Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What is the best martial art?

I believe that when people ask this question, that they are really asking "What is the perfect martial arts system that will work 100% of the time?"  Here is the answer to that question: it doesn't exist.

No martial art is perfect and none of them will work 100% of the time.  Even a Kravist can be beaten with the right technique that is executed at the right time with the right mindset.  So instead of searching for some mythical, all-powerful Shaolin magic wand, you need to ask this question: which martial art best suits my needs?  The only way to discover the answer is to try out multiple systems.

If you've never trained in the martial arts before, then I personally recommend that you study Krav Maga for at least three months first.  It's practical, it's efficient, and covers all of the basic aspects of self-defense.  Then, I would find the area that you are the weakest in and cross-train in a martial art that specializes in it.  For example, if you need to work on your striking, study karate or kung fu.  If your grappling needs improvement, learn Brazilian jiu-jitsu or judo.  If you need to learn how to fight in the clinch, study Muay Thai.  Obviously, there are many valuable martial arts besides these which you can also learn.  For example, MMA has proven that amateur and Greco-Roman wrestling are severely underrated martial arts styles.  The key thing is to find those that are best for you.   

If you are already a black belt in a traditional martial art, you should still study Krav Maga.  Why?  Because it teaches you how to best deal with modern weapons.  No, I'm not telling you to go sell your katanas on Craigslist.  Training with traditional martial arts weapons is still a great way to exercise, make friends, and have fun.  I'm just telling you that the odds of a street thug or rapist attacking you with a pair of nunchucks are slim to none.  You may be able to knock a walnut off someone's head with a shuriken while blindfolded from twenty yards away, but that won't help you if a gangster takes a .45 caliber and aims it at your forehead.   

Also, if you have a black belt in a striking martial art, cross-train in a grappling martial art and vice-versa.  All of the spinning kicks in the world won't help you if you are thrown on your back and don't know what to do.  Likewise, you may be able to flip a linebacker by only grabbing his pinkie, but that won't do you any good if you get knocked out with a front kick because you lunged at a Tae Kwon Do champion. 

If you do MMA, you'll have enough exposure to both striking and grappling techniques to be a well-rounded fighter.  In this case, take Krav Maga to learn how to deal with weapons and multiple opponents.  Doing Krav Maga will also remind you that in the real world, there are no referees, no mats, and no weight classes.  Not to mention that there is nothing keeping your opponent from fighting dirty (i.e. biting your leg to get out of your triangle choke).  Will a traditional martial art still benefit you?  Absolutely.  For example, forms will help with your flexibility, breathing, and fluidity of movement.  However, your coaches should have already picked out the most practical techniques from each system for you to learn, so it's not absolutely necessary. 

The key thing is to find the martial art that best meets your self-defense needs.  Whether it is pencak silat, capoeira, modern pankration, or any other system, it really doesn't matter.  If it allows you to return home safely to your family and friends, then it is worth your time and money.  Don't get hung up on whether or not one particular style is better than another, because, as Ip Man said in the movie after his namesake, "It's not about the style.  It's about you."  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Miocic Conquers "Big Country" At UFC 161!

When Miocic dominated Nelson to get the unanimous decision, I burst into laughter.  Even today, I still don't believe it.  This upset alone made the whole PPV worth it.  That being said, the other matches were better than people give them credit for.  Let's take a look at each of them individually:

Barry vs. Jordan: Jordan caught "HD" with a right uppercut and swarmed, taking his back and finishing the match against the cage with punches to the side of the head in Round 1.  Even though Barry wasn't out, he was just covering up and not doing anything.  Since his spirit was broken, it was only a matter of time before his body broke as well.

Davis vs. Sexton:  This match should have been stopped in Round 2.  Davis had taken Sexton's back, got her hooks in and flattened her out, pummeling her relentlessly on both sides of her head.  Sexton wasn't defending herself intelligently at all.  She just covered her head and lay there, doing nothing!  Nonetheless, Davis still won, using her superior grappling and size advantage to get the decision.  Overall, it was a pretty exciting fight and I look forward to seeing who Davis gets next.

