Friday, 21 September 2007

Street fighting and MMA style fighting

Over the last few years we have seen UFC, Pride and others bring out the most advanced fighters the world has ever seen. They are able to punch, kick, grapple, ground fight and submit. Also the level of fitness they attain for each fight makes them some of most well conditioned athletes alive. Does this mean that they are also great street fighters? Firstly let me point out that when i say MMA fighter for this topic i am referring to MMA sport fighters who train under rules and regulations. And this is just what i mean. RULES AND REGULATIONS. In a street fight there is no ref, so no one will stop you gouging eyes and pulling inside of cheeks (fish hooking) if there are weapons around (sticks, bottles, walls to be thrown into) you wont get disqualified by using them to your advantage, and most importantly IN TODAY'S DAY AND AGE YOU DON'T FIGHT JUST ONE PERSON. This is the most important point. If your rolling around on the floor looking for a submission or clinched up trying to deliver knees and elbows his/her friend will probably creep behind you and do all sorts of damage. You have to be able to finish one guy off quickly so you can either worry about the next or run like hell! Now don't get me wrong, i love watching and training MMA and a lot of techniques they use are very practical and useful, but you must realise that street fighting is a completely different thing. Theres loads of good books that give more information on this and the best techniques to use and avoid in a street fight so i wont bore you with them. All I'm saying is sometimes when training, think what would be the best strategy if your were out on the streets with no RULES!!!

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Judomofo said...

Wow, I couldn't disagree more.

First,if I can dominate you in a Judo match, and a Karate match, then my chances once the rules are removed are even greater for me to beat you.

First off an MMA fighter gets hit, deals with adrenaline, is in fighting confrontations regularly.

The average person is not. They don't gouge eyes, kick knees, or hit groins, they don't do ANYTHING at the speed or intensity of a MMA fighter, much less have to do it under adrenaline.

I have seen a ton of dudes who look great in the dojo, get into confrontations and freeze up. I have seen fighters who look great in the practice ring, wilt when it is game time.

Thinking that you are going to some how shine through in a confrontation situation (which you are rarely in) and be better at it than someone WHO DOES IT FOR A LIVING, is ridiculous.

That is like thinking you are going to be a better driver than a NASCAR driver on a road track because they have to drive around on a round track.

I promise you are not going to be more ruthless than a MMA fighter. You aren't going to surpise him with an eye gouge, or a groin kick in a real fight. They will take you at range, get in close, thumb you in the while while striking, knock you out, or just flat out embarass you.

I would equate your argument to thinking that the average joe who plays street ball thinking he will beat an NBA player one on one because of lack of rules.

Or thinking that you can deal with Professional NFL player in a backyard pick up game "because there are no refs out here".

You remove the rules from professional fighters, not only will they be prepared, but they are in a better position to use eye gouges, groin kicks etc, because they have trained to be accurate under pressure, and prove themselves to be, and becuase they will control the position, tempo, and speed of a fight.

Given the fact that they are professional athletes, they are going to be stronger, faster, more agile, and thus much more capable of pulling off any given technique.

You know this whole argument was given at the beginning of MMA, when Karateka and strikers talked about how they trained for real, while Judo, BJJ, and wrestlers trained for sport.

Needless to say there were a ton of humiliated Karateka out there.

For 40 years there No Rules Vale Tudo matches in Brasil, dominated by BJJ players. There are tons of countless videos of the internet of Karateka, Kung Fu, Aikido, Dim Mak practitioners getting annihilated by MMA fighters.

Yet these pointless arguements persist.

Put it this way>

There are a TON of rules and regulations in the PGA. Which types of clubs, balls, shafts and such that be used.

Many golfers on your local course are using oversized drivers, forgiving caved irons, balls designed to do more, etc.

Now your argument would be that if given every single tool available (oversized drivers, forgiving club heads, specialized balls, specialized putters, range finders, etc)

That a person could beat someone like Tiger Woods. Hell let's not say that, let's say any professional golfer on the tour. Any of the 135 or so of them.

So with a few tools, that supposedly will make one more effective, would you say they would be able to beat a professional golfer? Even if the pro golfer is forced to use entirely regulation stuff.

