Why Tang Wei Practitioners Typically Do Not Participate in MMA or Other Martial Arts Competitions
There is somewhat of what has become a modern classic argument in the martial arts world since the popularity of Mixed Martial Arts competitions. This argument is about the difference between those who train in Self Defense Oriented systems which are often weapon focused such as TWFM, Krav Maga, Pikiti Tirsia Kali, Systema, and those who study Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Modern Mixed Martial Arts. It is the classic argument about which is superior, combat or sport form martial arts.
I was recently asked by someone while we were talking about martial arts as to why if TWFM is so good, is it not being used in any MMA or UFC competitions. During our exchange, I demonstrated several weapons defense techniques, and the person I was talking to was an amateur MMA practitioner. He was polite and so was I. He seemed satisfied with what was shown but very skeptical of TWFM as he had never seen it or heard of it in MMA circles.
Naturally speaking, since I am a practitioner of a combat oriented system, I feel that it is better for me. I emphasize for ME. Ultimately, “nothing simulates a fight except a fight”. Thus, each person has to decide what scenarios are valid for them and gravitate to what works for them in the scenarios they are concerned about. This blog in short is about explaining why a system such as TWFM can refuse to compete in tournaments and UFC etc and still be completely legitimate if not more legitimate for real self-protection scenarios.
Often, those who are proponents of sport oriented martial arts will profess that only systems that compete in UFC are legitimate and all others are pretenders. I am a big believer in respect being the fundamental principle of being a warrior and so I refuse to take bait on this issue. However, I do recognize the success of the Gracie family in using their grappling methods in challenging and defeating many martial artists and of very deftly documenting their successes and publicizing their successes. Several overly ranked, often self proclaimed “Masters” of ultimate deadly martial arts being embarrassed by street fighters, mma fighters and BJJ practitioners has given sport styles the presumptive upper hand in the United States market of martial arts especially.
The need for grappling in any effective combat system is a principle that I wholly agree with. Those who are familiar with TWFM or who read a little about us will find the incorporation of everything that makes us more effective to be our core premise. The need for intense training is also something that has to be incorporated.
With all this said, I state my argument in the most direct terms, I do not profess to be one who would be dominant in MMA matches. In truth, it is a whole different environment than what my training is focused on. The combat environment that TWFM trains for is extremely fast in its unfolding, completely unscripted, and completely unrelenting. The sport environment is also extremely fast, but it is highly scripted by the boundaries of rules and it is relenting quite often during a “fight”. The rules are designed on purpose to match up similar body types in unarmed combat and to avoid all attacks to targets which tend to mitigate the differences between size and strength.
Having said this, I do however have great respect to the prowess of such athletes in MMA, and recognize that many of them can make the transition quite easily to street fighting, so long as they are introduced to the differences of unregulated combat encounters. I also enjoy watching MMA and enjoy it as a sport. It is essentially thai kick boxing combined with submission wrestling. Many of the athletes that participate in such contests are the very people that I would want to avoid fighting and are the reason that I am always armed in one capacity or another.
I am a family man, my reason for learning martial arts was to seek whatever advantage I could, should I find myself in an unavoidable combat encounter, fighting for my life and the life of my loved ones. In a fight where there truly are no rules, no predictability and no mercy.
Finishing my remarks, what I have said is also not original, many from the combat side of martial arts have said as much as I just have and often more eloquently, I just count this blog as one more reminder that the two worlds are very different and success in one does not guarantee success or failure in the other any more than success in business guarantees success or failure with one’s family relationships, etc. What follows is a clear explanation of the current fouls in MMA matches in the UFC and a couple video links that illustrate my points.
Best to all warriors out there,
both on the sport and combat side of martial arts.
Kyle Whiteley, TWFM Instructor
MMA Rules List
MMA Fouls Video:
(Mostly groin kicks-but it illustrates how quickly devastating attacks to the targets which are inherently vulnerable can put a person down and out. It shows why such attacks are illegal in competition and thus why they are primary in real combat conditions as they can change the game in an instant. It also illustrates a key different in sport fighting, which is that when you are hit in one of the critically vulnerable targets, the fight relents, which is the exact moment when a real fight suddenly turns one sided and you don’t want to be on the wrong side. Imagine if when the people in the following videos had been hurt and put their hands up seeking the referee to stop the fight, instead they had been given no time to recover but on the opposite, the enemy then sensed the blood in the water and went in for the kill. I mention all this because it is the reality of what you face in a real combative engagement)