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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury


There's a new student in class, and you're paired up with him.

You've been asked to show him some basics to get him going.  Within five minutes, he's frowning and shaking his head. "I've never seen that in the UFC, so it can't possibly work."

You work on something else, like a kick, and he says, "I've seen that kick thrown by Conor McGregor, so yeah, it's a good one!"

You're working on strike mechanics, and he says, "Yeah, but if I do that, I can get taken down to the mat for ground-and-pound, like I saw Ronda Rousey do that one time..."

Oh boy! You're working with UFC Fanboy!

UFC Fanboy judges everything by what he sees happening in professional mixed martial arts fights. If he hasn't seen it in the Octagon, than it can't possibly work.

The thing is, he's not exactly wrong in the approach of trying to judge what he's learning based on things actually done and tested under the pressure of professional mixed martial arts fights.  I can actually sympathize with that point of view, because honestly, so much of what we do in the martial arts is NOT pressure-tested much (partly due to necessity, partly due to just... because?).

So I'm sorta on UFC Fanboy's side here, you see.  I am a big believer in pressure testing as much as you possibly can.


UFC Fanboy's martial arts knowledge and mindset is usually ONLY relegated to what he sees in pro fights, and nothing else.

So, when you show him things you can't/shouldn't do in pro fights (for lots of reasons), he will dismiss it as unimportant OR deny that any situation arises where those things happen or are needed at all.

  • UFC Fanboy doesn't believe that people get ambushed (or really, that HE could get ambushed).

  • UFC Fanboy doesn't think that regular people could have a knife hidden on them for deployment when the fight gets close and personal.

  • UFC Fanboy doesn't understand that what works for young, top-flight athletes in peak physical condition may not be the best strategy for children, for regular people who aren't in shape, for the disabled, or even for middle-aged stubby chicks like yours truly. UFC Fanboy thinks one size fits all.

  • UFC Fanboy underestimates how devastating weapons of any kind - including improvised weapons - can be, especially in the hands of the untrained. He also dismisses the value of training against all sorts of weapons and tools because nobody walks around picking fights with a pair of, oh, sai in their hands.

  • UFC Fanboy doesn't believe that techniques not used in pro fights can ever work, despite the mountains of video evidence that it can and does from real life you may show him.

  • UFC doesn't understand that lots of pro MMA fighters started training (and continue training) in traditional, "useless" styles like karate and taekwondo.

UFC Fanboy has very, very narrow blinders on, and a specific worldview, and it's really hard for him to see the larger picture of what martial arts are, or can be.

UFC Fanboy probably doesn't understand why people like me train at all. I've had one say to me, "You should just get a gun!" in answer to some of the points I made above.

That, right there, is where UFC Fanboy loses me completely.

The martial arts world is just so much bigger than that, guys.

We train for more reasons than just "winning a fight". A "fight" is mutual combat, kids, and I am NOT going to get into one of those if I can possibly afford it!

Some of us train in the martial arts for health reasons: mental, physical, emotional. Take "kickboxing" fitness, some ways tai chi is taught, and heck, that's my main reason (i.e., I didn't want old age to suck).

Some of us train in the martial arts for performance and the arts, like XMA weapons or tv/movie/theater stunt work.

Some of us train because our jobs needs us to (security, police, EMTs, etc.) or for self defense reasons due to where we live or work.

Some of us train in the the martial arts for historical preservation purposes, like HEMA or cultural dances that have martial elements.

Some of us train for sports like mixed martial arts, and that'd include fencing, boxing, wrestling, judo,  etc. as well as MMA.

And some of us even train to fight "in the street" because that's the life they lead in the neighborhood they live in.

Most of that can't or shouldn't be done in pro fighting. Our martial arts world CAN'T fit into the Octagon alone.

So, have you trained with UFC Fanboy? Is it curable, do you think?  Or were YOU a UFC Fanboy? Tell us about it in the comments!

Use the "THAT GUY" category to find all of the THAT GUY posts on TSC!

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