Back to The Old Schools
Traditional Techniques are becoming more prevalent in Mixed Martial Arts.
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It started with an Anderson Silva front kick that landed squarely on the chin of Vitor Belfort. Just recently, Anthony Pettis threw a good old fashioned round house that smoked Joe Lauzon like a dime bag at a Willie Nelson concert. Similarly, I will always believe that had Randy Couture held on to lessons learned from watching Karate Kid back in 1984, Machida’s switch kick may have never landed creating a much different tone for “The Natural’s” retirement party.
It makes you wonder what’s being taught in the training camps these days.
The fact is many traditional martial arts techniques once deemed inadequate for cage combat are now having a major impact on the fight game as demonstrated in some pretty high profile bouts.
With a background in Taekwondo, the first thing I learned from an MMA coach was that traditional martial arts aren’t so traditional anymore. The days of covering every square inch of the dojo floor with punching and kicking drills are now reserved for the 5-8 year old class. Emphasis on fundamental technique was replaced by a focus on speed and relentless attack. Like most fighters in that camp and a million others, I bought into it, and unlearned lots of things I should have kept in my mental rolodex.
That side kick that supposedly takes too long to develop given the pace of the cage is now a weapon that Jon Jones employs to wear down the legs of his opponents. I was told that a spinning back kick is “too telegraphed” and only good for letting the other guys set up angles and close distance on you. Now, it’s known to blast the life out dudes when they are on the receiving end of all of the torque and power Dennis Siver generates from the ground, through his hips and exploding from his heel into their midsection.
The irony of the whole thing is that a sport whose original events were promoted as a search for the superior style of martial arts had a significant period of time when heavy-handed brawlers with limited technical expertise were able to infiltrate the sport quite successfully. Today’s fighters are certainly evolving, but doing so through a return to the traditional. One of the most important weapons a fighter has is creativity. It looks like a lot of guys are getting creative by taking it back to the roots proving that sometimes it’s better to dance with the one that brung ya.
There still are and always will be the guys with tough chins and insane punching power that will win fights, but I am glad to see the re-emergence of the true martial artists as the peak performers in the fight game.