Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You should be watching combat sports

If you're a martial artist and you aren't watching combat sports fairly regularly, you should be.  There are two reasons:  

First, you can learn from combat sports.  Now I know that MMA isn't the same as an actual fight, but it's closer than most of what I have access to - I haven't seen a "real fight" (no rules) since the third grade, if you can count a couple of eight year olds fighting as a streetfight.  Watching MMA has taught me a few things about combat, like the fact that head kicks can be effective (just don't lead with them or throw them alone) or that "knockout points" along the jaw that my teacher used to talk about are very, very real.  Don't think that you're learning a lot, because MMA does have a bunch of rules and fighting with gloves is not the same as without, but you can get something out of it.

Second, watching good combat sports can be very motivational.  If you can watch Giorgio Petrosyan fight or see Glaube Feitosa throw a Brazilian kick for a knockout and not be overwhelmed by the urge to go out and train then... I have nothing to say to you.  

Obviously, many non-martial artists have no interest in combat sports, and I have no argument with them - it's a matter of taste.  I don't watch golf.  If I played golf I'd probably get more out of watching it.  But if you are a martial artist and you enjoy the intricacies of combat, then I bet you don't watch MMA for one of two reasons:  either you've never tried it, or you watched a match where the fighters spent interminable lengths of time hugging each other either pressed up against the cage or lying on the floor, doing nothing.

If you've never tried it, watch something on Spike or HDNet - there's a ton of free fight sports on tv.  If you don't want to wait, you can always YouTube a bunch of fights, also for free.

A less widely available alternative to MMA is professional kickboxing.  I can't recommend K-1 highly enough.  It's available on HDNet for free, and it's tons of fun.  They call it (correctly) the highest level striking on the planet.  If you can catch a K-1 MAX show, that's even better.  MAX is the middleweight division - 154 lbs. and under - and the energy level and technical ability of the lighter fighters is amazing to see.  Best part?  No hugging.



  1. Sounds like reason enough for me to return to martial arts training - then I will have justification for watching combat sports!

  2. Great idea. I don't ever watch MMA, the hype is just too over-the-top for me. But watching kickboxing might be right up my alley.

  3. There's nothing I enjoy watching more than a K-1 MAX card - seriously, nothing - no movie, no sports event. Action packed and awesome skills. The regular K-1 events are very good as well, I recommend you try some. If you don't have HDNet try YouTube.