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If I had a penny for every time I heard somebody say “Well I’m training in so-and-so, which is better than your style”, I would be a rich man. In this article I want to take a look at the question of whether or not there is a supreme fighting style – a martial art that will vanquish all in its path.
With the popularity of the UFC and a seemingly exponential increase in those now training in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), there is a growing trend for people to ‘cross-train’ – taking different aspects from traditional styles and amalgamating them into one seemingly comprehensive training regime.
I think that this is a strong indication towards the fact that no single style is better in every way than all of the others. For example: if you want to throw well, you may look to Judo. If you want to kick well, you take up Tae Kwon Do. If you want to punch well, boxing is the best place for you. Tae Kwon Do fighters are generally rather poor at throwing, in the same way that Judo practitioners lack dynamic kicking ability. Each art has a particular area of specialty and excels therein – to the detriment of other techniques.
Perhaps one of the most important factors in this debate is that of the individual fighter’s ability. A quick search on YouTube will reveal a vast array of match-ups between various styles, with constantly varying outcomes as to the victor. More often than not, the deciding elements are one fighter’s higher level of fitness, faster reflexes and greater strength, rather than purely having a ‘better’ art. In my own experience, I have been privileged to train with and compete against a wide variety of styles and fighters, and I have an enormous amount of respect for the individuals I have crossed swords with.
Often, ‘softer’ arts such as Aikido and many of the Chinese internal arts are brushed aside in favour of hard hitting styles such as Muay Thai and western kickboxing. While ‘hard’ arts do have an obvious appeal, the quietly destructive utilisation of an opponent’s power as found in the ‘soft’ arts is not to be underestimated!
In conclusion, I would tend to believe that no one style has widespread dominance. So in many ways, it is foolish to try and amplify your masculinity by bragging that your style is better than another, it all depends on what skill sets you want to attain.
This however, leads to a few fairly pertinent questions – is an MMA fighter better than one from a traditional style background? What about UFC? Is it really the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or a bunch of technique-less meatheads? This is a big subject, and something I intend to cover in a later article!
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