What MMA Can Learn From Boxing
As any long term fan or short term student of mixed martial arts knows, the way the world views martial arts from 1993 (UFC 1) until the modern-day is keener than it was in all years of humankind that preceded it. Most of what the general population had as a reference, especially for traditional martial arts, was framed around movies and unrealistic scenarios.
Further exploited by irresponsible “dojo” owners looking to cash in on Bruce Lee’s crossover Hollywood appeal. This systematic destruction of martial arts, particularly in the western world, would be turned on its proverbial head via the Gracie Family in 1993 (and to some, before) and martial arts, especially in regards “fantasy vs. reality” has never looked back.
Now….there is an important addendum. While many parents were sending their kids to buy “numb-chucks”, and wrestling was a Saturday morning program starring the Hulkster. (Depending on when you were born) The Fab Four were tearing it up, and later a young “Kid Dynamite” from Brooklyn NYC was one of the most famous people in the world, all named Michael.
And maybe even a little later you were able to see “Sweet Pea“, Oscar, and Captain Hook. The point being boxing was alive and well, and while Judo Gene LeBell had some matches with boxers, it wasn’t exactly headline news. If we wanted combat, we had boxing here in America and surely in Ireland as well.
Boxing was born in Africa and dates back to 6000 BC, in what is now known as Ethiopia. London Prize Ring rules are estimated to start sanctioned boxing, in a ring, in 1838. It’s long been the litmus test for “the baddest man on earth”, and with good reason. If you don’t understand, and/or cannot grapple at a fairly high level, a boxer will likely light you up like a fireplace.
Turning The Martial Arts World On Its head
Back to the addendum, as much as grappling, specifically Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a certain family lineage with the surname Gracie turned the martial arts and fighting world on its head, eventually came along Sakuraba “The Gracie Hunter”.
Then we had our ground and pound era, our Fedor/Pride era, our Anderson Silva/GSP era, and now seem to be in the Jon Jones (i know, sniff sniff) era and this polarizing upcoming fight between Conor McGregor and p4p King Jose Aldo Jr. will seemingly decide what era may be next.
If you look at the boxing of the fighters I’ve mentioned, it goes from Art Jimmerson’s embarrassing one glove, all the way to GSP’s superman jab and perhaps beyond. Boxing, in conjunction with grappling, is as important a skill as any in MMA and as true mixed martial artists, coaches, fans, and enthusiasts we should embrace the importance of the sport that made so many of us fall in love with combat.
The two pugilists that I think inspire me as much as any right now are Guillermo Rigondeaux and “GGG” Gennady Golovkin (although “El Chocolatito” is right behind them). I decided to put together the two things that inspired me most as a child in regards all things combat, strategy, and war.
Long before I read Morimoto and “The Art of War” I was watching National Geographic and listening to my father yell that Hagler was robbed by Sugar Ray Leonard.
Take a ride with me as we look at the inevitable marriage of combat sport, music, and predator vs. prey.