The Unwritten Rules of Mixed Martial Arts

Last week, we considered the evolution of mixed martial arts, specifically:

How do we define the ecosystem of mixed martial arts? Where are its boundaries?

The most obvious boundaries of MMA are its official competition rules. Techniques carrying the highest risk of injury are typically banned:

  • Headbutting
  • Eye gouging
  • Hair pulling
  • Biting
  • Fish-hooking
  • Attacking the groin
  • Striking the back of the head, or spine
  • Striking the trachea

Significant as they are, these explicit rules do not fully capture the difference between a sporting event and a “martial art” (when conventionally defined as an art of life and death, killing and self-preservation). The majority of rules governing MMA fights are implicit. Continue reading The Unwritten Rules of Mixed Martial Arts

Would You Train With a Superhero?

From The Legend of Master Legend:

Master Legend and The Ace
Ace and Master Legend

Master Legend races out the door of his secret hide-out, fires up the Battle Truck and summons his trusty sidekick. “Come on, Ace!” he yells. “Time to head into the shadows!”

The Ace appears wearing his flame-accented mask and leather vest; Master Legend is costumed in his signature silver and black regalia. “This is puncture-resistant rubber,” Master Legend says proudly, pointing at his homemade breastplate. His arms are covered with soccer shinguards that have been painted silver to match his mask. “It won’t stop a bullet,” he says, “but it will deflect knives.”

“Not that any villain’s knives have ever gotten that close!” the Ace chimes in.

Nyx, protector of Kansas City
Profile: Nyx
“I am Nyx–formerly Hellcat, Felinity, and Sphynx (I had a penchant for name-changes). Like the night, I cannot be proven or disproven…”

When Master Legend bursts into a sprint, as he often does, his long, unruly hair flows behind him. His mane is also in motion when he’s behind the wheel of the Battle Truck, a 1986 Nissan pickup with a missing rear window and “ML” spray-painted on the hood. He and the Ace head off to patrol their neighborhood on the outskirts of Orlando, scanning the street for evildoers. “I don’t go looking for trouble,” Master Legend shouts above the engine. “But if you want some, you’ll get it!”
Continue reading Would You Train With a Superhero?

James Barton’s Virtuous Science of Self-Defense

James Barton writes in,

I thought that you might be interested in the alternative martial art that I am developing. It is quite unusual and has a strong focus on character improvement. I would value your questions, comments and criticisms.

Readers, I encourage you to visit the Virtue Science website, read some of James’ material, and formulate your own opinions before proceeding to my commentary below. Continue reading James Barton’s Virtuous Science of Self-Defense

Five Personal Protection Facts They Don’t Want You to Know

Imi Lichtenfeld
Imi Lichtenfeld
Founder of Krav Maga
  • In reality, there is no worst-case “real world” scenario to train against; there are only circumstances. By applying the same techniques in every unique situation, you will create more problems then you solve.
  • Want to live a long and healthy life? Eat your veggies, exercise regularly, drink in moderation and avoid smoking altogether. These habits are more important than anything you will learn in a personal protection workshop.
  • A calm mind and steady heart are required to apply martial arts training under duress. These traits can be demonstrated, but they cannot be taught.
  • The level of expertise required to stop a sneak attack is much higher than the level required to launch one. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a sneak defense.
  • Self-defense skills can only help you in the present. They cannot change the past.

Chess Boxing, Horse Wrestling and Umbrella Combat

Recent diversions and entertainments from the world of martial arts

Chess boxing
Chess boxing
Credit: Sascha Pohflepp

Nikolay Sazhin new world champion in chess boxing’s light heavyweight division

The 19 year old challenger, Siberia’s Nikolay “The Chairman” Sazhin, was able to execute his strategic chess concept against the more experienced world champion, Frank “Anti-Terror” Stoldt. Sazhin then used his superior boxing skills to ram home the advantage.

After carefully approaching his opponent in the first round with a Slav defense, Frank Stoldt took a heavy right hand to the chin in the following round which led to a standing eight count. Stoldt then demonstrated the experience gained from 3 title bouts, recovering to endure three more rounds without slipping further behind.

At the beginning of the 5th round, however, the contest culminated at the chessboard. The wily youngster Sazhin lured Stoldt into a false sense of security. With his bishop in severe danger near the center of the board, Stoldt made a horrible blunder, overlooking a concealed threat to his queen…
[continued at the World Chessboxing Organization website]

Continue reading Chess Boxing, Horse Wrestling and Umbrella Combat

The Worst Karate Move I Ever Learned (and How to Fix It)

Two underappreciated facts about self-defense:

  1. The time for avoidance is before the fight starts. Once it has started, you should abandon any notions of yielding or appeasement, and focus on not losing the fight. To honor this distinction, you must be able to recognize the seeds of violence before they sprout.
  2. Statistically speaking, your probable attacker does not care about you. It’s nothing personal, really. If someone else had walked into the wrong place at the wrong time, they would have been assaulted instead.

No martial arts training should be required to appreciate these points, which can be derived from basic human empathy. The worst Karate move I ever learned, however, flagrantly disregards both of them. Before examining that inferior technique—and a superior alternative—let’s briefly consider the context in which it is taught. Continue reading The Worst Karate Move I Ever Learned (and How to Fix It)

COPS: Karate Assault

COPS

10:41 PM. Responding to an assault call, Officer Tim Hoffman takes statements from the two parties involved.

John’s story: “I just came down here to relax, man. So I was sitting at the bar, and I heard this man and woman arguing over there in the corner. I could see the situation was getting out of hand, so I walked over there, and calmly suggested they should lay off. The guy just blows up, gets in my face, starts swearing and threatening me. I knew I’d have to defend myself, right? I got into a defensive stance. Continue reading COPS: Karate Assault

Robbie Lawler’s Ruthless Wing Chun

EliteXC Saturday Night Fights
EliteXC Primetime, headlined by Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano

I’ve always known that, sooner or later, the Chinese art of Wing Chun Kuen would be represented in a professional mixed martial arts bout. I just didn’t expect to see it in MMA’s historic prime-time debut.

Robbie Lawler
Robbie Lawler

On May 31, 2008, “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler forever settled any reasonable doubts about Wing Chun’s viability in real combat. And he did it by accident. Continue reading Robbie Lawler’s Ruthless Wing Chun