Sport or Martial Art?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Kobudo, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member

    OK, this is about classification, not the benefits of each, which is better, etc...

    Many (not all) MA nowadays are mostly about sport, BJJ, MMA, Boxing, Kick Boxing, Judo, etc...

    As this is the case, should they still be referred to as 'Martial Arts' as there is actually little to no Martial element to them, or is that misleading?

    Would it be more accurate to refer to them purely as Sport, the same as Football, Basketball, Running, Tennis, etc...

    A professional Judoka (perhaps olympic level) for instance, when training is training more like an olympic athlete than someone preparing themselves for battle....

    What are your thoughts?
  2. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    If it involves besting someone in a physically violent altercation (or has links to such in the past) I think it's a martial art.
    Martial art should be an inclusive term IMHO rather than an exclusive one.
  3. Moosey

    Moosey invariably, a moose Supporter

    If you're learning to fight in some way, it's a martial art.

    It may also be a sport, if you can compete against others for prizes or medals or just satisfaction.

    Sports where you're not learning to fight (tennis, hurdles, high jump) are not martial arts.

    Or you could take the definition of a sport being any physical activity done for personal satisfaction, in which case all martial arts are a subset of sports.
  4. Herbo

    Herbo Valued Member

    Joe Rogan said it best when he said that most people walk through life, oblivious to just how quickly Marcelo Garcia or some other little brazilian man could take their life away. I couldn't agree more and extend this to both judo and MMA practitioners.

    Training like an athlete makes sense because that's the best way to achieve performance! Wax on wax off doesn't cut it I'm afraid.

    Anyone who doubts the martial credentials of an able practitioner in any of the combat sports you mentioned is living in a fantasy world.
  5. Sketco

    Sketco Banned Banned

    I think when they're practiced in the context of only being used within their own ruleset they are sports.

    Take judo. It used to be much more martial. The old katas even included striking. Boxing used to have wrestling components. Many of the arts you listed used to regularly compete in nhb challenge matches with other styles.
    I think when they're trained with the attitude of using them in self defence/mma/nhb fighting then they're martial arts. Up until that point they're "martial sports." Tha is not to take anything away from them or the training methods. In many cases much of the training would be the same but for something like sport bjj many components are missing for use in actual fighting.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  6. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member

    No one is doubting credentials, or discussing which is better, or living in a fantasy world, this is about whether something should still be called 'Martial' if the training is purely for sport competition.

    Please can it stay on topic.
  7. Mangosteen

    Mangosteen Hold strong not

    over done thread is over done
  8. Oddsbodskins

    Oddsbodskins Troll hunter 2nd Class

    Contemporary martial arts have very little relation to warfare these days anyway. I think it's time we accepted that the definition has become something more then the sum of it's parts. More or less nowadays, if it's fechtin', it's MA.
  9. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member

    I think that's my thinking on it too, when the desired result has a real life martial element it's a martial art, if all you want to do is train to beat the other guy in a rule based competition, I'd say it's sport.

    On the other hand, all is relative. We think about mainstream things like MMA ever since UFC, but would opinions change if it was still a contest, but more a bare knuckle fight to the death type competition? Is this still sport? The 2 competitors are still choosing this as their preferred sport, but does the danger element make any difference?
  10. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    The people I see that are overly fond of designating something as martial or not are usually the ones with an agenda to make what they do "martial" and what someone else does "not martial".
    An elitist sort of thing.
    Many of them like to think they are martial but couldn't make it through a BJJ warm-up without tapping let alone a BJJ rolling session. :)
  11. Llamageddon

    Llamageddon MAP's weird cousin Supporter

    What about Javelin?
  12. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member

    You're probably right, I have affinity for both, I love Japanese Koryu arts, but also like rolling on the mat and Muay Thai - I do think it's important though to understand what you're training for and recognise that there are differences between the different types of training.
  13. Teflon

    Teflon Valued Member

    I can see what you're saying here, with the example of arts sometimes missing components just because they arent useful in sport competition. However, where does the line get drawn then? If boxing under a boxing ruleset is a martial sport, then why is boxing for MMA a martial art? I mean, MMA is after all a sport with its own ruleset.

