Potential crappling article from a KF mag
This article came in my Nov/Dec 2004 issue of Kung-Fu/Tai Chi Magazine. I submit it to you as a nominee for crappling.
MMA and the Future of Kung Fu - Antonio Graceffo
The story is well documented. There was a time when kung fu was the only martial art in China - arguably, the only martial art in the world. Like a living, breathing thing, kung fu made its way across Asia. Over a period of thousands of years, kung fu underwent a metamorphosis, transforming into different arts in each of the countries it reached. In Japan, there was karate. Korea had Tae Kwon Do. Even the ancient martial arts of the Khmer people of Cambodia could be traced back to Chinese kung fu origins.
Until about fifteen years ago martial arts were still divided into clearly defined styles. When the First Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was held, the purpose was to answer the age-old question "Which style is best?" No one knew on that fateful day that UFC would give birth to a new phenomenon, called Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), or that MMA would itsself become the style of the future. a fighter no longer felt complete unless he had a list of black belts and specialties, usually including both striking and grappling styles of martial arts.
Today after more than a decade of MMA on TV, Pay Per View, and DVD, arguably the winning combination - chosen by the majority of MMA practioners the world over - is Muay Thai plus Brazilian Jiu Justu (BJJ).
So, the question posed by the Chinese Martial arts community is, where does that leave kung fu? Or, perhaps the more accurate question would be, what place can kung fu hold in a world dominated by MMA
Since MMA has developed during the information revolution, it is one of the most well documented and easily studied movements in martial arts history. there are numerous websites giving nearly unlimited lists of valuable information and statisticts. Reading through the profiles of the hundreds of fighters who ever stepped into an MMA ring, one finds that Jason DeLucia is one of the only fighters to list kung-fu as his specialty. Less than five other fighters listed Jeet Kun Do. No one has ever listed San Da, Tai Chi, or Tui Shou.
On the surface, it would seem that kung fu is finished. Most MMA competitors would probably laugh if a fighter stepping into the ring professed to be a kung fu practitioner. A Tai Chi practitioner would probably be booed off the stage. but this would be shortsighted behavior. and these snap judgments, these prejudices against kung fu, may be one of the greatest advantages a kung fu practitioner has in an MMA event.
Although none of the top fighters has ever listed kung fu as their base, almost half have listed some form of kickboxing. San Da is both kung fu and kickboxing. There is no reason why San Da could not be the base of an MMA fighter's arsenal of weapons. It would, however, be advisable to make a few modifications to the style, to make it fit into an MMA venue.
San Da's Growing Influence
In both Hong Kong and Beijing, the MMA community is mostly composed of Westerners who have a background in Muay Thai and BJJ. Taiwan is probably the only place in the world where San Da is already being used as a base for MMA fighters. This is because Muay thai is almost unknown on the island, and the inhabitants have a long tradition of Chinese kung fu. In a recent competition in Taipei, San Da fighters, with little or no gorund training, won 50% of their fights (these fight had a ten-second ground rule.)
San Da has low kicks, similar to Muay Thai. It is has punches, similar to western boxing. It uses knees strikes. And it employs throws. There is almost nothing that a kickboxer or Muay Thai fighter could do in an MMA ring that a San Da fighter couldn't also do. It would be advisable, however, for a San Da practitioner to consider modifying his kicking technique, such as to throw the kick with with the shin. The shin is much harder than the top of the foot - and the opponent will most likely be throwing shin kicks.
San Da actually has a few advantages over Muay Thai, the main one being the sidekick. In the early days of MMA, the only kick deemed effective were roundhouse kicks. but in the most recent MMA competitions, the sidekick has played a more prominent role. Also, Japanese fighters such as Sakaraba have been using jump kicks and jump knees. Kung Fu has a flying sidekick which would be a real surprise to an unsuspecting opponent.
Additionally, the San Da fighter should practice throwing the sidekick at his opponent's base lef when the opponent is kicking. With the power that a good kung fu kick has, the base leg would buckle or break instantly.
