Friday, September 16, 2011

MMA, BJJ, And Reality Fighting

Some people want to learn MMA because they want to fight in a cage. So they learn MMA. A lot of people have no ambition of fighting in a cage, but still want to learn MMA. But it seems kind of misdirected to teach people about all the rules of cage fighting if they are never going to fight in a cage.

When most people say they want to train or learn MMA, what they really mean is they want to learn reality fighting. MMA almost looks like pro-wrestling. Except it's real. It uses only the most realistic moves for a fight situation. So maybe certain moves from Kung Fu or Aikido do not seem realistic. But something like a double leg and a jab makes sense. But that doesn't mean MMA is reality fighting. In MMA you have 5 minutes, you are inside of a cage, no body else is in there except you two and the referee, and there's a set of rules. Compared to every other fight sport, it is the most real, but nothing about time rounds is realistic. Does that mean those weird traditional martial arts where they have 200 moves to hit the groin is more reality based? No probably not. The groin is pretty hard to hit because everyone is always expecting it. And plus how good can you ever be at gouging out eyeballs when you've never had a chance to do it?

MMA in its root form is an amalgam of martial arts moves that are the most effective based on the laws of physics. So people want to learn these moves to defend themselves because they've seen it work.

So when most people want to learn MMA, they want to learn those realistic moves of MMA but not be tied down by all the constraints, and they want to know how to use these moves in a self defense scenario if the other person is unarmed. Or how to use MMA moves against a untrained attacker. This is where pure BJJ comes in.With a 5 minute round, it is very hard to do BJJ against an opponent. In a real situation with no time constraints, this is where BJJ is at its most effective. BJJ doesn't care if it's slow or boring or stalled out, as long as in the end you don't get hurt and you finish your opponent.

Now imagine BJJ in an MMA match. You have 5 minutes. Go. Okay 5 minutes to feel my opponent out. I've felt him out now I have 3:30 left to clinch my opponent. Now I got the clinch and have 2 minutes to take my opponent down but he keeps breaking the clinch. After several attempts at taking my opponent down and them standing back up, I have finally taken my opponent down and held him down. I have 1 minute to pass my opponents guard. I mounted my opponent, 10 seconds to finish! Buzzer rings and I am still working ground and pound and a choke.

Round 2. I am exhausted, my opponent is sweaty as hell and now it's even harder to clinch, takedown, pass, and finish...

This is an example. Sometimes maybe you get knocked out in attempting all this. Sometimes you may KO your opponent. Sometimes it hits the ground fast and you finish. But the way I have outlined is the typical gameplan of a BJJ fighter, but under realistic passage of time. The first round is always most tiring for a BJJ guy because all their energy is used to take it to the ground and implement their plan. Your opponents plan is simply to stifle your plan which is much less tiring. The BJJ fighter can use all this energy because in their art, they rest on the ground, while their weight crushes their opponent, and their opponent gets tired. Then they submit a tired opponent.

But in MMA after you used all your energy to take your opponent down, you have the energy loss of taking down and opponent but the 2nd round starts with them standing up again. So you have the energy loss without any of its reward. And because you never got to hold him down for very long, your opponent never got crushed or felt your weight on him. So he is fresh. Imagine a 15 minute first round. Let's say there is a takedown after 5 minutes. Then it stays on the ground. Imagine how tired the guy on the bottom will be after 5 minutes on the ground with someones weight on them? Wonder how many finishes there will be? Pride had a 10 minute 1st round and had spectacular 1st round finishes on the ground. It's this use of time that makes MMA sometimes very boring. People stall out the clock. It's also what makes it exciting. People try to do as much as they can in 5 minutes. It's what also makes for great knock outs. Even if I am an inferior wrestler or inferior on the ground, I only need to stuff takedowns for 5 minutes. In that 5 minutes I may knock out my opponent. Sometimes that happens. Then in their next fight if they get taken down easily, and you are shocked at their takedown defense, how much did you really know about their takedown defense in 5 minutes? Its easier to stop takedowns for 5 minutes than to stop their takedowns for a full wrestling practice.

Now even if you want to learn MMA to fight someday, forget about age or athleticism, but the level you will reach in your MMA career in the modern times will be very limited and will plateau very early unless you have a wrestling background. Here is why. Yes wrestling dictates where the fight goes. It also does something more important. It dictates the energy use of the fight.

The better wrestler can determine how physical the match is. They will dictate how much energy you exhaust, it's why a wrestler, even though they may be an inferior striker, may knock out a better striker. Sometimes its luck, other times they wore out their opponent so bad.

All strikers have an initial advantage because the fight always starts standing. BJJ is good at finishing the fight with the least amount of damage. Wrestling though is good at controlling the intensity and energy use of both fighters. So they dominate MMA. GSP learned wrestling later, but even he dominates with wrestling and passes the guards of exhausted BJJ players who may be superior to him on the ground...

But in reality fighting, you don't have to worry about the time so much. In reality most of the times it will go to the ground. You don't have to be a wrestler, you don't even have to shoot, you can drag people to the ground. Or people trip or fall over by overswinging punches. Once it hits the ground, you don't have to worry about stand ups (though you may have to worry about their friends). You now can conserve your energy, and look for the finish.

Someone thirty will have a very hard time learning how to wrestle people at a high level. Which limits their MMA career. But they can learn to jab, clinch, drag their opponent down, and finish them. So you don't necessarily need to be a good wrestler to defend yourself in real life.

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