Long Term Effects of MMA on Wrestling?

 

As far as hand to hand combat goes, I think we can all agree that MMA is the sport of ultimate self defense…

Similarly, I think we could all agree that some form of grappling is necessary for Mixed Martial Arts success..

Lets look at some of the Greatest Mixed Martial Artists of all time, shall we?

Georges St. Pierre– an undeniable Takedown Artist.. His opponents knew what he was going to do at the onset of every fight but still they couldn’t stop it. Jab, Double leg.. Rinse and repeat..

Tito Ortiz– the original posterboy of the UFC was a decorated amateur wrestler.. His Blueprint to success? Dirty Box, Double Leg, Ground and Pound/look for a choke.. And he’s been winning fights for over 20 years!

Chuck Liddell– One of Tito’s most memorable adversaries was also a formidable scholastic wrestler and was, for a long time, the most feared man on the UFC’s roster! Sure, “The Iceman” is best known for his highlight reel knockouts but he was able to punish people with his hands because almost no one could take him down..

Lastly, Take a look at Anthony “Rumble” Johnson– Arguably the most terrifying human on the planet.. Like Liddell, everyone knows about his otherworldly power but the reason he’s able to showcase his electrifying standup is that his style was built on the cornerstone of wrestling..

Furthermore, the fundamentals of the sport of wrestling are offered for free in public schools throughout the U.S.

Sure am proud to be an American!

Not that submission grappling skills aren’t important to a well rounded mixed martial arts game…

They certainly are and they go hand in hand with the principles of man’s oldest sport…

It just so happens that, unless you want to pay a hefty tuition to put your kids in jiu jitsu, boxing, karate etc…

Wrestling is best and most accessible way for youth athletes to gain the confidence, self-discipline, and self-defense skills of the martial arts…

Now this is where I’m going to lose some folks, especially the wrestling purists and old heads…

Some folks argue that MMA is hurting wrestling… Either because they think kids will forego wrestling in favor of another martial art or because they see MMA as a cheap knockoff of their traditional sport…

This thought process, my friends, is horse shit.

Just as wrestling is indispensable for growth in MMA, MMA’s growth and popularity is necessary to wrestling’s survival…

Instead of accusing MMA of stealing the best athletes from the wrestling world, repackaging the sport, and capitalizing on centuries of its evolution…

I propose a solution where the two sports accelerate hand in hand into the future

Never before has there been a better opportunity for wrestling’s popularity to soar!

I implore my colleagues in the wrestling community to embrace the surging popularity of Mixed Martial Arts and use the spotlight to emphasize the importance of wrestling to MMA and thus grow the sports simultaneously

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The allure of MMA, both to fans casual and fanatical, athletes from curious to competitive, undoubtedly proves that there is still a demand for the time-honored trade of amateur wrestling..

What I propose is a future where some form of submission grappling/catch wrestling are introduced at the youth level, perhaps during the spring and summer outside of the scholastic wrestling season…

Point systems could be instituted for takedowns, gaining dominant positions, and securing submissions…

And I’m not going rogue here..

As it turns out, the basic infrastructure for this sport already exists! Check out the official rules and scoring system for NAGA No-Gi Positional Grappling here.

As you can see, points are awarded for takedowns, gaining dominant positions, and securing holds but the rules are laid out in such a way that riskier techniques and submissions are illegal or only become legal as grapplers gain greater experience and age.

As the athletes get a bit older in middle and high school, I can imagine the format expanding to include some striking, possibly taking some of the open hand striking principles from Pancrase…

Wrestling Clubs could institute this “new sport” as a way to encourage kids to stay on the wrestling mat in the off-season as well as to bolster new clientele..

I’m just spit-balling here but can you imagine the possibilities?

Instead of trying to swim upstream against the current explosion in MMA awareness, Wrestling needs to go with the flow and let everyone prosper…

The great Bruce Lee is often quoted as saying,

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

Lasting success is achieved through persistence and adaptability. Let us all be like water.

In closing, I want you to consider the notion that Wrestling is to MMA as Education is to Appreciation in that nothing can be fully appreciated if it is not fully understood…

Wrestling is an education on many levels but on the surface, once one understands that wrestling is the most critical chapter in the book of MMA,..

One can appreciate the opportunities that MMA’s mainstream appeal presents for both sports…

As always, let me know what you think!

Cheers,
The Desk of The MMA Wrestling Academy

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