A Need for Clinch Training
Although chinese arts will probably never replace BJJ or Western wrestling as the ground-fighting style of choice, Chinese arts could be used for grappling while the opponnt is still on his feet. The weakness of San Da in standing competition would be the lack of training in the clinch. Here, the Chinese arts of Ziyou Boji (free fighting) or Boji (wrestling), or Shuai Jiao (wrestling) would be of tremendous value.
San Da fighters will want to purchase clinch videos and practice grabbing the opponent's neck and head. Training partners will want to hang on each other's neck, or even do neck raises with heavy weights (obviously you should consult a doctor before and durig any training regimen, and ALWAYS take care training the neck as the vertebrae are very delicate)
San Da fighters should also practice kneeing in the clinch. This can be accomplished by hanging on a heavy bag and hitting it with series after series of knees. training partners can also clinch and practice kneeing one another.
Muay Thai fighters in the clinch will wait till their opponent throws a knee strike, then seize the opportunity shifting their weight just slightly to throw the opponent. This is where a second kung fu derivative could come into play. A Tui Shou practitioner is trained to feel the slight changes in his opponent's balance and exploit them. One who is well schooled in Tui Shou can close his eyes while fighting, and still win. The trick is to feel, not see. As your head will be looking over your opponent's shoulder, you will not be able to see those knees coming up from underneath. Tui Shou would be an advantage even over Muay Thai in this situation.
The best way to avoid getting hurt in the clinch is to avoid getting grabbed. In Thailand, a Tui Shou practitioner challenged a number of boxers to grab his head and throw him. Each time the reached at him, he simply redirected their force and threw them to the ground. He kept this up for half an hour, until all of his opponents were exhausted.
An overlooked Bounty of Strikes
The current rules of UFC no longer allow blows with the point of the elbow. This ban was a disadvantage for Muay Thai fighters, but an advantage for Kung fu practitioners, as kung fu has so many different types of strikes to offer. Nearly all kung fu people, no matter what style, started out by doing forms. Beginning students often see these forms as a chore, a drudgery that they must overcome. but the wise student who analyzes a kung fu form will realize that a single form can be an entire fighting system. the movements are so many and so varied that kung fu should be the most complete fighting style in the world. In a single form you may have strike with the palm, the ox jaw, the knife edge, the back fist, the joint of the side of the wrist just below the thumb, or the forearm, not to mention a variety of strikes with one finger extended, two fingers extended, wedge hands, the mid knuckles of the fingers, and on and on
Students go through the motions, but they don't expect to ever use these techniques in a fight. So, when they fight, the techniques go unused. This is a weakness of students, not styles. In theory, a finger spear to a vital organ should end a fight even against the biggest competitor. An ox jaw (the bulbous, bony prominence at the top of the radius and ulna) is much harder than a fist, and is much more likely to cause a knockout when it impacts the opponent's temple.
If every fighter studies Muay Thai and BJJ, the fighters all become predictable. Intelligent fighters, like Sakuraba or Frank Shamrock are constantly looking for new techniques. What they are finding are the old techniques - the ones the world has forgotten. Fights are now being won by a chop to the head. When a fighter is lying in the guard, he uses the double palm strike to the ears. He uses chops to the clavicles. Fights are being won on spinning back fists. Fighters have discovered that they can't punch a fighter in the head for fear of breaking their own fist. So they have begun using the hammer blow.
Let there be Kung Fu
Every one of these "new" techniques is an ancient part of kung fu. the original question was, could kung fu be used in MMA? The answer is, it is already being used in MMA. The only question now is, why aren't kung fu practioners using it? The techniques are there. The venues are establishes. Now all that is required is for some brave soul to step into the octagon and shout, "My style is kung fu." If this would happen even once, it would force the martial arts world to realize just how effective kung fu is. and it would probably create some converts.
