Updated: Feb 1, 2019
Traditional vs. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA):
The Martial Arts have been underwater conceptually for a long time. And that has almost everything to do with perception. The arts themselves are solid, the techniques, the traditions, the history. That stuff doesn’t need air to breathe, nor does it require the approval of popular opinion. But opinion steers the culture, and a lot of what we see is downright goofy looking.
A “master” waves a hand and six healthy adults go flying across the room. Thank you internet, for giving everyone a platform to share misinformation and poor quality video footage. But I digress.
Lets talk about MMA. Mixed Martial Arts.
MMA came onto the scene as the study of traditional martial arts was quickly losing steam. Of course there were diehards and exceptions to this rule (as there are with any rule) but you’ll have a hard time convincing anyone that the mysticism and intrigue of the traditional martial arts wasn’t dwindling significantly. MMA showed up like a giant spotlight pointing out the flaws of the traditional arts. Full of big personalities and impressive athleticism and undeniable entertainment value, everybody jumped onto the bandwagon.
But how exactly did MMA make traditional martial arts "look bad"?
It essentially showed that if you focus on only one skill (i.e. striking or grappling) you are extremely vulnerable to a practitioner in another art. It simultaneously showed that if you master a skill that has an elaborate rule set (i.e. tae kwon do or boxing) you will find yourself susceptible to another striker that has broader skills and or a less limited rule set (muay thai, kickboxing etc.). Ultimately showing a traditional approach as ineffectual.
MMA good, traditional arts bad.
The problem is, as a collective…we really threw the baby out with the bathwater and didn’t look back. The general consensus being that the traditional arts had nothing more to offer. So chuck them in the bin. This is interesting though, since a ton of MMA stars came out of traditional arts (GSP and the Diaz brothers just to name a few).
Let me reiterate that this commentary has more to do with the perception of the wider culture than it does those who train, be it MMA or any Martial Art you can think of. It's the masses that have been misled when it comes to the value and the depths that exist in the realms of the martial arts. Which is a shame, because I think they are the ones with the most to gain. Unfortunately these days, everyone is an expert on everything. Even if they haven’t trained a day in their life. So it can be tricky to find quality in the quantity.
MMA is full of wonderful lessons, and it is extremely effective for self defense. But I think it is fair to say that it has really been stripped down to the bare essentials of a training system. And I’d argue that 90% of the public has zero interest in beating someone against a cage (or having someone beat them against a cage for that matter). So a void exists between MMA and the public.
Now lets talk about traditional arts. These systems possess the keys to meeting the mental and emotional needs of those who study, but are weak when it comes to self defense. So there is a space there too.
When MMA was in its formative years, someone who was motivated, athletic and tough could arguably train for 6 months and stand a good chance in the ring. These days, the level has gone up. Great fighters make training into a lifestyle, they train for years They eat, sleep and breath it. Training to fight professionally and training for self defense are two very different things.
The average person trains in muay thai, brazillian jiujitsu, wrestling, boxing etc. for two to three years. The training to fight is very difficult, and realistically it is not necessary or even advisable for the average person.
MMA has a short shelf life, fighters take a lot of abuse. We have’t even begun to understand the repercussions fighters are exposed to.
And while the public loves the entertainment value of things like the UFC, they don’t want to experience the extreme violence of it. What the average person can truly benefit from are the practical self defense aspects and the mental discipline of training.
MMA is sort of like a kid that grew up and started eating its parents. Fighters show a lot of disdain for the traditional roots. Take Brazilian jiu-jitsu , you don’t have to go far to find a fighter willing to shred it. And there's a reason for that. When bjj first showed up in MMA, no one knew how to deal with it. These days you can hardly expect to keep a guard on anyone. Now the wrestlers are comfortable so they adapt. Everyone has adapted. The unfamiliar only stays that way for a short time before it is broken down and absorbed by the whole.
These guys are incredible athletes. And they’re good enough to use traditional arts effectively. They’re coming around and they’re getting good enough to do it in the ring against other incredible athletes. Techniques people said would never work in the cage are showing up, and it's only the beginning.
But the disconnect still exists. Between the perception of value, the applicability and the genuine practical needs of the public.
MUHO MARTIAL ARTS
The beauty of this style is that is can be made applicable to anyone.
MUHO addresses the needs of the masses.
MUHO means outlaw. And the name is a perfect fit for the style. MUHO (Outlaw) Martial Arts. The bridge between traditional and modern. It defies the common misconceptions about both, and brings them together into something better.
It addresses striking and grappling holistically to address the shortcomings demonstrated by MMA while still staying true to the martial arts history of learning discipline and commitment to continuous skill development.
(If you're wondering about the guy who came up with MUHO, he just so happens to be the head of our school. To learn more about the man, the myth, the legend...check out the About Us section of this website.)
Traditional arts have some great stuff: discipline, mental training and mysticism. The values are simultaneously technical, holistic and aesthetic.
