Monday, 16 March 2009

Does Size Matter in the Martial Arts?

In order to be a good martial artist, very good crisp technique is a must. There is no doubt about it. With regards to striking, you must obtain correct instruction in order to be able to use your body to generate enough power without gaining bad habits, and to be a successful grappler, you must be able to create and use leverage in order to throw, control or submit your opponent. Is this enough though? Can your body give you an edge over your opponent no matter how good your martial art technique is? Does size matter in the martial arts?

This is another classic topic where many say yes, being bigger than your opponent will give an advantage while others completely ignore there opponents size and believe that good technique will always provide victory.

In UFC 1 Teila Tuli took on Gerard Gordeau whilst heavily outweighing in. His size did not matter however. Gordeau finished his opponent with ease. Fedor Emelianenko also had a relatively easy time against Hong Man Choi who towered above him. This though, was not a problem to Fedor, who caught him in an arm bar early in Round 1. Frank Mir looked like he was getting beaten to a pulp against Brock Lesnar on the ground, but managed to use his grappling skills on the giant Lesnar to gain a knee bar victory. These are just a few examples of how smaller fighters have took on bigger fighters and have used pure technique to gain victory over there adversaries even when the odds where stacked against them.

However, what about if a fighter is big, but also has good technique. Going back to Brock Lesnar, he tried to use brute strength against Frank Mir but ended up losing the fight. It seemed though that he learnt from his mistakes. Against Randy Couture, who many consider to be one of the greatest, most technical fighters in the world, he relied not solely on strength but also displayed some good technique. He ended up winning that fight.

The truth is size does matter to some degree. Most of the time, the bigger someone is, the more power they will have. Grapplers will know that having a bigger person on top of them can be a great struggle sometimes to get them off. Strikers will also know that being hit by a bigger person with larger limbs can be quit painful.

However, people train for this, get used to fighting people of all sizes and work out the best ways to deal with them. Size most probably will present initial problems to some, but bigger people regardless off there size are still human and can be knocked down by strikes and submitted with techniques. Having solid martial art training in ones arsenal with the knowledge of how to use leverage, body mechanics etc to ones advantage is of more value to a fighter than being big with powerful limbs.

Training to acquire good technical skills should be the top priority for all martial artists, but strength training in order to create more power should not be abandoned. Being strong will make you a better fighter and will complement your fighting skills providing you with stronger faster strikes, quicker shoots, will enable you to throw and pick up your opponent more easily and will allow you to scramble on the ground more explosively.


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Elias said...

I'm pretty small; all the guys I spar against tower over me AND have better technique (and more reach, did I mention more reach??)


It does give me a better learning curve though =D

the mma zone said...

yes Elias but I bet your quicker much quicker then they, right?

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