    IMO, bottom line is that the vast majority of martial artists (+ martial sportists?) are training in combat methods, usually alongside physical conditioning, and should therefore be able to handle a combat situation. Is there really any need for a line between martial art and martial sport?
  14. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member

    Very good point...

    Or archery?

    Or Darts?
  15. Sketco

    Sketco Banned Banned

    Tru but when you see things, like mentioned on the graciebreakdown channel recently where a purple belt (iirc) couldn't defend punches from the guard because of an over emphasis on sport training...then you have a problem in my mind.

    Combat first, martial sport second.
  16. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Yes you are - you might not think you re asking that, but it is inherent

    Most "sport" fighters would kick the snot out of most "non sport" because of their training standard, so the question of classification is irrevocably tied into the effectiveness

    Where would you put Iaido? No real fighting focus at all beyond its roots, but martial in origins

    The distinction is meaningless, done to death and not helpful or useful for anyone who is not a martial snob
  17. Sketco

    Sketco Banned Banned

    See what i said about the bjj guy who'd been training for six years with an over emphasis on training for cometition within a limited ruleset with no emphasis on self defence and actual combat. If you water down judo to the point where it can only deal with judo it is a martial sport.

    Boxing would be a better example. While it is a higly functional martial sport capable of producing great hand striking its over emphasis on using gloves and a limited ruleset means that it needs to be tweaked and added to when brought to an atmosphere with limited or no rules. To take your example of why boxing for boxing versus boxing for mma one is martial art and one is martial sport is that the focus for one is more of a realistic application.

    It's certainly not a direct black and white division but more of a gradient. For striking you can create a progression going from less to more realistic ruleset like boxing->muay thai->using them in mma
    Similarly with grappling the more you isolate it from the gestalt of fighting the more sport and less martial it becomes.

    But as I said before the sportive training produces highly effective fiters in most cases but it is end you are working toward which really determines whether it's martial or sport. Boxers can knock people out bare knuckle no question, there's just some habits like hooks hitting with the open side knuckles which can be refined out with smaller gloves.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  18. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Let's see an average TKD black belt defending punches from guard then? :)
  19. finite monkey

    finite monkey Thought Criminal

    Rugby should be classed as a Martial Art

    IMO it matters more about the attitude of the student towards thier art
  20. Kobudo

    Kobudo Valued Member

    That's rubbish!

    You're saying that a conversation about classification cannot be held without ego and 'my practice is better than yours' - that says more you than the topic.

    You are living in a fantasy if you think most sport fighters would kick the snot out of non sport, or the other way around.... What you train is up to you to develop the skills you want, but it is ultimately you who will decide if you win or not in a fight, not the style you've learned, or the physical training you've undertaken.

    Why do you think some of the toughest fighters out there (in the real world) have had no training? MMA isn't a real fight, traditional martial arts isn't a real fight, you could train in either and have your ass handed to you by someone who hasn't trained anything and just doesn't care about the repurcussions of fighting.

    You could have the best grappler in a gym knocked straight out by a karate guy, or a grandmaster of xxx kung fu submitted by a BJJer - style means jack when it comes to saying who would win a fight.

    So what's the harm in calling a sport a sport, and something more Martial in training, more martial? Did it hurt your ego?

    Iaido is a good one, but you're confusing competition and fighting focus with Martial, the focus in Iaido is cutting someone, which is martial. Having said that however, given that we don't walk around carrying katana, the martial aspect is lost in the modern age - I would class this as Spiritual training with Martial Origins, as I would class BJJ as sport with martial origins, neither takes away from the effectiveness of the art/sport/whatever....

    I haven't at any point said, or hinted, that one is better than the other, you can check my posts, if you feel that, as your post suggests, and the snot comment backs up, it suggests this is born more from your own insecurities with your chosen pursuits than an issue with the topic.

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