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14 September 2010

Wrestling & MMA Redux

The battle between wrestlers in MMA and some fans is more elemental than I thought, and I learned something about myself with that sudden realization.
Olympic Style Wrestling is what happens when you have successive generations of refinement and scientific examination of the methods and their efficacy in controlling another person's body with nothing but your own. Moves are tried countless times in the gym and competition, with useful ones kept and fancy or low-percentage maneuvers dismissed. The goal in wrestling is to put the opponent on his or her back. There are no points for flash or style or damage, just points of control.
Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitstu, and most importantly MMA, however, has the singular goal of making you opponent quit or causing so much damage that he or she can no longer defend themselves. There are points for control, yes, but the point is not control. The most successful and the most entertaining combatants are creative, innovative and aggressive in their practise; the ones who treat it like the art it is.
I discovered that it is not that I am against wrestling, it is that I see this form of combat as art, not science. I am not anti-science either, but I know my skills lie in art and it's creation and consumption. I enjoy creativity in the cage a lot more than success.
Wrestlers that convert to MMA have been training for most of their lives to get a person on his or her back, but I need more than that. I need them to advance position and land strikes or secure submissions.Wrestling is an essential part of the sport that I love, but it should never be the end of a participants skill. It is a place to start from, or a skill to augment others, but as long as high-level wrestlers think that control is enough, wrestling will carry with it the ire of fans. Myself sometimes included.

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