Now, let's say that the golfer is also allowed to use all those same tools.

Who do you think could hit an oversized driver farther? The average club level golfer, or a professional golfer?

Not only would the pro golfer smoke you using his regulation equipment (no need for that other stuff) but he would further demolish you with the non regulation stuff.

Fighting is no different than any other physical activity.

My point is even with you not using any rules, and a professional MMA fighter using his limited rule set he would still demolish you. (You being any non pro fighter, because you are essentially a hobbyist)

Now if you remove the ruleset from the professional fighter, he is in better position to take advantage of those other techniques he is limited from. He is not hampered by it, because he has to intentionally stop himself from breaking those rules. (How many times do you see them getting warned about hitting the back of the head, and low blows?) By being a position where he can fully let go, you would be in a world of hurt.

Trust me, I would much rather get kicked in the balls from Strip mall Sensei joe, then from Mirko Cro Cop.

Just my opinion.

-Judomofo Y!Answers. said...


You are right, as long as your fighting one one in the street, and the person your fighting does not have a knife or gun under his jacket. But the bottomline is nearly all street figts now a days are one against many, and lots of people carry weapons.

If your attacked by two people and your on your own, theres no point hitting one of them more than twice at the most, as his partner will come up behind you and do damadge. What my article says is that sometimes, training with realistic street scenarios in mind is needed, as well as competition style fighting.

Lori O'Connell said...

I don't think Mark was saying that an average joe would be able to take on an skilled MMA fighter just because he learned a few "dirty" tricks.

Mark does make a strong point about multiple attackers though. You have to actively train in dealing with multiple attackers to effectively learn how to deal with the heightened combat stress effects (tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, etc.) that result. You can read more about that in my blog post, Defending Against Multiple Attackers.

Also, many MMA fighters rely heavily on ground grappling, if they were to use these tactics when there are multiple attackers, they are quite prone while dealing with a single person. In the meantime, that person's buddies can kick at will. Consider this statistic: The most common cause of death in a street fight is a kick to the head. You can read more about the dangers of ground grappling in street defense in my blog post, Why Grappling is More Effective in the Ring than in Reality.

Sun Tzu said something along the lines of "Train like you fight. Fight Like You train." I think this is particularly apt in this context. said...

Exactly right Lori. In the ring, a well rounded MMA fighter should have no trouble against a boxer, judo fighter, Thai boxer, karate fighter or whatever else becuase having an all round game will give him the tools needed to work on his opponents weak points, but in the street where you are most likely to face more than one person, its a whole different way of fighting.

Anonymous said...


I'm glad you point this out. I have been involved with many brawls that include beer bottles and being kicked when your down. I stay off the ground when in a street fight and keep a wall to my back to prevent a sneak attack.

Anonymous said...

Lots of MMA fighters have had weapons training and even come from traditional martial art backgrounds where eye pokes and groin strikes were taught.

What would stop an MMA fighter from carrying a knife/gun with them? Would you agree that someone trained to fight and had the intent to use the knife/gun in a fight would be just as dangerous? Maybe more so?

If someone cannot handle one attacker, what makes them think they can handle several? The odds are already against the victim but if they don't have the fighting ability to deal with 1 person they are going to be even less effective against 2 or more.

I agree that to be effective against multiple attackers you have to train it but it should be done when you are comfortable with 1 opponent.

Lori, I agree with you that one fights like they train. Sun Tzu also said war is expensive and should be won by other means if possible. I interpret this as legal, medical and dental bills, time off work to heal, time in prison if convicted of something. All these things will cost me in some way so maybe it's best just to not fight.

With the above point in mind, the only thing that is left is planned attacks where a victim will never be ready. For example, anyone stabbed while they are asleep during a home invasion surely could not have defended themselves. Obviously there are ways to protect yourself during a home invasion such as alarm systems but my point is that if your not ready, not aware (which is the basis for the plan) of/for a planned attack the odds are being stacked against you no matter your training.

jgar said...