So that is the article. I have give you the gas and the timber. You supply the fire...
Seems fine for the most part. San Da can obviously be used as a base for an MMA fighter. Add some groundfighting and maybe a sprawl (I don't think you can shoot in San Da but I could be wrong) and you should be set.
There was a some nonsense in the article. Advocating a flying sidekick: doing something because Saku does it is straight up insane. Dude does all kinds of dumb **** on purpose for the entertainment value. I dont think finger jabs to vital organs are gonna end too many MMA fights. And nobody that I know of is switching to hammer fists because their fists are breaking (they have gloves). I also don't think Tui Shou (push hands) is gonna automatically be a super counter for the Thai clinch (although I'm sure it could help) but it is Kung Fu Magazine. A little nonsense and nut riding is to be expected.
I like to rag on Cung Le but I expect him to have a very nice MMA career (with maybe a few too many cans fought). There are fighters in smaller organizations using San Da in MMA with success. As MMA expands to China we should see even more. That's one goddamn huge (and male heavy) country and it will produce fighters. Many already train for San Da so they will use it as a base.
The problem I had with it (aside from what you mentioned in your second paragraph), was it seemed to be you can use Kung-fu, just adapt to how Muay Thai people do it by doing shin kicks, learn how to clinch, etc etc etc. You might as well study Muay Thai. In the MMA matches I have seen, I have *rarely* seen a side kick thrown with effectiveness. Not to mention I didn't see any advice about kung fu's response to ground fighting/grappling other than "avoid the clinch". To me this article really didn't tell me anything.
Originally Posted by Meager
You don't see too many guys throw side kicks because alot of them come from Muay Thai backgrounds and don't use sidekicks. San Da guys can make sidekicks work in an MMA environemnt. And in some ways they may be better prepared for MMA than if they had just trained MT because they already have stand up grappling/takedown training. Like I said, add in some groundfighting and you're golden.
I could see San Da being a good base for MMA. Its supplies kickboxing with takedowns. They just better spar in an alive manner and with other guys in order to sharpen their skills. That part doesnt seem to be a problem though. As for the ground, they better learn wrestling or BJJ. Lots of people have done similar things though.
God damn it, I hate this kind of blatant bullshit.
The only thing I didn't like in the article is that by having San Da competitors enter MMA it somehow makes doing Kung Fu OK. I know Kung Fu practitioners and yea they can fight but only because they train in some San Da type stuff. They do forms and crap alll day but on Friday nights they usually spar. Only problem is they don't use any of thier Kung Fu technique. Its just kickboxing but not as good.
I've posted this before, but I'll say it again. james Fanshier is a stablemate of Cung Le and a San Da/San Shou practioner. He is a former KOTC welterweight champ and is currently in the KOTC top 5 at Welterweight. San Da is no where near as popular as Muay Thai in the USA, which is sad cause there's so many Kung Fu schools in the US.
I wish it was a requirement for every Kung Fu school to have a decent San Da/Shou program. Then you would see alot more Kung Fu in MMA. I think the sidekick will be good in MMA , especially considering currently doing MMA has really seen it before.
Really? I beg to differ.
Originally Posted by The Villain
Spearhands? Flying sidekicks? Touchy-feely sensitive hands?
Sorry but I don't think you would see alot more Kung Fun in MMA. You would see alot of San Da guys in MMA. This kinda reminds me of what Matt Thornton said in the Iceland vid. "Sure you can take JJJ and practice it in an alive manner, but then it would look alot similar to BJJ wouldn't it?" I think the same is true here. You are not going to see guys in horse stance, cat stance or any long fist styles.
Originally Posted by QuickJab
San Da seems like it took all of the moves that could be safley applied in sparring. Then did just that. It just looks nothing like Kung Fu at all.
Like I said people will credit their Kung Fu school but realy using their San Da sparring. Time would be much better spent practicing San Da and forgetting all the Kung Fu nonsense.