Jimmo vs. Pokrajac:  The first one-and-a-half rounds were exciting.  Pokrajac got Jimmo with a combo against the cage, catching him with a couple of strong hooks.  Jimmo later dropped him with a left hook and rushed him against the cage.  After that, both fighters ran out of steam and it turned into a grinding affair on the ground.  So of course, all of the casuals started booing.  I just decided to ignore them and enjoy the match anyway.  After an attempted guillotine, Pokrajac basically gave up.  He just stood there holding his arms out to his side every time he was in the clinch, looking completely out of it.  In the end, Jimmo got a well-earned decision.

Nelson vs. Miocic:  Wow!  I never thought that I would ever see Miocic school "Big Country."  Miocic took Nelson apart with three and four punch combos, using his superior speed to avoid Nelson's power shots.  Miocic actually ran away a few times to escape Nelson's punches, including an uppercut that would have decapitated him if it had connected.  I thought that Nelson would fall back on his Brazilian jiu-jitsu when he realized that striking wasn't going to work.  However, it seems that, after years of getting one hit KOs, he has forsaken his grappling game.  He was taken down and did nothing on the ground.  This was definitely the best fight of the PPV, and proves that boxing is an underrated martial art.  After this, Miocic deserves another top-five opponent.  I would love to see how well he would do against Fabricio Werdum.

Henderson vs. Evans:  Watching this fight was like watching a chess match: interesting because of the strategy involved.  Hendo was focused on setting up his H-bomb, whereas "Suga" was concentrating on darting in and out with combos.  Henderson was able to catch Evans with a stiff jab in Round 1 and managed to swarm him.  Other than that, he didn't do any real damage.  Evans, on the other hand, managed a successful take down and tagged Henderson with flurries and jabs, outpointing him to get the split decision.  In other words, I was wrong: Evans is still relevant in the division.  I would love to see a match between him and Glover Teixiera next.  Hendo's days as a contender, on the other hand, are basically over.  Like Shogun, the former Pride and Strikeforce champion is destined to be a gatekeeper for the new breed of fighters. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My UFC 161 Predictions

I wasn't too excited about this card after Barao vs. Wineland and Shogun vs. Little Nog were killed by the injury bug.  However, after seeing that Alexis Davis will be fighting on the main card, I decided to give it a chance.  Here are my predictions for tonight's PPV:

Barry vs. Jordan:  Even though neither one of these guys is championship material, this should still be an interesting brawl.  I see "The Savage" winning via a KO in Round 3.

Winner: Jordan via KO.

Davis vs. Sexton:  Finally, another women's fight on the main card!  I really look forward to seeing Alexis Davis in action at last, especially after reading that she gave Sarah Kaufman a run for her money.  Since Davis has overcome stiffer competition than Sexton, I see Davis smashing "The Surgeon" in Round 1.

Winner: Davis via KO.

Jimmo vs. Pokrajac:  I'm not familiar with either fighter, so I'm going with my gut on this one.  Even though Pokrajac has more experience in the UFC, I believe that "Big Deal" will upset "The Duke" via decision.

Winner: Jimmo via decision.

Nelson vs. Miocic:  Miocic is a decent, hardworking fighter.  Unfortunately, that does not cut it against a guy like "Big Country."  I see Nelson flattening Miocic by Round 2 at the latest.

Winner: Nelson via KO.

Evans vs. Henderson:  Normally, I would pick "Suga" without hesitation.  However, his last match against Little Nog was a disaster.  At this level, all of the skill and athleticism in the world won't help you if your heart isn't in it anymore and I truly believe that Evans has lost his hunger.  Hendo, on the other hand, is desperate to regain his title shot against Jones, so I believe that he will end this quickly with an H-bomb.

Winner: Henderson via KO.