Hi, everyone. What is the most effective martial art/combat sport in the world? I sure that most of you will tell that it’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thay, MMA (even though that this is not a particular style, but rules of the tournament), Combat Sambo, and Boxing (less probable but really could be that Kickboxing or Kyokushin-kan karate). Is it the truth? I’ll try to explain to you my opinion about it.
Well, this is a very large theme, and I think this article will not include all my thoughts on this, but I’ll try to do the best. I have background in Muay Thay, I even came to the powerlifting and bodybuilding because I wanted to be bigger and stronger for my fighter skills (I was too skinny, even with good technic all my punches were too weak, my weights were 52 kg only [ 115 pounds] with heigh of 5 ft 9 in). Also, I trined in Kyokushin dojo, in the Boxing gym, and with Combat Sambo Federation. I didn’t train for the last two weeks because of a leg injury, that I got during training in the Sambo gym. But I’m not a master of sport (something like a black belt in ex-USSR countries, there are masters of sport of Boxing, Sambo, Wrestling, etc.).
So, what I can tell about more effective and less effective styles. I believe that even all UFC and MMA technics will lock weak and non-effective in 20-30 years, because in any timeframe before people thought that current martial arts are the most effective, and everything before was bullshit. And in USF a lot of rules and this is not a fight without rules, like mass media trying to possess it.
Yes, you can find a lot of videos where Muay Thay or Boxing guy kick shit from Karate/Taekwondo/or any else traditional style guy. But at the same time, you can find dozens of videos where BJJ guy destroys boxer or Thay Boxing guy. And thousands “specialist” who say that BJJ is the best martial art on the Earth. So, why some BJJ guys lose in the UFC (not Gracie of course, and one more interesting fact, in his later fight Royce Gracie practiced kicking technic, not only grappling).
The biggest problem in such styles as Hapki Do, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, is that these styles don’t have full contact practice, or even any kind of sparring at all (it against the foundation principles of Aikido). You can’t be effective without practicing like you can’t learn how to drive only talking about driving and imitating driving sitting at the table. Even with Tae Kwon Do competitions, WTF or ITF, no mater, it’s more like fencing by legs, not like a real fight. Especially WTF, where guys even not take their hands high for protection.
But it’s not because Tae Kwon Do is so bad, it’s because of competition rules. If you have seen Olimpic Boxing you already know that it’s an absolutely different style than professional Boxing. There are almost no knock-outs because you take point if you had hit the opponent, no matter how weak. So, Olimpic Boxing it’s something very similar to ITF Tae Kwon Do. If there was some kind of full-contact Tae Kwon Do, where the main goal is to knock-out your opponent, it would be a real fighting style, as effective as kick-boxing. But now all competitions contains only light-contact, forms, and tameshiwari (I know that all of that has other names, but I don’t know Korean).
The very similar situation with Karate, even with the most full-contact of all styles Kyokushin. There are a few problems: no punches to the face (in a real fight your opponent, first of all, will try to kick you to the face), too many non-combat things like tameshiwari (it streaks, you can’t use such technic in the fight), and too many kata instead of real sparrings.
Now about grappling. BJJ is really cool, it’s very effective, but there are some minuses too. First of all, if you have more than one opponent, when you’ll crush first of them on the ground, others will kick your back, head, etc. Second, in all wrestling styles you trying to be as near to your opponent as possible, but it’s very bad when he has a knife (no you’ll not kick ass of your opponent with knife by Boxing, but your chances to avoid his attacks is much higher with such technic, and then run from him). One more problem is gi, it will be much heavier to grab the guy it t-shirt if you used to fight in the gi, the t-shirt will break when you’ll try to use your technic (the same problem in Judo and Sambo).
But I don’t mean that wrestling is non-effective. All guys with good wrestling background are very strong, very dangerous in the short distance, and if such guy will throw you to the concrete floor you’ll die or will become invalid. And if you don’t have good knocking punch, the chance that wrestler will throw you is extremely high.
And the last paragraph has one continue for traditional martial arts. 99% of traditional martial arts adepts don’t have good shape, they are not strong, not fast, not hardy, and don’t have enough real fight experience. There are very successful guys with Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Wing Chun, even Capoeira background in MMA. What the difference with other adepts of the same styles? These guys solved the problems these I mentioned before.
Also, I want to mention navy fighting styles, secret styles, non-contact martial arts, and other bullshit styles. First of all, no one will teach you real technics that uses military forces (and there is no special styles, they tech technics from such styles like BJJ, Karate, Boxing, but very few, and have a great shape). Such interesting things as Krav-Maga is not a style, it’s a method of using skills that you already have, in extreme situations. If you know Boxing you’ll use your hands if wrestler you will use grappling, but in a different way, and you’ll learn how to fight and use your weapon as cold steel arms.
I even don’t want to write a lot about non-contact martial arts, it’s bullshit and that’s all. And all “secret” styles, that so dangerous, that depts of these styles afraid to kill MMA fighter are bullshit too. And all their technics don’t work in the real fight. And total bullshit is fighting against a knife or other arms. Even real BJJ black belt will be dead in 90% cases when someone decided to kill him by the knife. All technics against works only when you do it in the gym with the fake knife, or on the show.
Also, very common discuss, what the best, kicking or grappling? Well, if we’ll check the list of USF champions, there we’ll find out that there is almost the same number of fighters those uses more grappling technic and those who mostly use kicking (there is no clear kickers and grapplers in the UFC). But in my opinion, grapplers are more dangerous on the ring/octagon than kickers (check to the fight Connor McGregor vs Habib Nurmagomedov). But outside the ring puncher has more chances to defend against two or more opponents than a grappler.
One more interesting thing about Karate in ex-USSR countries. Most of the people don’t believe in the effectiveness of Karate. And I can explain why. USSR was the country with closed borders, where all foreign influences were forbidden. And there were no real Karate masters inside the country. But people heard about it and wanted to learn it. So, they learn Karate from movies, books, magazines, and their level was extremely low. Yes, some of them were dangerous, but some guys can kick someone’s ass even without any martial arts practices. But after the disintegration of USSR, some real Karate masters came here and opened real dojos. And all this USSR’s Karate adepts began to create their own styles, very “dangerous”, “secret”, or “native Slavic”. But all these styles are fake styles.
As a conclusion, I want to tell that it’s almost the truth that there are no bad styles, but bad fighters. But there are some bullshit styles. If some style exists a very long time, it’s mean that it’s effective, because bullshit styles don’t have any adepts now, because of natural selection between schools. The only problem that some federations create too strict rules, don’t practice real fighting skills or don’t have enough physical training for fighting conditions of the body.
P.S.: all fights between styles will be successful for the fighter that trained better, has best skills, has best mental condition, and which style is nearest to rules of the fight (check for example fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather, McGregor lost because there were Boxing rules, if they fought in octagon with UFC rules he would win).