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Old 06-25-2007, 09:33 PM   #5
Il Genio
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Default Re: BJ Penn's "Book of Knowledge"...and other musings

Originally Posted by cross_trainer


BJ Penn's new book seems to illuminate the art of MMA as no book before has managed, into a COHESIVE fighting system (a la boxing) where movements blend into each other rather than being a collection of techniques. It is "MMA", rather than "Brazilian Jiujitsu" + "Freestyle Wrestling" + "Muay Thai" as three separate disciplines mashed together. It appears that the same publishers will be releasing other books by Couture and possibly even Fedor Emelianenko....another step forward in seeing how well-rounded fighters are training. Compared to the "Fighter's Notebook" of a decade ago, it's night and day.

Does this represent the coming-of-age of the sport? I tend to think that it does. MMA competitors a few years in the future will not need to iron out the bugs in blended styles, because those styles will have been effectively amalgamated into a complete whole. Competitors may not need separate boxing coaches, thai boxing coaches, BJJ coaches, and wrestling coaches (at least, no more than boxers require separate punch, block, evasion, and footwork coaches).

As I said before, these are heady days. They may be remembered as the first "golden age" of MMA, where everything finally came together. If everything works out as expected, this era will be remembered as the time that brought us a unified MMA champion, a mainstream audience, and a "modern" MMA style. Martial arts have advanced more in the past ten years than in the preceding hundred, and we may finally be nearing the final stages of that evolution.

I wonder, in a few decades, whether MMA fans will watch Coleman and Sakuraba with the same attitude that modern boxing fans show toward Johnson and Corbett.
Interesting book and being a BJ Penn fan I will certainly take more than a passing interest.

Regarding your comments on the coming together of different styles to form a unified style this can go either of 2 ways IMO. We can arrive at a new unified system that takes what's needed from BJJ, MT, Wrestling et al and mashes it into a wholly new MMA 'sport' style or we can arrive at a dumbed-down system that satisfies the sport perspective but sacrifices practical aspects of the parent arts to do so. I appreciate that MMA is a sport but I wouldn't like any practical aspects to be lost just to make certain aspects of technique to mesh better or to make it easier to master.

I cetainly agree though that it's a golden age for MMA. We are seeing the maturing of the 'art' from an almost no holds barred free weight system which saw the rise and fall of the Gracies and the influence of BJJ into the re-emergence of stand-up and the adoption of GNP. We are seeing the gradual joining together of each of the major franchises so that in the not too distant future we might have one major unified MMA body. This of course suggests that the future of MMA is wholly in an octagonal cage and not in a ring. A roped ring does not lend itself particularly well to major aspects of the ground game. Perhaps this may help to imprint on the mind of the public that MMA is not just "bad boxing with some other bits tacked on" and get rid of the notion that MMA is full of 'failed' boxers who are only in MMA because they couldn't cut it in the noble art.

Heady times indeed.
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