MMA is quite easy to learn is that it is a sport based on what works in reality. At an authentic MMA gym, one does not learn 95% of moves offered by the martial arts. MMA focuses on what is essential and what is practical in real life. By definition, the simplest moves are often the ones that work in real life. Fancy, difficult, and elaborate techniques often found in Hollywood movies do not work in reality.

MYTH #3 MMA is for aggressive young men.

This myth could not be farther from the truth. Admittedly, young men (18-34 years of age) are often naturally attracted to the sport. That being said, MMA popularity has risen with women of all age brackets. As students, most women find MMA to be empowering. It is a great workout, but it also boosts confidence as self-defense skills develop. Children also benefit by having a fun sport to help teach them life skills such as work ethic, teamwork, achievement, excellence of mind and body, and much more. The reality is that MMA can be a family work out with benefits for all ages and sexes. The key is to finding a gym with the right safe and supportive environment.

MYTH #4 MMA is a passing fad.

Martial arts have been with mankind for thousands of years. MMA is just another step in the evolution of martial arts. In historic times, martial arts were used to protect cities, towns, and countries. In current times, martial arts are often used to promote fitness, mental strength, self-defense, and confidence. MMA is just a natural extension of the basic human need to protect oneself. At its core, MMA is about taking the best techniques from all martial arts and blending it into a personalized system of self-defense for competition or the street. The definition of "best" is simply the techniques that work in real life in real situations by real people.

MYTH #5 MMA is not for everyone.

Luckily, this myth gets dispelled every day with MMA's increasing popularity with men, women, and children of all ages. MMA is first and foremost a fantastic workout. It has been proven to burn over 500 calories an hour. More importantly, it is a full body workout with a strong focus on the cardiovascular system. Invariably, you will get toned, lose weight, and learn the art of self-defense. Above all, it is a fun and interactive workout, especially in a gym with a good friendly environment. On a different level, MMA is a way to improve oneself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Martial Arts has always been a platform for continuous self-improvement. Learning a new move requires physical coordination, mental processing abilities, emotional discipline, and more. Ultimately, MMA is here to stay and is a positive influence on today's society. MMA is for everyone interested in having fun, getting fit, and making new friends.

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      T-Bag 6 years ago

      I respect these athletes for having the guts to climb into the cage and do what they do, it takes real balls and there is no denying that. However after watching several of these athletes one notices how sloppy and lazy their techniques are. Dana white may be able to convince the masses that their black belts make them masters of their given styles but a 1st or 2nd degree black belt barely scratches the surface of martial arts. A black belt is simply acknowledging that a student has grasped the basics. I don't doubt the physical discipline this sport takes, i do however see many athletes that are very mentally undisciplined. If you wish to refer to yourself as a martial artist at least try to conduct yourself as one (A martial artist does NOT lash out and throw a temper tantrum when things don't go his way, nor does he disrespect his fellow martial artists with verbal insults and tough guy talk). If they wish to distance themselves from boxers, stop acting like boxers. If they wish to distance themselves from traditional martial arts then maybe they should invent a style that isn't based on traditional martial arts. All this being said, these guys are strong athletes with a lot of guts...but they have a long way to go before they can refer to themselves as "Martial ARTISTS", Maybe Combat Athletes would be a more suitable term.

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      amped 7 years ago


      How about you go for some lessons before you bag it.

      Most fighters take take striking lessons, grappling lessons and then MMA to tie it up. For you to claim that MMA isn't a craft to eventually build skill is proof you haven't even trained in it for 1 day. MMA fighters probably work the hardest of any martial art.

      At one point kicking and punching in the same style was probably considered a Mixed Martial Art.

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      Bun 7 years ago

      MMA is not an evolution of martial arts. I personally wouldn't even call it a martial art. There is no aspect of the "art" in MMA at all. What I see is just pure fighting. MMA doesn't necessarily make a person a martial artist. Though MMA might be effective in some aspects of fighting, it could be compared to the Jack in a deck of cards. Jack of All Trades, master of none. Martial Art is a craft that requires people to work hard and build skill eventually specializes in that one art. What I see from the UFC and all is that most fighters are not even refined in a martial art standpoint. In my opinion, I wouldn't consider MMA something I would use to learn and spend the rest of my life in. The fact it's becoming more commericalized also makes my distaste of MMA rise. MMA seems to promote violence in a restrained way, not true self defense skills.

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      hcshi 9 years ago from Singapore

      Great hub. I didn't know there is such a sport... Mixed Martial Art.