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April 28, 2021


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Great vids. Thanks for posting.

(Watched the first, and part of the second. I'm looking forward to watching the rest at leisure.)


You make three points here, two of which I agree with, and one which I can't really get behind.

The first is the non-martial, general-wellbeing aspects of Tai Chi (and such other stylized traditions). Your point is taken, and I agree.

The second is how Tai Chi can actually help in a fight. The vids are a great demo, that illustrate and emphasize what you're saying. Again, I agree. It's like I was saying when commenting on your previous post, these techniques can help with an untrained brawler; and even with a skilled fighter, they're great if used not in isolation but as part of a larger repertoire of more eclectic techniques.


The third argument you put forward, that I disagree with, is how Tai Chi is this character-building thing whose aim is that you don't fight, while MMA is a "non-art" that is focused on aggression. No so, at all. That is, there are three parts to this argument. The first part I agree with, the other two parts I don't.

The part, where you say Tai Chi is an art, and Tai Chi instructors try to instill the don't-fight impulse, is true enough. Agreed, absolutely.

But the part where you say MMA is a "non-art", as "the opposite of whatever art is"? Come on, MMA is as much of an art as Tai Chi is. How could it not be? It's like saying ballroom dancing is an art, but breakdancing isn't. MMA and Tai Chi are different forms of the same thing, except one is more eclectic than the other.

As for what you describe as the essentially aggressive intent in MMA: That would depend on the individual. Most responsible MMA instructors will emphasize this "let's try not to fight" motto that the guy in your first vid speaks about.

Did you watch the MMA guy's testimony in Chauvin's trial? I've watched as much of that trial as I could, because I found that trial fascinating at a number of levels. My point is, at one point the MMA guy (I forget his name) actually says, in responding to that creepy bespectacled defense lawyer, that MMA is about not fighting. Most responsible MMA instructors will try to emphasize just that. Of course, whether you yourself take it in that spirit or not, that's up to the individual.


But no, you do make your broader point. In fact, like I'd said in my second comment to your last post, I do see how Tai Chi can be useful even in a fight situation. Just, the overly stylized oh-so-graceful dancing in the video you'd posted last time doesn't really pan out IRL. (Not saying that's what those guys were trying to misrepresent that bout as, those two were just playing around and having fun, and demonstrating one aspect of their craft, which is cool.)

Appreciative Reader, there's certainly room for discussion as to whether MMA is a martial art. (That's a better term than my "Ultimate Fighting," which points back to the early Ultimate Fighting Championship matches that I used to watch in my early karate days.)

There's some interesting points of view on a Quora post about this.

These comments support my perspective, though, again, there are other valid perspectives.
I don't consider MMA as a martial art, in spite of the explicit nature of its name. I consider MMA a sport, like boxing and judo, that is governed by a set of inviolate rules for participation in the ring. These rules are intended to provide some degree of safety for the fighters, such as limiting or prohibiting certain types of strikes or target areas of the body. The fights are regulated and under the strict control of a referee.

MMA participants do not follow any set training routine either, incorporating several types of underlying fighting styles such as Taekwondo or karate for kicking, Brazilain jiu jitsu or judo for ground fighting, and boxing techniques for optimal hand strikes — but the combinations are limitless. These are therefore not formalized; fighters come from diverse fighting backgrounds.
Yes and no I guess. MMA uses Martial Arts movements and techniques so in that senses it is what it says Mixed Martial Arts.

But when I practiced kick boxing and teakwando as a young one these sports had a particular culture that came with the sport. The culture was all about showing respect to your opponent and they taught us to only fight for self defence. Kinda like what Yoda said in star wars that the Jedi only fight to defend themselves, never to attack. (Wouldn't be supprised if the Jedi was influenced by martial arts culture)It all about self control and mastery.

On the other hand MMA doesn't have this culture, it's just about beating the shit out of someone so NO in is not a Martial Art in a philosophical and culture sense, only in a movement sense.
No it isn't a martial art is a field study of not only combat skills and principles but also philosophy and physical fitness to be used in the real world . MMA is a void of these things as it's more so suited for sport fighting than real fighting, it doesn't really help the individual become a warrior only a sporting athlete than a real fighting athlete as a traditional martial artist shows more so discipline and control in their practices than the practices of a mixed martial artist.
MMA is the fastest growing combat sport that allow both striking and grappling techniques.we can’t say mma is martial arts.It’s not martial arts .It is just the big thing right now like kickboxing . One thing is for sure traditional and authentic martial arts will be around long after MMA has became another fading sport like kickboxing.
I think it would be better call MMA a “martial sport”, rather than a martial art. The notion of a martial art, implies a certain body of techniques and principles that define it and differentiate it from other similar arts.

Maybe after some time MMA fighters adopt a unique fighting style that could be called a martial art.
Well, it’s really a sport, not a martial art. And the reason is that it is made up of many different martial arts and disciplines and geared towards competition. MMA fighters cross train in a variety of disciplines like Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Muay Thai, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Wrestling, Judo, Kickboxing, etc. MMA’s beginnings started with the original Ultimate Fighting Championship, which grew out of the old Gracie Challenge which promoted Gracie Jiu-Jitsu which was the original BJJ style that made that art so popular worldwide.
MMA means “Mixed Martial Arts.” It was originally conceived not as a combat style in itself but as a showcase for a variety of martial arts styles performed in their combat configurations in a commercial prizefight setting.

Inevitably, these styles are meshing as the fighters discover techniques in other styles that strengthen or complement their own. So, MMA is becoming—but has not yet become—a style in and of itself.

That's a curious POV, Brian. You seem to be saying that the very fact of its eclectic, fluid nature is what, for you, prevents MMA from being an art. It's as if you see the stylized nature of 'pure' martial arts as the essence of what makes them an art. I'm not sure I'm able to agree with that.

Okay, instead of arguing this out, let's just do this. Forget those lumbering heavyweights who do, I admit, often come across like brutal and brutish creatures, often lacking in grace and fluidity, out only to somehow maim and destroy their opponent. Instead just check out some Christian Lee matches, and tell me if you wouldn't agree that's art? The closest analogy I can think of to seeing him in action is an intricate game of chess.

If you can see Christian Lee at his best -- and he's often at his best, plenty of videos a quick google search will bring up -- and still maintain that MMA isn't an art, then so be it. That is, I won't change my mind, but I'll absolutely stop trying to change yours, because that would suggest that your conception of art is narrower than mine, at least when it comes to this kind of thing.

Not to revisit our specific disagreement over whether MMA is a sport, Brian, but your comment, your view, that MMA is not so much an art as a sport, set me thinking, generally, about how the one might be different from the other, sports and art I mean. I can see how we might view the two as two ends of a continuum, with a large section where the two converge. And that convergence, it seems to me, would be a function both of the activity itself, as well as the quality of performance.

So anyway, that was just my off-the-cuff take on art vis-a-vis sport. I looked around a bit, idly, and came across an interesting paper that discusses exactly this. Here's the link to the pdf:


I'm not advancing the article as an argument supporting my POV. If anything the article veers closer to your thinking. Some of it I agree with, some of it not so much: I'm linking this here because I thought it might be kind of relevant, to the broader question, as well as generally interesting, that's all.


Are all sports art? Do all sporting performances, that are of a certain quality, qualify as art, even if some sport itself in general doesn't? How would we decide what kind of sport is art, and what isn't?

Interesting questions, those. Never ever thought about this, until you brought this up here.

Sorry, I'd linked to my local cache there. The paper can be downloaded from here:


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