Several years ago, as the sport of MMA gained in popularity, many cross trained martial artists severely discounted traditional systems and their effectiveness. That’s because in the early 1990s high ranking instructors in their respective disciplines entered the UFC and other “No Holds Barred” events as they were called at the time…and they did not do well. Some of these mystical martial arts masters even suffered humiliating defeats in the Octagon that are remembered to this day. After these televised butt kickings were seen by millions, a wake-up call went out through the martial arts community: traditional systems don’t work in real fights.
This belief became almost an axiom as MMA became popular. Fighters completely abandoned training in some martial styles and MMA focused around a few disciplines such as BJJ, wrestling, boxing and Muay Thai. These systems became the sport’s bread and butter, and all other pursuits were dismissed as useless.
But then something unexpected happened. Fighters with strong bases in traditional martial arts began to do well in the sport, and they used the techniques from these styles effectively in the cage. Lyoto Machida, George Saint Pierre and a few others relied on traditional arts, such as Karate and demonstrated how these systems could work if used correctly.
Now veteran fighter Vitor Belfort will attempt this same approach for his next fight against Anderson Silva at UFC 126. As Fighters Only Magazine tells us, Belfort is training with a Latin American Karate champion to develop a “specific strategy” of Karate to use against the Spider. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. As everyone knows, I love watching violence and Karate can get pretty violent – Sabaki Challenge, Shidokan, etc. Watching guys chop each other to death is highly entertaining. I’m hoping the Karate training Belfort uses will prevent this next fight from being a snoozefest like some of Anderson Silva's prior fights. UFC 126: I’m counting down the days until it begins.