JodoMoFo has got a point ,but when involved in a street confrontation you don't know who the other guy is or what he knows. Since MMA fighters are trained to be agressive, they don't have the fear to keep themselves in check.Thats good if your going to fight someone thats not a trained fighter or fights like you do. When MMA first came out and they were beating everybody, you can bet that other trained fighters were in their dojo or garage learning and working on ways to defeat
them. I purchased a small self defense course that claimed they could show you how to defeat anyone in 5 secs. One technique
was to palm a small 2in blade knife that is legal everywhere ,even in california, that is easliy concealed . Anyway if your attacker comes in high, you cover like a boxer
both hands up as soon as the other person is in range you stick that little knife in his neck or slash across his belly. If he comes in low you step back with one foot and stick that 2in balde in his face, eye, side of the head whatever is presented they tell you to do this repeatedly untill your out of danger.
You use the other persons agression against them . I've been in martial arts for 23 yrs
and guess what I just purchased a 2 in knife.
Doesn't the information above send shivers down your spine ?
It did mine . So my point is you could come up against someone that is crazy enough to use that information and get yourself killed.
That is the reailty of the street.
Peace !!

Anonymous said...

I know a professional mma fighter who was jumped on the streets by 11 men and he sent them all to the hospital.

Theres no way a street fighter could beat an mma fighter.

Low Tech Combat said...

I can see both sides of the argument here.

I believe that MMA training should be the foundation skill, the thing that we spend the most time training in.

The other training activity to spend time with is doing some RBSD courses, at least one a year. The good ones have realistic scenarios which are designed to instil fear and apprehension amongst other things. This will be the reminder to periodically do some more 'street' type training to assist in transitioning the already competent MMA skills and just tweak it a bit for the street.

Spend some time doing one against many and weapons attacks and combinations of those. For example, during one v two training, one of the attackers has a concealed knife (training one of course) and at any time he draws it and starts stabbing it into the guys guts.

There are many possibilities but essentially, i believe MMA should be the foundation skill. It gives you the ability to apply techniques on a 100% resisting opponent. It just needs to be tweaked or refreshed every now and then.

Anonymous said...

An mma fighter would beat anyone on the street. Period

Anonymous said...

A kung fu artist would beat a mma any day.

Anonymous said...

I think the question is not wether an MMA-fighter is better than a black-belt from a traditional style (which probably will be the case: the MMA-fighter is a wellrounded professional, the black belt usually is neither), the question is what Works best in a street-situation. Let me clarify that: what would work best for an average person who isn’t being paid to fight (and consequently isn’t very inclined to take regular beatings which are inevitable if you want to get good at or compete in MMA), who has a busy family, social or professional life and who can train only a few times a week.

On top of that most people aren’t exactly athletes nor big and strong so alot of the wrestling in MMA is out. For them it would make sense to train only those techniques that are easy to learn and are proven effective, without having to resort to ground-fighting with all the risks that involves (landing on concrete or broken glass, being kicked in the head, having a much larger and stronger guy on top of you, being stabbed while wrestling on the ground…), dealing with weapons etcetera. In that respect krav-maga or any reality-based self-defence system (which involves using and dealing with weapons, all types of attacks or attempts to throw or take-down and basic down-and dirty groundfighting for worst-case scenario’s) would make more sense than MMA. MMA requires one to be an athlete, to lift weights regularly and to put in hours and hours of grueling training. Is it effective? Certainly. Is it efficient? Not really: learning a simple groin-kick only takes a couple of hours to master, learning a high roundhouse-kick to the head takes many months to perfect. Kicking someone in the groin is fast, easy and effective (it’s hard to defend and it doesn’t leave much opening for counters), kicking somebody in the head is relatively slow, difficult (wearing jeans, heavy boots, while tired…) and there will be hell to pay if the technique doesn’t work. My point is: for the same amount of training-hours you’ll get a much better result (in terms of being able to defend yourself in street-situations) with for example krav-maga than with MMA.

Also, MMA doesn’t include weapons-training: in one-on-one empty-hand situations professional MMA-fighters are virtually unbeatable (after all it’s what they train, live and get paid for), against a skilled or even semi-skilled knife-fighter they’ll be the underdog. While it’s true facing a weapon empty-handed puts anyone at a disadvantage, studying certain arts or self-defence systems (like kali or krav-maga) will at least give you a fighting chance, even more so if you can get hold of some type of equalizer-weapon. If you try to box or kick against someone with a knife your arms and legs will be cut open, if you try to take them down you’ll get stabbed in the process. Weapons multiply one’s power: being big and strong won’t protect you against a knife-thrust and when it comes to dealing with those types of attacks MMA-fighers simply are untrained. You cannot protect yourself from techniques you haven’t trained for and self-defence is different than sports, no matter how good you are at it.

