This Just in: MMA is Old School

Debates in the martial arts can range from really important ideas to silly minutia. One argument tends to be that old school was the BEST school. I admit, I am old school, and believe that old school training is far superior in many ways to anything offered in new school martial arts.

Having said that, I have to offer it as a conditional response.

When we start to look at Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), I have to say that it is more old school than most people like to admit. I am going to offer just a few things for you to consider, and then you can make up your own mind on the subject.


In both OSMA and MMA there is a heavy emphasis on conditioning. The workouts are tough, and there are aspects that people tend to think are unrelated. Road work (running) was common in OSMA, one would often see a class full of students dressed in their Gi as they ran around the block a few times as part of the warm-up. Today, MMA athletes run just as much as any OSMA practitioner ever did. Conditioning is indispensable in fighting and cannot be ignored.


It makes my teeth itch to hear modern sport martial artists say that their art is too deadly for contact. In the OSMA contact was hard, bruises were normal, and injuries, while attempted to be avoided, were a part of the journey. Contact toughens a person, mentally and physically. Nothing else will teach you that being beaten up isn’t the end of the world like being beaten up. MMA doesn’t make excuses to shy away from contact either. And, I might add, for the same reason.

Openness to Ideas

OSMA and MMA are open to ideas of innovation. This idea that I have an art, UNCHANGED for 5,000 years is a new concept. Such arts are certainly not traditional, because traditional martial arts were always adapting and changing with each generation, until very recently. There is always something out there that you can apply to what you are doing and improve upon it.

Willingness to Test

Both MMA and OSMA were/are willing to put their claims to the test. The practitioners are tough people and know that what they say is real. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but both types of athletes were never those to shy away from backing up their claims.

Those are just a few thoughts I have n the subject. As always, we appreciate likes and especially appreciate shares.