Coming to a consensus regarding MMA terminology

Hello all, just finished up with my finals here at school, and so naturally the 1'st thing i'll be doing is writing... MORE.

At any rate, let's just jump right to the meat of this article- coming to a general consensus about the terminology we use when discussing the technical intricacies of our great and complex sport of mixed martial arts.  As a proud and intelligent community as we have here at BE, I think it's important in any kind of discussion to have a common agreement insofar as vocabulary/ jargon/ vernacular is concerned.

From the rudimentary amount of training that i've done, as well as the excessive amounts of combat sports information I assimilate, analyze, and digest on a regular basis, I find that certain terms are used that cause a decent amount of confusion, or are unclear, and I think we should take it upon ourselves to clarify these misnomers.  Especially when talking about an individual's particular skills in an MMA context is when things become convoluted and discombobulating.

It's common knowledge that there are 3 phases in MMA- striking range, clinch range, and ground work.  So here's my attempt at defining what terms are accurate and appropriate to use in context:




1) Abandoning terms like "boxing", "kickboxing," "Muay Thai", "Karate," etc to describe a fighter's striking skills.  Now, don't get me wrong- i'm aware that many fighters have backgrounds in a variety of different striking arts, and it's completely acceptable to mention the striking style that influences a fighter's striking.  However, terms like "MMA boxing", "MMA Muay Thai", "MMA Karate" etc are confusing and don't adequately enumerate what we as fans are trying to say.

-Instead of "Fighter X has great MMA boxing", I find it much simpler to say that they have good hands/ are good punchers, have good head movement, good footwork, good defense, etc.

-Instead of "Fighter Y has great MMA Muay Thai/ kickboxing/ karate," it's better to say that they're very proficient with 8 points, has good kicks/ knees/ elbows, has strong clinch strikes, etc.

 Now, this may seem nitpicky, but it's my contention that once grappling becomes involved, you can't accurately call it Muay Thai or kickboxing; once knees/ kicks/ elbows/ foot stomps become allowed, it can't be called boxing, etc.

The reason for this is that in MMA, since it's really an amalgamation of  such a myriad of different techniques, with different scoring criteria and rules than the more specific striking arts, that it's no longer pertinent to defer to those arts, but rather to talk about MMA as it's own entity, with it's own techniques.  Of course, there will always be vernacular debates like Rogan & Tomas Rios' "Brazilian kick/ Question mark kick" exchange, but I find it far more accurate to refer to specific techniques and details than it is to just defer to ambiguous umbrella terms like "MMA boxing/ muay thai/ karate/ SAFTA".



 (something tells me this isn't a traditional Greco- Roman clinch situation)

Using terms like "Thai Plum" is fine, as it specifically evokes images of a double collar tie used to throw knee strikes from.  However, saying something like "the Greco clinch" is inaccurate, because tying isn't specific to Greco- Roman wrestling, and especially since leg attacks are completely allowed in MMA, a tie- up against the cage most certainly won't look like a greco- roman match in the Olympics.

 "Judo Throw" is in the grey area, because most judo throws without a gi have been adapted to and used by freestyle wrestlers, submission grapplers, and MMAists for a while; however, naming the specific throw, like Makikomi, Harai Goshi, Tai Otoshi, Kouchi Gari, Sumi Gaeshi, etc are all perfectly fine to use, as are layman's terms like Lateral Drop, hip throw, arm throw, etc.  As are all the specific names of takedowns in wrestling such as the double leg, single leg, high crotch/ fireman's carry, suplay, and all the vaious trips.



I'd personally like to do away with "Fighter Z's BJJ/ Catch Wrestling/ Sambo is so great", and supplant it with terms such as "matwork", "ground work/ game" (which, although generic and somewhat ambiguous terms, at least aren't misnomers).  Because not only have those styles all influenced and exchanged with each other, but the use of ground strikes impacts these in a way that they no longer closely resemble the individual arts as we know them, much like how grappling indelibly changes the striking game.

 Referring to the entirety of someone's skills, both on their back and on top, is more accurately described by the term "ground game", because it encompasses not just the grappling, but also the striking that takes place from on top and on one's back.

Now, as much flack as Rogan receives for using 10'th planet terminology, the techniques and positions that 10th planet jiu jitsu emphasizes and uses are unique and do accurately describe different transitions that haven't really been explored by traditional BJJ.  Thus, terms like 'Mission Control', "twister side control/ the truck", and "lockdown" have as much validity as terms such as half guard, mount, butterfly guard, etc.


So, in summation, maybe i'm just blowing smoke here, but I think that what i've outlined here is a more clear, concise way of describing the events & action of our great sport.  Any feedback, technical corrections/ suggestions, or any other kind of commentary is greatly appreciated!

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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