jamesf24 asked in SportsMartial Arts · 1 decade ago

Is the myth debunked? (UFC/MMA)?

We've been told for years that you cannot have karate, kung fu or taekwondo as your base art and succeed in cage fighting.

Has Lyoto Machida and Georges St.Pierre, who both have a karate base, debunked this myth?

Obviously, over the last 15 years, we all learned that groundfighting and grappling are important parts of martial arts and that they had been largely ignored, at least in North America.

With the cage largely being believed as the only real "proving ground" for a martial art, many martial arts have been written off as ineffective.

Obviously, Machida is also a black belt in Jiujitsu, and GSP has developed a vicious ground and pound game.

So what do you think, is the myth debunked, or is just Muay Thai and BJJ?



Excellent answers so far!

NWOHIO, that is probably my favorite answer ever from you! Looks like lots of people agree with all the thumbs up.

15 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    The myth was only started to conjur up public viewing support for the UFC. One thing that most people forget is that Karate, as a base art, is highly adaptable. Authentic Karate includes locks, chokes, grappling, throws, takedowns and defenses against all these. Over the years Karate became watered down and some of us old timers never joined that group and still teach it correctly. Machida's father and Sensei is one of the old timers group and he is definitely a strong teacher and fighter as is his son.

    The problem is that people began to believe that starting out to mix the arts was the best choice when in fact it actually hinders a person to apply them correctly because they have no strong foundation in any one art but rather are a mutt or mixture. Machida is a strong Karate Ka as well as has adapted his fighting skills to use them in MMA. What people need to notice is that Machida uses the proper strategy from Karate which is defensive. He rarely attacks unless an opening for a good strike is available yet he uses his skills to defend the attacks and take downs. That is part of the true essence of authentic Karate but few people have had the luxury of learning it since they wanted to fast track the belt system just to claim they are a black belt.

    If anyone wants to be a great martial artist as well as a good fighter they must master a base system first then add to it. Anything else is redundant and will cause confusion, loss of ability and no true understanding of martial arts. Machida has this and he is a master at it...so is Liddel and St. Pierre but Machida is definitely better trained than they are.

    The funniest part is if you know Shotokan Karate and watch Machida closely he actually uses some skills from the Kata he learned as well such as balance, timing and placement not to mention the Bunkai from them so I guess this dispells the myth that Kata is useless as well.

  • 1 decade ago

    I never really thought there was a myth, but if so, it has definitely been debunked.

    The "myth" started with the early days of UFC, before it was bought, run, and revamped by Zuffa. Those days had inexperienced fighters who knew only one martial art and nothing else. Guys like Kevin Rosier, Gerard Gordeau, Zane Frazier, Minoki Ichihara, Jason Delucia, and others were billed as karate and kung fu masters. First, they weren't as great as they were billed. Second, they knew ONLY karate or kung fu. Royce Gracie was able to defeat them easily because they knew nothing of a ground game.

    After a few UFC events, people started learning that they needed more than just one martial art to truly compete. Guys with hybrid styles became the best fighters. Chuck Liddell debuted at UFC 17 with one of the first hybrid styles of wrestling and Kempo karate. He used his wrestling to avoid the ground game and his karate to out strike his opponents.

    "The Iceman" was the first fighter I know to have a karate base and fight successfully. Georges St. Pierre is another karate-wrestling hybrid fighter, but he uses his wrestling much more than he does his Kyokushin karate background. Lyoto Machida is special because he is the first fighter to use karate as his primary fighting style, and he dominates with it. Still, however, he has a submission arsenal from a black belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu.

    So yes, the "myth" is, if not already was, debunked. The karate base, with supplemental martial arts, was popular for a long time. Machida, however, has revitalized karate by using it as his primary martial art.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes and no.

    The thing is, that Lyoto is not your average karateka, he is exceedingly good due to many years of hard training. He is also very proficient at sumo wrestling (that's how he's able to take down people almost at will) and Brazilian jiu-jitsu (black belt). Also, the way Karate is taught in South America is different (this I know from studying almost 4 years of Ryobu-kai karate in South America), it's alot harder, bruises, black eyes, and so are common during kumite training.

    Kyokushin karate is a hard style, having this as a base for striking is very good (as long as you learn to protect punches to the face, since that is the only drawback of kyokushin) , GSP is also not your average athlete, he is at a different level, if he had dedicated to say.... kickboxing, he would dominate k-1 competitions and the like.