Don’t get me wrong: MMA is great and has alot to offer (especially in terms of cross-training) but outside of a sports-context there are more efficient, if not more effective arts.

Just my two cents.

Lori O'Connell said...

Nicely put.

Anonymous said...

The question which seems to be surfacing alot is the question which approach, style, training-regimen or background is best for streetfighting or fighting in general. The general consensus seems to be MMA-fighters are very strong contenders but that they do lack in certain area’s and thus are not invincible (but who is?). The strength and combat-power of this type of fighter seems to come from a wide variety of sources: their stamina and superb physical conditioning, their system (which is a blend of different styles designed to capitalise on other styles’ weaknessess), their fighting-experience gained through competition (the ability to cope with stress, take punches, make split-second decisions, timing…), their more than likely prior experience/blackbelts in more traditional styles (including techniques of dirty-fighting that aren’t allowed in the ring), their also more-than-likely practical street-fighting experience and the fact they are doing this professionally (meaning they can devote practically all their time on improving their fighting-skills and physical conditioning).

Now I’d like to introduce two other types of formidable hand-to-hand fighters: the professional martial-artist/grandmaster and the special-forces soldier. With professional martial-artists or grandmasters I do not mean black-belts (even those of 5th/6th dan or higher) who train only a few times a week nor those of mainstream sport-like, rather one-sided styles like karate, judo or even thaiboxing (no matter how high their grade or their experience and succes in competition). As Judomofo stated these people, while possible quite effective, are basically hobbyists and while they’ll probably be more than able to take on your typical street-brawler (loud, drunk, wide swings) or even a few of them and may perform adequately or even outstandingly against people of their own style or category (striking, grappeling) they can hardly be called ultimate fighters.

The people I’m talking about are those individuals (the few, the proud) who stem from genuine warrior-traditions (forged on the battlefield, designed to kill or maim, with or without weapons, in a matter of seconds) who train the old-fashioned way (which will not be any less grueling than those of MMA-people while, most likely starting at a very young age), who learned from the best (receiving the highest recognition, like the title of grandmaster) and who spend their lives training and teaching others (and thus may be called professionals in their own way).

Examples would be Shoto Tanemura from Genbukan-ninpo (founder of the Genbukan/KJJR-jujutsu organisation, holder of menkyo-kaiden, or the highest teachings, in no less than 27 traditional Japanese or Chinese fighting traditions, almost all born out of battlefield-conditions or covert-ops), Dan Inosanto (the highest living authority on JKD, the only person ever to receive full-instructorship in said art from Bruce Lee himself, master or grandmaster in many styles of the Filipino Martial Arts/Indonesian-Malaysian Silat and blackbelt-holder in a plethora of others – BJJ, thaiboxing, savate, American kenpo…) or the highest ranking/best Shaolin fighting-monk (I’m not very familiar with Chinese martial-arts so I cannot give you names but you get the idea).

The other category of ‘super’-fighter is the special-forces soldier: a professional with lots of schooling in hand-to-hand/close quarters military combat, the product of an intense almost super-human selection and training program covering all normal and special military skills and preferably (for our purposes) not only experience in actual black-ops but also in hand-to-hand (bare hand, knife…) killing. Needless to say these guys are as fit and physically conditioned as Olympic athletes with perfect reflexes and tough as nails with astounding pain-tolerance capabilities.

Now the question is, where it’s obvious their fighting-skills are unsurpassed in their own domain and they’ll have no trouble holding their own in any street-fight (many against one, weapons…), which one of them (MMA-professional, grandmaster, special-forces soldier) would be the true ultimate fighter? In other words (a bit sloganesk, I know): which type of fighter would deadliest in hand-to-hand combat? Now I’m not going to offer my own opinion just yet, I’m curious about your answers.

