why mma is not martial arts

why mma is not martial arts

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has gained immense popularity in recent years as a combat sport that combines various techniques from different martial arts disciplines. However, it is important to recognize that MMA is not a traditional martial art. In this article, we will explore several reasons why MMA cannot be considered a true martial art.

Lack of Philosophy and Ethics

One of the fundamental aspects of martial arts is the philosophy and ethics that guide its practitioners. Traditional martial arts emphasize discipline, respect, and self-control. In contrast, MMA focuses primarily on winning and defeating opponents, often disregarding the moral and ethical values that martial arts traditionally uphold.

Additionally, traditional martial arts often emphasize personal growth, character development, and spiritual well-being. MMA, on the other hand, places more emphasis on physical prowess and competition, neglecting the holistic development of an individual.

Rule Set and Safety Measures

MMA has a specific set of rules and safety measures in place to protect the fighters. While these rules are necessary to ensure the safety of the participants, they also limit the techniques that can be used. Traditional martial arts, on the other hand, do not have such restrictive rules and allow for a broader range of techniques and strategies.

The rules in MMA also prioritize entertainment value, with rounds, weight classes, and other regulations designed to create a more exciting spectacle. This focus on entertainment often detracts from the traditional values and principles of martial arts.

Training Methodology

MMA training focuses heavily on physical conditioning, strength training, and skill development in specific techniques. While these aspects are important in any combat sport, traditional martial arts place equal emphasis on mental and spiritual training.

Traditional martial arts training often includes meditation, forms or kata practice, and the study of philosophical texts. These aspects are largely absent from MMA training, making it more of a sport than a comprehensive martial arts discipline.

Commercialization and Spectacle

MMA has become heavily commercialized, with large promotions and events dominating the industry. This commercialization often prioritizes profit and entertainment value over the true essence of martial arts.

MMA events are often focused on creating a spectacle, with flashy entrances, trash-talking, and dramatic rivalries. While these elements may attract a wider audience, they deviate from the traditional values of humility, respect, and self-improvement that martial arts embody.

why mma is not martial arts

Historical and Cultural Significance

Traditional martial arts have deep roots in history and culture, often originating from ancient civilizations and carrying centuries of tradition. MMA, on the other hand, is a relatively new phenomenon that emerged in the late 20th century.

Traditional martial arts are often closely tied to the cultural identity of a particular region or country. They serve as a representation of a nation’s heritage and values. MMA, being a blend of different martial arts styles, lacks this historical and cultural significance.

Uniformity and Standardization

Traditional martial arts typically have a well-defined curriculum, belt ranking system, and standardized techniques. This allows for uniformity and consistency across different schools and styles.

MMA, on the other hand, lacks this level of standardization. Different fighters and trainers may have their own unique approaches and techniques, making it difficult to establish a cohesive and consistent system.


While MMA has undoubtedly gained popularity as a combat sport, it falls short in several aspects that define traditional martial arts. The lack of philosophy, ethics, comprehensive training methodology, historical significance, and standardization all contribute to MMA’s inability to be considered a true martial art. However, it is important to recognize that MMA has its own merits as a competitive sport and should be appreciated for what it is.

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