Mixed Martial Arts for Self Defense?
Recently I read an article from the Gothamist, entitled New Argument For Bringing MMA To NY: Self Defense! These thoughts perpetuated by the fact that UFC-buff, Joseph Lozito (6’2, 270 lbs) was able to tackle and pin down 3 x murder suspect, Maksim Gelman. Gelman is accused of stabbing seven individuals as well as fatally injuring a pedestrian with his car.
Lozito was commuting from the suburbs of Philadelphia to his box office job at Avery Fisher Hall. Gelman, pretending to be a cop, began beating on the motorman’s door, then turned to Lozito and said, “You are going to die,” laughed, and lunged at him with a knife. A short story even shorter, a transit cop (Terrence Howell) was able to restrain and subdue Gelman. Heroic conclusion.
The Main Concern
First, Lozito is indeed brave and should be considered a hero to the people. Without his help (and Gelman’s insanity) Gelman could have gone on to commit many more acts of violence. My concern comes when people begin to see sport competition as a legitimate self-defense system. Of which, it certainly is NOT.
Yes, there is some cross-over. Bruce Lee was a Hong Kong champion of the Cha-Cha (video), and believe it or not, it probably made a better martial artist. If someone was to learn the mixed martial arts (which consist mainly of Thai boxing and Jiu-Jitsu) they undoubtedly will become better fighters, but only for sport competition. It’s similar to American football versus rugby. Yes, some football players might become great rugby players because they are familiar with carrying a ball, colliding with one another and running towards a particular end of the field…. but they have different rules and one is a bit more brutal than the other. The person who trains in a true system of self-defense trains to avoid, escape and survival at-all-costs.
Avoid any confusion…MMA is a Sport.
The heroic figure in this article (Lozito) wasn’t even an athlete, he was just someone with a brief wrestling background and who spent a reasonable amount of time watching the UFC. The fact is – Lozito outweighed his opponent by a good sum, and was prepared to fight to his death (this gave him great odds in my book). Brave? Absolutely! …the slightest bit “qualified” to even assume his time spent watching UFC was what saved his life?… absolutely not! He would have likely escaped, in my opinion, if he’d spent all that time watching women’s basketball.
That brings me to my next point-
Just because you see a technique on Submissions101 or in some competition, and intellectually you understand the mechanics of the move… it absolutely does NOT mean you can replicate it. Especially under the stress of an actual encounter. If someone is to learn proper self-protection skills, that person MUST first understand this article’s underlining message. And if you don’t yet understand what that message is, you’re either too young or too naïve.
(Let’s hope you’re just too young, because it’s the naïve/stupid that end up getting themselves killed. Food for thought.)
Let’s here your thoughts Combative Readers!