Btw, I do know this is pure speculation and this is impossible to ‘prove’ for real but that doesn’t matter here. Just let your imagination run wild.

Anonymous said...

you say mma is not effective in the street and there are better martial arts you can use but ANY martial arts is mma as long as you know more than one martial art it is mixed martial arts so u cant say a boxer would beat a mma fighter or a krav maga would because mma incorporates those arts as well now for street fights training mma myself i know that in a street fight it is different and i will not fight clean cause i know they wont there for i have a greater advantage of winning even against multiple opponents an mma fighter is more likely to use low blows pressure points or eye gouges in a street fight than a normal person in a street fight cause he is not in a rules and regulations match he is in the street and he will protect himself at any means

but anything can happen in a fight

John W. Zimmer said...

Good article! I think a good MMA fighter could transition but fighters do tend to fight the way they train.

The street does not have any rules except for any self-imposed rules. When I used to be a bouncer and was fighting a lot of sport tournments - I found myself kicking people in the head. Luckly that worked but had someone taken out my knees, I might have been suprised.

Anonymous said...

I’m presuming you’re commenting on my message (I'm referring to 'anonymus' here), if that’s the case I have the following to say: first of all I did not claim MMA was ineffective, what I did claim was that’s it’s less efficient in terms of self-defence and for the average joe than self-defence orientated arts. Effectiveness and efficiency are two completely different things: effectiveness simply means can it (a technique, way, solution…) get the job done or not? Efficiency means how quickly and with how much force/effort can the goal of effectiveness be gained. Perhaps an example would be helpful here: lets say I have to move a pile of bricks from point A to point B, naturally there are several ways I can accomplish that goal. For brevity’s sake we’ll consider just two: moving the bricks by hand or loading them unto a cart and moving them. In both case the goal will be accomplished (the pile of bricks that was in point A will now be in point B) but I think it’s clear the first method will take much more time and effort than the second one, hence it is less efficient (while equally effective in the end). This is for a young bloke: I seriously doubt MMA has anything to offer for older people just looking for a few moves/tactics to get a mugger of their backs.

The same can be said about the comparison between MMA and for example krav-maga: for the purpose of self-defence you’ll get more or less the same result (being able to defend yourself succesfully) but krav-maga will get you there much faster and more efficiently. Krav maga was orginally a military system designed to give conscripts at least a basic understanding and competence in hand-to-hand combat and this in terms of weeks or months (if they’d be so lucky as to get a few months worth of training) not years.Of course this applies only to unarmed situations and one-on-one confrontations: as I said (and I think I made a valid point there) MMA does have its weaknessess (like any other system or style) and it is true weapons-training is simply not part of a standard MMA-curriculum, least of all a sports-orientated one.

As to your comment about the concept of MMA being applicable to to any hybrid-style: while you do have a point I think it’s rather obvious (given the context) I meant the sports-version (a combination of mainly boxing, thaiboxing, wrestling and BJJ/shooto) as featured in UFC, Pride… Besides: your definition of MMA being knowing any two or more martial-arts is unsound. ‘Mixed’ means these arts are combined and the training is geared towards making the most of the speciality of the different styles while also making them work together. If I train in both judo and boxing I may have extensive knowledge regarding a striking and a grappling style but that doesn’t necessarily mean I can use the two together effectively. MMA is a concept or a philosophy regarding training, not just a bunch of arts trained in succession.

Btw: krav-maga is NOT part of MMA-training. As mentioned earlier most MMA-styles are a combination of boxing, thaiboxing, wrestling and BJJ/shooto and while krav-maga and MMA both use alot of the same techniques this does not make them identical. Krav-maga (being in effect a sort of mixed-martial art since it combines techniques of ju-jutsu, thaiboxing, wrestling… the founder was a boxer/wrestler after all) has an entirely different mindset, training-methods and objectives than MMA. If you’d use krav-maga principles and technique-application in the ring I’m pretty sure you’d get disqualified immidiately. Hence it makes alot more sense for people opting for self-defence to go for krav-maga or something similar, especially for women, older people, the disabled…

I did not claim that a boxer would defeat an MMA-figher nor a practioner of krav-maga, if you read my comment carefully you would have known that. It’s completely beside the point really.

