Bruce Lee Is NOT the “Father of MMA”

Back in 2004, UFC president Dana White manufactured a remark that still has individuals speaking. He mentioned that the late Bruce Lee is the “Father of MMA”. In this post, I will state the factors why I disagree with this statement and will also give my views as to the accurate “Father of MMA”.

“Actually, the father of blended martial arts, if you will, was Bruce Lee. If you glimpse at the way Bruce Lee educated, the way he fought, and many of the factors he wrote, he stated the perfect design and style was no model. You choose a minimal some thing from almost everything. You acquire the very good items from every various willpower, use what will work, and you throw the rest away.” (1) Dana White, 2004

1st let us glance at some of the causes offered FOR Bruce Lee being specified the title of “Father of MMA”.

  • He considered you need to totally free your self from the trappings of any solitary martial arts style.
  • He believed you should be a entire fighter.
  • According to his daughter, Shannon, he was the first to say that the ideal style is “no type”. (2)
  • His coaching mirrored the above though he was nevertheless alive.

These are convincing points. And I have to say that I experienced to re-believe my position after digging deeper into this report.

In advance of we go any additional, we need to have to clarify some of the terms that we are working with in this article. While the pursuing could not be official definitions, I consider they will provide us for this assessment.

MMA- “Mixed Martial Arts”

This expression has come to mean the more common sport that we get pleasure from now. This would include things like these types of organizations as the UFC “Ultimate Combating Championship”, WEC “Globe Serious Cagefighting” (now engulfed in the UFC), Bodog Fight (now defunct), Bellator Fighting, and so on.

Although the expression can imply nearly anything, its common indicating is additional to the unified guidelines that are observed by most of the condition athletic commissions.

NHB- “No Holds Barred”

This time period is virtually synonymous with “MMA”, despite the fact that it could be regarded as a far more extreme version with less guidelines.

Vale Tudo

This expression is additional well-liked in Brazil exactly where the Gracie relatives cast its battling process. It suggests “nearly anything goes”, but generally still has principles.

Applying the phrase “MMA” with the previously mentioned definition, Dana White helps make a powerful argument.

If you feel about this in phrases of “types”, then the modern day-working day MMA fighter is far more closely linked to what Bruce Lee explained and practiced than to the solitary model artists from the past. Just look at the early UFC’s this sort of as I, II, & III. Those people ended up the “excellent ole” times of design vs. design and style and additional akin to the definitions of “NHB” or “Vale Tudo” than to MMA.

The MMA fighters of now have to be additional “entire”. They may perhaps not be masters of each aspect of the struggle activity, but they need to be able to cope with themselves in all ranges.

I feel a best illustration of this is somebody like Georges Ste. Pierre (GSP). Georges started off out in Kyokushin karate.(3) But glance at him now. He is a person of the most nicely-rounded fighters in MMA nowadays. You would be tricky pressed to come across a weak spot in his sport. And if he does run up versus another person far better than him in a certain spot, he variations his gameplan so that this location is hard to exploit.

There is proof that Bruce Lee adopted a similar path in his very own education. In its place of trying to defeat a person at their individual activity, he would test to exploit the weaknesses of a specific tactic, assault, or person fashion.

Wow! Really convincing so much, proper?

Now let us look at some good reasons From Bruce Lee currently being specified this title.

  • Bruce Lee was not the 1st individual to cross-teach in martial arts.
  • Jeet Kune Do is not a activity and Bruce Lee was by no means in favor of developing a new sport.
  • Bruce Lee in no way competed. (Other than for a single boxing match in his younger years.)
  • There is not one particular shred of proof that Bruce Lee or JKD influenced modern-day MMA in any way.
  • MMA would have took place no matter of Bruce Lee.

All you have to have to do is look at the Greek martial artwork of Pankration to see that cross-education has been with us for a very extended time. Initial released into the Greek Olympic Video games in 648 BC, this artwork bundled strikes, joint locks, and grappling techniques.(4)

Yet another curious stage is that Bruce Lee failed to advocate activity combating. If he failed to compete or prepare to compete, how could he be the father of a sport?

Sure, he did coach some sport competition fighters of his day these kinds of as Joe Lewis, Chuck Norris, and Mike Stone. But these fellas were being previously activity fighters. So this would feel to be a null point.

I have not found a solitary shred of proof that Bruce Lee or JKD has influenced fashionable-day MMA in any way at all. Yes, there are occasional fighters that have experienced in JKD, or shell out homage to Bruce Lee. But I’m prepared to guess that there are hundreds of MMA fighters out there that do not even know who Bruce Lee was or know everything at all in regards to his teaching, philosophy, and so on.

Although there is evidence that JKD Ideas ended up coaching in a similar manner to MMA, there won’t feel to be a lot help that they basically motivated any of the major fighters or schooling camps of these days. (Of class there are always exceptions. I’m chatting about an overall influence to the activity of MMA.)

But the most vital question is this…

“Would MMA have occurred with out Bruce Lee?”

My remedy to this is a resounding “Of course!”

Helio Gracie as “Father of MMA”.

In my viewpoint, the moniker “Father of MMA” is more correctly bestowed upon the late Helio Gracie. In this article are some of the motives I really feel this way.

  • Helio was taking on all-comers as far again as 1931.(5)
  • He passed on this custom of the “challenge match” to his sons.
  • The UFC was originally commenced by his son, Rorion, to go on this custom and provide it to the United states.
  • If it have been not for Helio, the UFC and the activity of MMA may possibly never ever have been.

Now I recognize that Helio’s aim was to display the superiority of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. And in this, it goes versus the “mixed” part of MMA.

But the inescapable fact to this is that if it ended up not for Helio, the UFC would almost certainly never ever have appear to mild. In the starting it was an exhibition to showcase the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu design and style. But it has grown to be extra than that now.

As a dad or mum, you want your boy or girl to exceed your capabilities. The UFC “youngster” has carried out this in abundance.

From creating this posting, I have arrive to enjoy the watch of naming Bruce Lee the “Father of MMA”. I can see some valid arguments to this issue.

But I maintain that Helio Gracie is a extra proper selection.

Immediately after reviewing all the points both equally for and in opposition to, I believe that it boils down to this question:

“Would the sport of MMA be where it is currently without Bruce Lee?”

And then ask this dilemma:

“Would the activity of MMA be where by it is currently without having Helio Gracie?”

Respond to these thoughts actually.

Believe that me, I want to give Bruce Lee all the credit score in the entire world and all the publicity he justifies. But I cannot give him credit score in this instance. I would love to say, “Bruce Lee IS the Father of MMA”! But I won’t be able to do that with very good conscience.

Bruce Lee is deserving of so considerably praise and recognition for the numerous items he did and has provided us. If it were not for him, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into martial arts, as I’m guaranteed a lot of of you can relate.

But let’s give him credit score wherever the credit history is because of. I just experience it can be a alternatively big stretch to give him the title of “Father of MMA”. Sorry Dana!

Kip Brockett

(c) 2011 Kip Brockett All Legal rights Reserved

1 Wickert, Marc. 2004. Dana White and the foreseeable future of UFC.

2 Lee, Shannon. 2010. Bruce Lee: Father of MMA?

3 Pollard, Edward. 2006. Exclusive Interview with Georges St. Pierre.

4 Wikipedia. Pankration.

5 Gracie Academy. A Tradition of Excellence.