My Vision for MMA in Pakistan
I was watching a video on Youtube today which made me think about where I want to take MMA in Pakistan. Here’s the video.
Basically, my opinion on MMA culture namely in the United States is that it has become a commercialized fad, with MMA fans needing to wear “fight clothes”, MMA slang popping up, calling wins W’s, Ground n Pound, “I can sub him” etc… If you aren’t wearing a “Fight Shirt”, don’t have a Mohawk and tribal tattoos, you aren’t fitting the part of a “fighter.” This is the sort of thing that is bugging me.
I do think that the acceptance of MMA into the mainstream as a legitimate sport is a good thing. The fact that people are making money by making gear companies and clothes companies is a good thing as well. All this puts more money into the sport which translates into more pay for fighters at all levels.
What bothers me about this though is that while the athletic aspect of the sport is being drilled into peoples perception of MMA in the sense that the fact that these are trained athletes. People understand that these guys spend hours training. Two things that I think have been lost over time is the martial art aspect of the game. I think a good way to understand how the attitudes toward MMA can differ is by looking at Japan. There are no boos during the match. In fact there is total silence, it is like watching a tennis match or two people play chess. There is no emphasis on “hey look at this undressed woman parading around”, “drink this beer”, “look like these tattooed screaming idiots in the audience. It is just a total absorption into the techniques being observed as two men battle in the ring. Another thing which I think has been lost, but MAY come back is the idea that the MMA arena is not made for the competition of the style called MMA. Rather it is a place where any style can come and compete and see what works and what doesn’t. A place where people can come and test themselves and their techniques not merely a place to get famous, where a belt and be on a magazine cover. From watching the Ultimate Fighter is seems that most individuals are training in MMA to be famous, as if they were trying out to be an actor and training to better themselves or enjoy the art. The fact that it seems quite apparently obvious that if given the choice many of today’s MMA fighters would spend their lives in a drunken stupor, if there was no arena for competition. What I mean is that the only thing stopping these guys from drinking irresponsibly is the desire to be famous and if that opportunity did not exist they would have no interest in training for the sake of training or to develop a better character.
I do not want this to happen in Pakistan. I would like to work closely with the traditional Martial Arts community so that Traditional Martial Arts and MMA competition are not two entirely separate entities but rather go hand in hand. I would like MMA competitors to serve as examples of responsible moral people who take of their bodies, minds and souls. Definitely nothing resembling some of the guys you see on MMA reality TV shows or the caricature you see on this YouTube vid.