I hope this clarifies a few things.



PS: it might be a good idea to use punctuation in your comments. I know this is the internet and everything goes but it does make it much easier to read what you’re saying and thus helps communication-wise.

KarateStudent said...

KarateStudent("KS") re: No Rules Street Fight

Marks has presented what KS believes is the 'breakthrough' consideration for actual fighting or self-defense--the no rules streetfight.

KS has posted that the applied goal of martial arts, hence karate is to defeat you opponent (or opponents here) in a physical confrontation. KS holds that the 'no rules' conflict is the ultimate test of the martial artist's capability.

In summary, KS adopts and follows the guiding principles set out by Lori O'Connell's post, as the valid ones. The weakness with JodoMoFO? and many other reply posts is that they make assumptions and generalizations about various styles, approaches. For example, one commentator says kung fu wins vs., yet another says MMA trumnps karate, boxing, or any individual style. While stimulating good discussion, the only universal truth is MARKS post elsewhere which states that the best, realistic fighter wins. The simple truth: the best fighter wins.

In a 'no rules' situation, JodoMoFo and others will not have luxury of making assumptions or generalizations because the situation is completely unknowable and unpredictable until it happens. Take MARKS message to heart. KS would cycle back to Lori O'Connell's thinking and look deeper into that.

If you make an assumption or generalization, that's imposing a 'rule' where there aren't any. Listen to MARKS!

Anonymous said...

Regarding multiple attachers:

You should still study the standard MMA curriculum (Muay Thai, boxing, wrestling, judo, BJJ) but you EMPHASIZE standup striking, throws and take down defenses, and DE-EMPHASIZE ground grappling.

The possiblility of multiple attackers doesn't mean that you study completely ineffective traditional martial arts, which are ineffective even against one attacker.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Judomofo on all of the things that he said. I am sick of hearing this argument about which fighting style is better. Nine times out of ten the person who is more calm, in better shape, and better trained will win. Doesn't matter which martial art you train in. I have taken many forms of martial arts. None were close to boxing/kickboxing/muai thai and jiu jitsu/judo. These are the rare martial arts where you do as someone stated earlier "train like you fight". You go balls to the wall the entire time. I've taken aikido, kenpo, and some others. I didn't like them cause we always went half speed. I don't want to hear all that crap about no rules in the street. Anyone with half a brain would realize that and do whatever was necessary to win and go home. Do you not think that a jiu jitsu practitioner realizes that in the street once he has you on the ground he can stick a thumb in your eye, or punch you in the balls. I also don't want to hear that crap about not fighting on the ground because of multiple attackers. That is ridiculous. I've seen many bar fights and they all end up on the ground. Now wouldn't it make sense to be trained in fighting on the ground. In a one on one situation you can work the guy over easily. If there are multiple attackers you have the upper hand to be able to move into a position where you can stand up. Most people don't know how to do that, and would end up wrestling on the ground. It doesn't matter what martial art you take, it depends on the person in any situation. All martial arts should teach you to avoid a fight first and foremost, and to never underestimate your opponent(s). If they don't then they are giving you a false sense of security. But if it happens you have more training than the average joe to be level headed and calm under the pressure. However, I would put my money on someone who trains in MMA over any other fighter. Simply because they know more ways to end a fight than anyone else. I don't want to hear about multiple attackers, weapons, etc. That is just garbage. If someone pulls out a weapon or more than one guy are fighting you then you are most likely going to lose anyways. This is life, not a Steven Seagal movie. And whoever said that he likes to get his back to a wall in an earlier post is a moron. That is the dumbest thing you can do. Where is your escape route tough guy? All in all this is a dumb argument. But it's always fun to read this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Mark is right. The only thing predictable in a street fight is its unpredictability. All I see are a lot of butt hurt posters here, especially the comment above mine, lol! Unless you have actually been in street fights and won the fights using your MMA training, you can't sit here and confidently theorize you will win the fight because that's all that armchair theory. Nobody should discount the very real possibility of multiple attackers and weapons. To do so is just plain stupidity. IMO the best defense against multiple attackers and weapons is to run as fast as you can.

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