UFC Hits Toronto Last Night and This Martial Artist is Not Impressed

Anyone else annoyed by UFC? Apparently, it was in Toronto last night.

This is what turns me off UFC *eye roll*

“@feyMorgaina Prepare like #GSP #UFC http://bit.ly/UFCTrain?=mtmz”
(Some gimmicky ad about how you can train with less effort than you are now – I studied marketing in university so trust me, it’s gimmicky.)

This makes me laugh. How many UFC fans can run 10k then do at least an hour of martial arts? (My second black belt test consisted of a 10k run, followed by 1000 skips, then the martial arts part of the test, which includes patterns, technique drills, and of course, sparring and board breaking.)

The past few years have been… “Oh, you do martial arts? Do you do MMA?” (right after someone realizes I have a black belt in taekwondo; martial arts is a big part of my life, so it inevitably comes up in conversations).

Uh, no. I like all kinds of martial arts, but I don’t do MMA. I am just not impressed by UFC, it’s jumped-up marketing, and the hype over it. If current UFC fans would get off their high horse about how great UFC is, I’d be less annoyed by it all. (Granted not all UFC fans come off as so arrogant and conceited, but there’s just enough to annoy me.) I respect that the fighters in UFC train hard, but honestly I think UFC is pointless. It’s predominantly about the marketing company making money off of good martial artists who can get seriously hurt – and in two cases, killed. See the Wikipedia article on Mixed Martial Arts – Safety. “MMA is dangerous, and its fighters are put at a serious risk of injury each time they enter the cage.”

In regards to taekwondo, the martial art I am predominantly trained in (I’ve done a bit of hapkido and weapons training as well), I have found two competition-related deaths – one in 1999 and one in 2009. Note that these are ten years apart. The one in 1999 is “believed to be the first fatality in an official U.S. taekwondo tournament”. See “Musician Dies After Kick to Head in Martial Arts Tournament”. In 2009, a teenager died after participating in a tournament run by an organization no longer affiliated with the Singapore Taekwondo Federation. See Student Brain-dead After Taekwondo Sparring Match. I note that this fatality occurred in a unsanctioned tournament, and the tournament was not run according to the regulations of the Singapore Taekwondo Federation. I have not found any other taekwondo tournament-related deaths. Indeed, one could teach taekwondo for years and not witness a death related to a taekwondo competition, particularly in the WTF style of taekwondo. See a comment by a Taekwondo Master on “How many competition-related deaths have there been in tae kwon do?”. Äbout taekwondo sparring, “In all cases, contact must be controlled, and not thown wild or blindly. Even a solid hit in Taekwondo competition, which could be deadly in the street, is relatively safe because of the control in the fighers ability to stop at the point of impact. A Taekwondo fighter is trained to control their power so as to apply it lightly, or firmly as needed in competiton, or deadly as needed in self defense.” I have been kicked in the stomach during training before by heavy men (say 190 pounds and up). While they were using controlled kicks, believe me, I can extrapolate from that what it would feel like if they kicked me full force. I have also been kicked really hard in the groin (not sure what the guy was thinking at the time – he was quite apologetic after – but really I was fine, more shocked that he did hit me that hard when it was friendly sparring in class). I mention this because I do not agree with the mentality that you need to be in a ‘real fight’ to understand how much it can hurt. With regards to safety in taekwondo competitions, Wikipedia’s article says “A 2009 meta-analysis reported that an average of about 8% of competitors are injured, per exposure to competition; age, gender, and level of play did not significantly affect the injury rate.[47] The legs are the most common location for injuries, and bruising is the most common injury type.” Compare that to bloody noses being common in MMA.

Some fans of MMA and UFC promote it because of this illusive idea that there is one martial art that’s the best or that there is some blend of martial arts that must be the best. MMA takes that faulty premise and pits two people against each other in a cage. UFC in particular would have everyone believe this mimics the real world and a ‘real fight’. It doesn’t. In real life, one person has an advantage before the ‘fight’ ever begins. There is no such thing as a ‘fair fight’. I have seen a ‘fight’ where one person gets knocked down by another, then the person knocked down is swarmed by the other person’s buddies. This is what your common ‘street fight’ entails. That’s real, and it’s not fair. It’s called ‘bullying’. (My boyfriend and I, and a few others, ran over to break up that fight – it was some teenagers in a public park.)

In real life, when one person is attacked, it’s done by surprise – again, it’s real and it’s not fair. I do martial arts because I can stave off the chance of being surprised (by learning to be aware of my environment and surroundings) and also because I in turn become the surprise element. I’ll explain. An attacker on the street who picks on one person does so because he thinks that person is ‘easy prey’. He/she does not expect that person to fight back. If, by chance, that person does fight back, that person becomes the surprise element – more so if that person knows some form of self-defense, whether an actual martial art or something from a self-defense course. Thus, if someone were to attack me on the street, because I know some kind of self-defense, I have a good chance to surprise my attacker. I also know secondhand of a woman who was attacked on public transit (subway). Someone grabbed her from behind while she was walking up the stairs. They put a knife to her throat. At first, she thought a friend was pulling a practical joke, but then she noticed her shoe at the top of the stairs and she was back down the stairs. She turned into the surprise element when her ‘fight or flight response’ kicked in and she grabbed the knife, twisted it away from her throat, pushed the attacker away, and ran for help. Not everyone is lucky to get away. She was lucky her response wasn’t to freeze up. Some people do, and with martial arts training people can learn not to freeze up when attacked.

There is a difference between fighting and self-defense. When someone attacks you or tries to goad you into a fight, it becomes a fight the minute you turn around and put your fists up. It’s not self-defense anymore. Self-defense involves reacting to an actual attack. If someone is trying to instigate a fight with you and you are walking away, but then they grab you, and you turn around to push that person away or whatever you have to do to get them to let go so you can leave – that’s self-defense.

In the real world (that is, outside the ring), it’s not about the type of martial art a person does or how many, but how well that person responds to each situation. To survive in a real ‘fight’ (more correctly, to survive an attack), it takes more than just physical prowess. One must also have the ability to quickly analyze a situation and reason something out. If you are attacked, you can defend yourself. Martial arts have always been about self-defense, and it should remain that way.

~~~C

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