Saturday, April 5, 2014

Traditional martial arts UFC champions: Georges St-Pierre, Anthony Pettis, Lyoto Machida, Anderson Silva

Some fighters have segued from amateur wrestling into MMA and found tremendous success. Then there are some fighters who come from traditional martial arts backgrounds such as Taekwondo and Karate, and found a lot of championship level accomplishments in the game. Four fighters in modern day mixed martial arts who have become UFC champions, and also have a traditional martial arts background, are Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, and Anthony Pettis.

When it comes to Georges St-Pierre, he is a martial artist first and then a fighter second. He came from a Kyokushin Karate background, and that love and passion for martial arts was how he found the goal to become a UFC champion. But GSP is a martial artist and trains whether is fighting or not. He has taken a sabbatical from MMA and is possibly retired, but he continued to train after that juncture, so hard to the point where he tore his ACL once again.

 So with regards to St-Pierre it is martial arts which has been the outlet for him to express himself completely. And not only has it been a artistic outlet for Pierre, but something that has enabled him to become the classy and highly respected champion across the globe. The three pillars of Respect, Honor, and Disciplinewhich are a part of traditional martial artsare ingrained into his psyche.

The following statement by GSP gives a good look into his mindset of having discipline and living a martial arts lifestyle:

I'm a shy guy, to tell you the truth, I don't enjoy being bothered and I never say no to a fan. I say yes to everybody. But I don't enjoy this, that's the only reason why I'm fighting; I'm fighting because I like to do what I do; my lifestyle like in the training, it's a healthy lifestyle, like back in the day the Samurai used to train every day and the fighting and the competition. For the fans it's part of the game and you have to do it, even though sometimes you have some days where you don't feel like it, but it's your duty as athlete to do it. Because the fans that pay it's going to make you live, so you have to do it. So I force myself to do it all the time. 

So St-Pierre has that internal code of conduct of having the honor and respect to never say no to a fan ,as they pay his income. He also has the discipline to go forth and do things that he does not want to do, but continue to do them because he knows it is the right thing.

Another lesson Georges has picked up through Karate deals with understanding the patience and dedication involved in becoming great: 

Additionally, the repetition of technique over thousands of times is something that Georges St-Pierre has developed through martial arts. He is singularly focused on perfecting certain techniques, as opposed to being mediocre at a myriad of them:

Anderson Silva, another fighter who comes from traditional martial arts, has the same mentality of perfection of technique. He drilled his reverse elbow technique at home with his wife holding a pillow in their bedroom hundreds of times until it was perfect; then then later executed in the cage when he knocked out Tony Fryklund in Cage Rage. For Silva he is a sublime confluence of martial artistry and imagination. He dreams up technique which the public would generally contend is impossible, and then trains that seemingly unfathomable technique until it is mastered. He then exhibits that technique in the cage.

Silva's teammate and countryman Lyoto Machida is also a fellow martial artist from a Karate background. When you see Machida on TV, in person, and in the cage, you can tell he emanates the aura of a martial artist. He conducts himself with the three traditional martial arts ethics of Honor, Respect, and Discipline. From bowing to his opponents before and after bouts, to respecting his foes in the cage, the fans, and himself, Machida really showcases a strong martial arts and Samurai spirit in every aspect of his life.

Lastly, Antony Pettis credits the traditional martial art of Taekwondo for not only developing his kicking techniquewhich is heralded as some of the greatest in UFC historybut also giving him the emotional control and mental structure to be able to deal with the tragic loss of his father as a young teenager.

So traditional martial arts definitely have a lot to offer mixed martial artists. While some of the technique is occasionally dismissed as being useless, there is still something very lethal about the element of surprise in competition. If everyone is doing similar techniques from Muay Thai, boxing, wrestling and Jiu Jitsu; throwing a wrench into the system via a perfected technique nobody is accustomed to seeing from a traditional martial art, can throw off an opponent in a big way, and in some cases end a fight. And while deception of opponents in the cage on route to victory is one benefit of traditional martial arts, they also ingrain very noble qualities into people that are useful for children, teens, and adults of any age for that matter. And adhering to a more positive lifestyle beneficial to humanity is a fight more important than any other.

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