    Once again, it's up to the school, and the practitioner, this is always the case, as long as your school does sparring against full-resisting opponents, you have a good teacher, and you are very dedicated, you could have a good base that is not only muay thai/brazilian jijutsu that MMA fighters commonly use.

    Source(s): my brain ;)
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I would say they are rumored ineffective not because of the art but because of how they are usually trained.

    Punching the air for 10 mins will not help.

    Gsp did kyokushin which is respected in full contact martial arts circles and machida trains more like a kick boxer than a typical karateka.

    Also i think the learning curve for karate,tkd and kung fu is much steeper than say muay thai/boxing.

    Not saying boxing isn't complex i've boxed for a few years and can still learn more techniques.

    But kung fu seems to take decades to become Truly proficient.

    That's just my 2cents

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  • JSatt
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    A pure karate fighter would be at a disadvantage in an MMA fight. While Machida has been training karate since he was three, he is also a BJJ balck belt and trains in Muay Thai as well. He has also learned how to wrestle as well. Same with GSP. He is an excellent wrestler, and this allows him to dictate where the fight takes place.

    Successful fighters are more than one trick ponies. They may have one element of fighting that there are best at, but they are good at other things as well.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's a little more complicated than that.

    Sure, you CAN have Karate, Kung Fu, or Tae Kwondo as your base art and succeed in cage fighting, but it doesn't mean you will succeed if you have Karate, Kung Fu, or Tae Kwondo as your base art.

    The words "Karate", "Kung Fu", and "Tae Kwondo" are just labels that attempt to describe fighting systems. And in reality, the same "system" used by one group of people may or may not be equivalent in terms of technique and training philosophy to that of another group. This makes it quite difficult to define these labels with considerable precision. How can there be such a myth if a subject of the myth cannot be defined.

    The most important factor that determines success in MMA (or anything for that matter) is training. Training of techniques rather than training of "styles", that is. Again, How can there be such a myth if "style" is not a determinant of success.

    Such a myth does not even make sense.

  • 1 decade ago

    I agree with you as it being a myth. No it hasn't been debunked. There will always be those that make unfounded comments like that. Ignorant people will say ignorant things. Am i calling them ignorant? No. Ignorant simply means lack of knowledge. Too many people repeat what they have heard.

    The cage is not the real proving ground. There are many things that can and will be done if you are attacked on the street or in a club that you simple can't do in the cage. The cage limits you as a fighter. The cage needs rules. The only rule in self defense is to survive.

    There are reports in the newpaper everyday of how someone survived an attack using karate, tkd, and aikido. If they weren't effective they would teach them or portions of them in the police department and military.

    Source(s): Martial Arts since 1982 Black Belt in Shorin Ryu Black Belt in Jujitsu Brown Belt in Judo
  • 1 decade ago


    The myth was never valid. Most of us who have been around a while understand that you need to be trained for all eventualities. If you get taken down and can not defend yourself there than what is the point. Of course you do everything in your power not to go down. Traditional arts that I was taught and that I try to teach uses this philosophy. You can't call yourself a good teacher if you do not understand this.

    The problem is that many believe that sport and self defense are equivalent: They are not! The goals are very different. The confusion rests in the similarities. In a sport you try to prevail. In self defense you must prevail. The difference is in the imperative and the means. Some of what we teach can not be used in the sport venue.

    Source(s): Martial arts instructor, personal trainer
  • 1 decade ago

    Machida has brought Karate to the fore front of the MMA world and now people are starting to see how affective it can be as a base Martial Art. The most important attribute he took away from karate is the discipline and focus part of it. Those are the essential most important parts that i believe made him a champion.

  • 1 decade ago

    what's being said is that karate, kung fu, TKD or other traditional arts alone cannot be effective in cage fighting. and that is true, if your only a karate fighter, or only a kung fu fighter you'll get destroyed, it's all about how you can combine your style into the other styles to create your own effective style. karate, kung fu, tkd and the other traditional arts are all great in their own right, but you need to train in other styles to have a compete effective system. lyoto machida is one of the few people who took his style of karate and evolved it into mma, GSP as well, and a few others, but that's not their only style. and if it was they wouldn't be where they are today.

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