Is fighting in a ring like MMA realistic?

So the other time I was talking about the effectiveness of an martial art and I want to expand more on that topic. In my previous post, I commented that actually all kinds of competition type sparring is unrealistic. While it is certainly true that some type of sparring is more realistic than others, I feel that all of them still don’t reflect real life situations because they are guided by rules.

I remember some time back me and my friends were goofing around and trying to wrestlte and choke one another like how they did in BJJ. My Taekwondo coach saw what we were doing and came to us and said, “Actually, you do not have to do such complicated moves to go get out. It’s actually very easy to get out when someone is holding on to you on the ground. (provided you are not being choked yet) You just have to pinch his belly.”

We then tried, my friend, holding me almost in a rear naked choke. I reached my hands behind me and pinched his belly. He instantly let go of his hands in a yell.

While this is perfectly fine for self-defense, it is illegal in MMA fight as it is “dishonorable” or dangerous. But I guess if you want things to be “realistic”, it should be anything goes. There are even videos on Youtube where they teach you to bite when someone is trying to choke you. That to me is effective and realistic martial arts and self-defense.

In the video below, you will see some simple and highly effective techniques that are used  but are illegal in MMA. These are all recorded in MMA fights.

Despite the title, there’s actually not much Krav Maga in it. Just techniques that are simple, effective and make sense.

If MMA fights are really realistic, these illegal techniques would have been allowed.

List of illegal techniques shown:

Sucker punch The secret to winning a fight is to use surprise

Groin strikes – highly effective. In the many examples, the opponent is incapacitated instantly

Knee when opponent is down – Makes your opponent stay down and eliminate the threat once and for all (I never knew this was illegal)

Kicking your opponent when your opponent is trying to mount you – You are in a disadvantaged situation and any sane person would fight back. Yet this is illegal when your opponent has one knee on the ground. WHAT?! Clip at 6:01

Stomping your opponent when he is down – certainly what you would do in a street fight to eliminate the threat. Illegal in MMA.

Eye attacks – if your look at the clip, this technique is highly effective. A simple swipe can incapacitate a huge man!

Holding on to cage (using the environment) – in every self-defense video, they will tell you to observe the environment and use it to your advantage. However,  many of the athletes in the video gets a foul when they hold on to the cage to prevent themselves from being slammed and avoid a possible concussion.

12 to 6 elbows – it’s certainly logical to throw such an elbow in a real-life situation where an attacker hugs you and exposes his back or back of the head to you. It’s illegal in MMA though and you have to let your opponent do whatever he wants to you.

Further discussion

Many martial arts nowadays are actually sports due to the enormous set of rules. As I have mentioned above, with so many rules in play, it’s hard to call it realistic anymore. Tournaments these days are not like the gladiator fights in Rome where anything goes and the loser get killed.

There are also people who claim that Muay Thai can win Taekwondo fighters any time. In a ring with Muay Thai rules, of course. But certainly not in a Taekwondo match. This is because each martial art is developed according to the rules of the sparring competitions. A Taekwondo fighter will never be able to absorb all the hits in a confined ring. While similarly, a Muay Thai fighter will never able to land a kick to a Taekwondo fighter in a standard Taekwondo ring which has wide open spaces and no ropes as boundaries.

In the same way, a wrestler will never beat a boxer in a wrestling match while a wrestler will never beat a boxer in a boxing match. Hence, comparisons between martial arts in such a way is nonsensical and meaningless.

While certainly unrealisitc, I think modern MMA ring fighting is as realistic to real fighting as it get.




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One Response to Is fighting in a ring like MMA realistic?

  1. Fight Quality says:

    The thing to remember is that most people no longer learn ‘martial arts’ in the traditional sense, but rather learn combat sports derived from the original arts. After all, it wouldn’t be as fun to watch MMA if your favourite fighter had their eyes gouged out in the first round!

    As far as the ring goes, a ‘realistic’ fighter should be able to fight well regardless of the space, so in some ways it’s possibly more realistic. If you were attacked in an alley for example, you would need to be able to fight in an enclosed area.

    Either way, at the end of the day it is predominantly for viewing purposes as a sport.

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