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David Hamilton

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A Sporting Event is an Experiment : On Mixed Martial Arts, Womens MMA, and the School System

Born out of the oldest drunk soldier argument in history, “Which style is best for defending yourself in a street fight?”. In its first few events, the UFC produced a definitive answer, as a tiny little Jiu Jitsu legend from Brazil, Royce Gracie, defeated men nearly twice his size, and won the tournament, 3 years out of 4. A decade later, it’s a diverse sport with weight classes, rules, and the best martial artists in the world.

I think most people don’t understand the pull of MMA. I think they feel it appeals to the barbaric nature of men. I’ve even heard it called sadistic… But, a sporting event, especially an individual one… Is an experiment. Two people with different diets, training routines, angles, strategies, and body types, are going to spend months calculating billions of positions they can find themselves in, and one will objectively prove superiority. If you ever want to be at peak performance, that’s the guy whose strategy you should follow, but someone’s working on something new as we speak.

Women’s MMA, has, of course, lagged behind men’s. There’s less interest, and less young talent. It’s often dismissed as foxy boxing. Female martial artists are often ridiculed and assaulted with homophobic slurs. Recently I watched America’s first Olympic Judo medalist, Rhonda Rousey, fight for the Strikeforce women’s championship, and quite honestly I was blown away. It’s impressive work these women are doing, and in a few years men are going to be stealing strategies from a few of them.

I think Mixed Martial Arts, has a place in the school system, and the Olympics. I think women’s mixed martial arts, should be encouraged in society, and you might enjoy it. I think martial arts inspire confidence, discipline, and self control. I think being capable of defending yourself, makes you feel safe and calm in stressful situations. I also think the ted community might disagree with me a bit… Have at it.

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  • Jul 15 2012: I think MMA is about seeking truth. It cuts through all of the nonsense. Two people in hand to hand combat is as real as it gets. People who feel it is violent are right. It is violent. All contact sports are violent by nature. It's violent when a 200 pound guy gets tackled by (3) 300 pound guys. The sport is ever-evolving and has gone through so many re-births over the years. I love it.
    However, I don't think it will ever be in schools. Schools are banning everything that may get a kid hurt even a little.
    MMA is about truth. You won't find much of that truth stuff in public school culture.
    I'm a teacher so I know what I'm talking about.
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      Jul 15 2012: I actually had a lot more to write on the subject, but 2k character limit.

      I thought the most important thing to mention though, was that football and boxing have both proven at least as dangerous for the brain, as even the highest level MMA. People have literally died in the ring, football players have broken their necks. UFC, over 1,000 "barbaric" fights, no one's died, and almost every past champion pops by to do cogent commentary.

      Small gloves, and short fights, lead to very few punches to the head. You don't take 100 punches in these gloves, you get knocked out when you move into one wrong. Schools could easily get away with training for punches to the face and knees and elbows, but make competition exist without those. Punches to the body and kicks anywhere, plus bjj/wrestling, and creativity.

      It would be so much fun to have college and high school fighters to watch on the rise to turning pro... In fact all truth aside... There's money to be made, for the NCAA, a bunch of high school coaches, the school system as a whole, and it's a great recruitment tool for the millitary, and as a teacher, you have to know there are a lot of interests that would love all those things... You have to learn to use the evil of men, to make them do right : )
  • Jul 14 2012: Martial Arts definitely has a place in sporting tournaments like the olympics. Schools as well. All you need to get out of it is a note from your parent saying they don't want you to do it. I barely even got touched when I did it, most of martial arts is solo exercises. the sparring uses padded equipment. As for the thing at the beginning about which style is best in street fights, i say the kind that involves lip-flapping. I call it talk-jitsu.
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      Jul 15 2012: I personally would love to see it for everyone, and you need a note to get out... but I wasn't even dreaming that big. I was thinking more along the lines of football, where it was just an available option, but I love that you went there.
  • Jul 15 2012: I'm a huge MMA fan, but schools will never allow children to punch each other in the face or slap arm bars on each other. Schools currently have wrestling, which is as much a martial art as any other form. Wrestling makes no money at all. It's not embraced by the masses the way football or basketbal is.