Have you ever turned on the TV and watched UFC or some other cage fight? Most of you are thinking that it is nothing more than a bunch of brutes fighting for money. The fact is there is some skill involved in it. This is known as Mixed Martial Arts or MMA for short. According to Andre Herbert, “MMA is using the most effective techniques of various martial arts so that they complement each other perfectly.” Some of these styles use striking (kicking and punching) and grappling (grabbing, lifting) techniques. The styles used in MMA are pretty diverse. There is Muay Thai, which is a form of martial arts that originated in Thailand, which uses hands, elbows, knees, shins and feet for striking purposes. They also have Boxing, which is used for the punching combinations and footwork. Wrestling and Brazilian Ju-Jitsu are used for grappling techniques that includes takedowns, submissions, chokeholds and anything that makes you want to yell out “Uncle!” or “Mercy!”, for those of you who played those kind of games as a kid. There is also a little bit of Kung-Fu, Karate Judo and etc. influences on the styles. In this ethnography, I will discuss how MMA is more than just a combination of different fighting systems; it is also a discourse community, in other words according to John Swales, it is a made up of individuals who share “a broadly agreed upon set of common public goals”.
This form of fighting can be traced back since the Greco-Roman times during the ancient Olympics when the sport was called Pankration. They would combine hand to hand combat with some ground work. This was nothing more but a prototype (T.P. grant). Bruce Lee was said to be the Father of MMA because of his philosophy in combat. He hated how in Kung-Fu that there are so many fixed positions but they might not work out in real time combat. He wanted more freedom with the way people fought. He liked boxers because they have strength and technique and they could throw their punches where ever they wanted. Bruce Lee then quoted, "The best fighter is not a Boxer, Karate or Judo man. The best fighter is someone who can adapt on any style. He kicks too good for a Boxer, throws too good for a Karate man, and punches too good for a Judo man." (I am Bruce Lee).
Meanwhile in the 1920’s, in Brazil, they would have events known as Vale Tudo fights, which means anything goes in Portuguese. They would fight with bare hands and use grappling skills from Shoot Wrestling and Ju-Jitsu. From there on, it would expand throughout time and across the nation and reached the U.S. during the 90s especially in the UFC. The UFC or also known as Ultimate Fighting Championship, was a tournaments back then in the 90s, where many martial artists from different styles would compete for the grand prize money and the title of the Ultimate Fighter. The Gracie Family brought their Vale Tudo style to the tournament, their representative was the Ju-Jitsu black belt Royce Gracie. He single handedly, forced everyone to tap out into submission. Since then, every fighter considered combining different styles into their training (Marc Margolis). Methodology
For this research, I conducted interviews from the fighters to coaches and everything in between. I trained under Andre Herbert, an instructor at Charlotte Krav Maga, for a while and I even conducted an e-mail interview with him. What makes Andre Herbert an expert in the MMA discourse communities are his credentials, some of them include his black belts in Krav Maga, Kempo Karate, and his certifications in Fit-To-Fight, which is an MMA orientated program (Charlotte Krav Maga). I also conducted an interview with a former classmate of mine, Michael Thompson, who also trained in MMA and is joining the Navy since they also use MMA techniques. What I am trying to do is gather different views on MMA from different people in power because it really is a broad discourse community since it...
Cited: "Andre Herbert." Krav Maga Instructor in Charlotte. Charlotte Krav Maga, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2012. <http://www.charlottekravmaga.com/instructors/andre-herbert>.
Grant, T. P. "Bloody Elbow, for MMA and UFC News." Bloody Elbow. Vox Media, 1 Dec. 20011. Web. 01 Nov. 2012. <http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2011/12/1/2601718/mma-origins-ancient-roots-ufc-history>.
I Am Bruce Lee. Dir. Pete McCormack. Perf. Various Guest Celebrities. Spike TV, 2011. TV.
Margolis, Mac. "Royce Gracie And The Rise Of Mixed Martial Arts." The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast, 25 June 2012. Web. 02 Nov. 2012. <http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/06/24/royce-gracie-and-the-rise-of-mixed-martial-arts.html>.
Herbert, Andre. E-mail interview. 16 Oct. 2012.
Thompson, Michael. Personal interview. 22 Oct. 2012.
Swales, J. M. (1990) Genre Analysis: English in academic and research settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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