On MMA...

Mixed Martial Arts and how I personally feel on the subject.

First, let me say that the concept of mixing martial arts styles and techniques is very old. The Samurai trained in many different martial arts covering many subjects with devastating effect. In Okinawa it was not uncommon for a person to move from town to town throughout their life for the specific purpose of learning the local martial art style. The same can be said for China and India. In my own life I have changed styles many times, learning new techniques, variations and new applications of old techniques.

The difference, I think, is that I (and my predecessors) learned each of these martial arts as a discrete entity, separate and whole. This is in stark contrast to the current crop of "mixed martial arts" styles where an instructor claims to have "extracted all of the best and useful techniques" from many different styles and "combined them into a single devastating style". My questions for them would have to be "who told you?" and "what makes you think you could possibly know all of the best techniques?".

Seriously, I trained up to second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do under Master Rob Ellis and Grand Master McNeely. No fooling. I can tell you that I know "all of the best and useful techniques" in Tae Kwon Do but GM McNeely can demonstrate at least a dozen other highly effective techniques I may have never even seen (let alone being able to perform them). That is just one example.

Can I say I know all of the best and useful techniques in Hirakawa Ryu? Yes, I can. I know because Hirakawa Kotaro, the former head of Hirakawa Ryu, said so. If I were to say to you "I know all of the best and useful techniques in kenjutsu" then I would be a liar. The difference is at once subtle and all-encompassing.