Has Mixed Martial Arts hurt traditional martial arts schools?

The main stream focus of martial arts has shifted to the MMA in recent years. This has had an effect on traditional martial arts, but not necessarily a negative one. I’ve never seen a MMA fighter be negative toward one art or another like I’ve seen traditional martial arts member be. In the realm of traditional martial arts there used to be strong opinions about “my art is better than your art”. Mixed Martial Artists see and appreciate the strengths of each individual art and strive to pull what they can from each that complements their combat in the octagon. I think that this phenomenon has helped the martial arts community and actually brought it back to be more in line with how the martial arts originally developed.

The samurai of feudal Japan learned martial arts to preserve their lives, serve their masters, and it defined their existence. They weren’t concerned with jujitsu techniques being better than another art, they would adopt any techniques that worked which were incorporated into their martial art. They weren’t concerned with pride in their art, they were concerned with what worked and what would make them prevail in battle…. that became their art.

The prevalence of the mixed martial arts has helped traditional martial arts schools because many of the people involved in MMA seek out traditional martial arts schools to strengthen their skills in a particular area. Someone who wants to improve their kicks might seek out a Tae Kwon Do school, someone who wanted to improve their grappling might seek out a Brazilian Jujitsu school, etc. This shows that it hasn’t hurt traditional martial arts schools businesses, but has it affected the traditional martial arts?

I don’t think it has. The MMA has brought to the forefront the fact that learning from different martial arts the things that work best for you is a good thing. Martial artists seeking to be the best martial artist that they can be is probably the most “Traditional” part of the martial arts that there is.

~ Dan Lagerstedt