In 2004, UFC President Dana White made a remark that persons are nonetheless speaking about. He acknowledged that the late Bruce Lee is the “Father of MMA”. On this article, I’ll state the the reason why I disagree with this assertion and also will give my opinion in regards to the true “Father of MMA”.
“Really, Bruce Lee was the daddy of combined martial arts. For those who take a look at the best way Bruce Lee skilled, the best way he fought, and a whole lot of the stuff he wrote, he mentioned the right type wasn’t a method. You are taking from every little thing somewhat bit. You are taking the good things out of every totally different self-discipline, use what works and throw the remainder away.” (1) Dana White, 2004
First, let’s check out among the the reason why Bruce Lee was given the title of “Father of MMA”.
- He believed that it’s essential free your self from the trimmings of a single martial arts type.
- He believed you needed to be a whole fighter.
- In accordance with his daughter Shannon, he was the primary to say that “no type” is the perfect type. (2)
- His coaching mirrored the above whereas he was alive.
These are compelling factors. And I have to say I needed to rethink my place after diving deeper into this text.
Earlier than we go any additional, we have to make clear among the phrases we use right here. Whereas the next definitions will not be official definitions, I consider they might be of use to us for this investigation.
MMA – “Blended Martial Arts”
This time period has change into the extra well-liked sport we like at this time. This consists of such organizations because the UFC “Final Preventing Championship”, WEC “World Excessive Cagefighting” (now overrun by the UFC), Bodog Battle (now defunct), Bellator Preventing, and so on.
Whereas the time period can imply virtually something, the favored that means is extra towards the uniform guidelines adhered to by most state athletic commissions.
NHB – “No Restrictions”
This time period is nearly synonymous with “MMA”, though it may be thought of a extra excessive model with fewer guidelines.
This time period is extra well-liked in Brazil, the place the Gracie household solid its preventing system. It means “something goes”, however typically nonetheless has guidelines.
Through the use of the time period “MMA” with the definition above, Dana White makes a compelling argument.
If you concentrate on this when it comes to “types”, the trendy MMA fighter is extra akin to what Bruce Lee described and practiced than to the one type performers of the previous. Simply take a look at the early UFCs like I, II, & III. These had been the “good previous” days of fashion versus type and extra akin to the definitions of “NHB” or “Vale Tudo” than MMA.
At the moment’s MMA fighters must be “extra full”. They might not grasp each facet of the preventing recreation, however they need to be capable to deal with themselves in each method.
I feel an ideal instance of that is somebody like Georges Ste. Pierre (SAP). Georges began in Kyokushin karate.(3) However take a look at him now. He is likely one of the most versatile fighters in MMA at this time. It could be laborious to discover a weak level in his recreation. And if he meets somebody higher than him in a sure space, he modifies his recreation plan in order that this space is tough to take advantage of.
There may be some proof that Bruce Lee adopted an identical path in his personal coaching. Slightly than attempting to beat somebody at his personal recreation, he would attempt to exploit the weaknesses of a specific technique, assault, or particular person type.
Wow! Fairly convincing thus far, proper?
Now let’s take a look at some the reason why Bruce Lee did NOT get this title.
- Bruce Lee wasn’t the primary individual to cross-train in martial arts.
- Jeet Kune Do isn’t a sport and Bruce Lee was by no means in favor of making a brand new sport.
- Bruce Lee by no means participated. (Besides one boxing match in his youthful years.)
- There isn’t any proof in any way that Bruce Lee or JKD influenced trendy MMA in any method.
- MMA would have occurred no matter Bruce Lee.
You solely have to have a look at the Greek martial artwork Pankration to see that cross coaching has been round with us for a really very long time. This artwork was first launched within the Greek Olympic Video games in 648 B.C. and included blows, joint locks, and grappling strategies.(4)
One other curious level is that Bruce Lee was not in favor of sports activities preventing. If he did not compete or practice to compete, how might he be the daddy of a sport?
Sure, he skilled among the sporting fighters of his time, corresponding to Joe Lewis, Chuck Norris and Mike Stone. However these guys had been already sports activities fighters. So this appears to be a zero level.
I’ve not discovered any proof that Bruce Lee or JKD influenced trendy MMA in any method. Sure, often there are fighters who’ve skilled in JKD, or pay tribute to Bruce Lee. However I wager there are a whole lot of MMA fighters who do not even know who Bruce Lee was or know something about his coaching, philosophy, and so on.
Whereas there may be some proof that JKD Ideas skilled equally to MMA, there does not appear to be a lot assist that they really influenced any of at this time’s nice fighters or coaching camps. (In fact there are at all times exceptions. I am speaking a couple of basic affect on the game of MMA.)
However the principle query is that this…
“Would MMA Have Occurred With out Bruce Lee?”
My reply to this can be a resounding “Sure!”
Helio Gracie as “Father of MMA”.
For my part, the nickname “Father of MMA” is extra acceptable for the late Helio Gracie. Listed below are among the the reason why I really feel this fashion.
- Helio already competed towards all newcomers in 1931.(5)
- He handed on this custom of the “problem match” to his sons.
- The UFC was initially based by his son, Rorion, to hold on this custom and produce it to the US.
- With out Helio, the UFC and the game of MMA could by no means have existed.
Now I understand that Helio’s purpose was to point out the prevalence of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. And on this it goes towards the “combined” a part of MMA.
However the inescapable fact of that is that if it weren’t for Helio, the UFC in all probability by no means would have come to gentle. At first it was an exhibition to point out the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu type. However now it has grown into greater than that.
As a dad or mum, you need your youngster to surpass your skills. The UFC “child” has achieved this in abundance.
Writing this text has made me respect the opinion of calling Bruce Lee the “Father of MMA”. I see some legitimate arguments on this level.
However I really feel that Helio Gracie is a extra acceptable alternative.
After taking a look at all of the factors each for and towards, I feel it boils all the way down to this query:
“Would the game of MMA be the place it’s at this time with out Bruce Lee?”
After which ask this query:
“Would the game of MMA be the place it’s at this time with out Helio Gracie?”
Reply these questions truthfully.
Belief me, I wish to give Bruce Lee all of the credit score on the earth and all of the publicity he deserves. However I can not give him credit score on this case. I would prefer to say “Bruce Lee IS the daddy of MMA”! However I can not try this in good conscience.
Bruce Lee deserves a lot credit score and recognition for the various issues he has achieved and given to us. If it wasn’t for him I in all probability would not have gotten into martial arts as I am certain lots of you may inform.
However let’s give him credit score the place credit score is due. I simply assume it is a reasonably large stretch to name him “Father of MMA.” Sorry Dan!
(c) 2011 Kip Brockett All rights reserved
1 Wickert, Mark. 2004. Dana White and the Way forward for UFC. struggle instances. com
2 Lee, Shannon. 2010. Bruce Lee: father of MMA? youtube. com
3 Pollard, Edward. 2006. Unique interview with Georges St. Pierre. blackbeltmag.org
4Wikipedia. Pankration. wikipedia.org
5 Gracie Academy. A practice of excellence. gracieacademy.com