MMA has function that people love, it develops real skills, and there is no gray area when it comes to effectiveness. You can either apply the training and win, or you cannot.
But the two haven't historically played well together. And not for a total lack of trying. Others have seen this disconnect, the need to bring together the best of both. But so far, nothing has managed it.
Here's the thing. Fighters are almost always natural athletes first and foremost. So they are not a great tell for the health of a training system. A great athlete can make a name for an okay system. But a great system needs to deliver at every level, to every student.
We have to look at the whole picture. What seems to happen is that someone will get sort of close, they will think they’ve found the answer. And then they stop looking anywhere else.
The founder of the MUHO method knew he had to look at everything. To leave no stone unturned. To gather a synopsis of all of the methods. Dissect them, find the common threads. Discover what works and what doesn’t. And not just for elite athletes. For everyone.
Don’t be fooled. This art has the tools a great fighter wants and needs too. It's just not exclusively for them.
If you study different training systems you will see wide areas of discrepancy. Some beginner levels for MMA training contains two years worth of material, others only six weeks.
Another disconnect, another void.
The most common approach is to make a system into a lifestyle. Whether it is bjj, wrestling, muay thai, boxing…you name it. This way, you are pretty much guaranteed the training you are after, but it requires a huge commitment. To be considered good takes a really long time.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu averages 10 years, muay thai around 3 years of regular training. To be considered good. And you lose it pretty quickly once you aren’t training regularly. You have to keep it sharp to stay relevant in the art. You can’t keep up if you take a break.
When we consider the traditional arts, there is one glaring issue that really sticks out above the rest:
Somewhere along the lines traditional martial arts became compliant. And if it isn’t going to work against someone who is fighting back, well whats the point?
Years ago Mr. Randall Brown told his second in command that the future of the martial arts was in successfully blending the traditional with MMA.
So he started testing the theory in his own dojo. Something like 50 curriculums and lots of trial and error went into searching for the key.
In addition to testing this theory in his dojo, Mr. Brown was bouncing ideas off of a friend who also happens to be an accomplished MMA fighter. He helped to narrow it down.
To compete in MMA you need to be an encyclopedia of techniques.
Most people want MMA in theory, not practice.
Which means they need to study MMA as an art, not as a sport.
That's it. That's the difference.
And that is MUHO.
MUHO Martial Arts is a play on the familiarly used MMA, MUHO brings in the traditional elements of the martial arts that have been missing in MMA as we've known it.
Think of it this way. You can be a runner in incredible running shape and never be an Olympic athlete. You can have the lifestyle without the competition.
So study MMA as an art. Integrate it into who you are.
This does not require the same type of commitment as being an MMA fighter. The goal does not have to be to compete on an international level with the best fighters in the world.
The goal is to integrate it into your life as something you can utilize in all aspects, without making it your life. This is a big difference between training to be a professional fighter, and training in an art designed to establish a healthy lifestyle.
When you apply traditional knowledge to MMA training, you get the best self defense and fitness you can hope for. Applicable at any level. And it maintains the mysticism and beauty of traditional arts.
This is not watered down. It couldn’t be, or it would lose it's integrity.
This is not a diluted MMA experience. It is a system designed to provide the best level of training to each level of student.
Mr. Brown began breaking it down by thinking about how you would need to train for an MMA amateur league. He wanted to isolate the bare essentials. (That's another key). What are the bare essentials someone would need to succeed at that level?
And that is how the style started to evolve. Out of a little more than exactly what is necessary.
The goal: to be formidable with a condensed art.
Students must become exceptional at what they learn. It isn’t a McDojo approach to MMA.
Having trained in many traditional arts, and having trained world champions in MMA and grappling it was somewhat easy to safeguard against this. He chose what works in reality, not in theory.
MUHO is the best of both worlds. And it is good for everyone. The beauty is, whatever level you take it to, you can expect to excel and maintain effectiveness. So whether your goal is self defense, or competition…you can find what you need in this system. And you can make it a part of who and what you are.
It is in a sense, and adaptation of MMA for self defense and self perfection. It encompasses the ideals of Asia with the effectiveness of MMA.
This system contains a lot of the same skills that are required to create champions. But with a different goal. You can compete with this art if you want to, you would just have to adjust the training to fit that goal.
Again, this is the big difference and this is why it works. The goal is different, but the skills developed are solid. The training can be applied differently to fit a variety of goals. But the foundational goal is to have an art that works for everyone. That combines the best of traditional and mixed martial arts.
What can you expect to come out of this with?
An in depth knowledge of MMA
A realistic skill set
Practical self defense
An effective fitness regimen
Knowledge of a healthy diet
Conditioning & endurance
The wide reaching benefits of mental training
A practical knowledge of human anatomy
But to really boil it down: you are training to be in the shape and mental condition of a fighter.
The same knowledge, with a different execution.
There is value for everyone in the martial arts. And it doesn’t have to have a single thing to do with violence.
To quote G.K. Chesteron: “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”