We teach Tae Kwon Do, so it’s probably no surprise that we feel that traditional martial arts are the way to go. However,we believe an opinion should be supported by facts. Therefore, we offer you the reasons why we believe everyone, especially children, should begin their training in traditional martial arts and not MMA.
What is MMA?
MMA, or mixed martial arts, has actually been around for centuries. As the name implies, it is just an amalgam of several styles. Tae Kwon Do, in its present day form, was developed during the 1940s from elements of Karate, Taekkyeon, Subak, and Gwonbeop. If you consider the impact of other styles in the development of this discipline, then the argument can be made that Tae Kwon Do is a mixed martial art.
However, In today’s society, MMA has come to signify the combat sport that has been popularized by such organizations as the UFC. Made popular in the 1990’s, that form of mixed martial arts is what people think of when the term MMA is used.
Comparing the Purposes of Tae Kwon Do and MMA
MMA is a combat sport designed to entertain. Fans are not interested in a defensive fight. Therefore, MMA teaches aggression. The primary purpose of MMA is to fight in the ring — TO MAKE MONEY.
Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, and pretty much all the other traditional martial arts teach self-defense. One of my favorite quotes by a martial arts instructor is, “The best way to win a fight is to avoid a fight.” Aggression should never be encouraged, especially in children, unless there is no other option but to fight. Traditional martial arts stresses this. Self-control and discipline are keys to traditional training.
So to reiterate: MMA, by necessity, focuses on aggression, because the goal is to fight, win, and make money. Traditional martial arts such as Tae Kwon Do teach students to fight only WHEN NECESSARY.
Carefully consider which of those philosophies of fighting you want your children to be taught.
Wait a Minute — Isn’t Tae Kwon Do a Combat Sport?
Yes it is. The difference is that you have never paid a hundred dollars to watch two Tae Kwon Do kids knock
each other out. Traditional martial arts tournaments have some pretty strict rules. They participants wear sparring gear, to PREVENT injury, not encourage it. The contest is about technique and control. How quick is the reaction time? Which one saw an opening? You only need to show that you would win a fight, you don’t have to prove it by knocking out your opponent.
The difference may be subtle, but it’s real. Tae Kwon Do builds confidence, not aggression.
Even MMA Fighters Recommend Tae Kwon Do Training
In a recent interview with Tim Kennedy, the retired MMA fighter discussed his thoughts on training at an MMA school. This is what he said: “They’re building a house without a foundation. An MMA coach can take the skills and tools you have and put them together to construct a nice building, but if the foundation doesn’t exist — which is the techniques — you’re wasting your time.”
Tae Kwon Do provides that foundation. In fact, a large number of MMA fighters began their study of martial arts with Tae Kwon Do, and continue to do so even today.
Both Anderson Silva and Cung Le, famous MMA fighters, started training in Tae Kwon Do as children. Silva relies heavily that training when he executes his famous Tae Kwon Do kicks. It wasn’t that long ago that he knocked out Vitor Belfort with a front kick for the middleweight title. Cung Le is known for his spinning back kick and straight, Tae Kwon Do punches.
Anthony Pettis, another fighter, is a 3rd-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do who still trains in it today. In an interview, he gave the credit for his success to his Tae Kwon Do training. The ability to throw lightning-fast kicks has been a huge asset for him in the octagon.
All of these MMA fighters owe their success in MMA to traditional martial arts training, specifically Tae Kwon Do.
Summation and Closing Arguments
- By its very nature, MMA emphasizes aggression. It has to. Nobody will win fights if they are running away from their opponent.
- MMA fighters generally own a specific set of skills received from traditional martial arts training. It is only later, after years of training in specific styles, that they start blending techniques and disciplines.
- Tae Kwon Do emphasises self-control and discipline. The benefits of this carry over into all parts of the student’s life, not just in the dojang. The very structure of a traditional class makes the student a more productive member of society.
The case for traditional martial arts training cannot be disputed. If you want to pursue combat sports, train in Tae Kwon Do. If you are a teenager, there may even be an opportunity for college scholarships. If you are more interested in street-defense, you can look into Hapkido. There, you train in all four combat ranges (which is what happens in MMA) and yet, you will also benefit from the character-building discipline that goes with traditional martial arts.
We, at Vortexic, highly recommend that you train in traditional martial arts before you ever consider branching off into mixed martial arts. If someday, your child wants to become a professional fighter, then maybe that’s the time to look into MMA. However, Vortexic offers classes in Olympic style Tae Kwon Do. This too, can be a path to a professional career. Maybe someday, your child will be the one standing on the podium, holding gold. In the meantime,Tae Kwon Do definitely offers them the best training in self-defense, sport, and character.