MMA/Cage Fighting

I’ve trained almost my entire life to compete in MMA some day (if you don’t know what MMA is, I suggest you search, ‘UFC Highlights’ on Youtube), but now I’m beginning to wonder if I can compete, while still maintaining a nice, Christian life.

The sport itself is like boxing, but with wrestling, submission holds, kicks, knees, and elbows thrown in.

As long as you’re not doing it out of anger, or hate for your opponent, is it ok?

Thank you :slight_smile:

No different than boxing or wrestling IMHO. Once my back heals up I want to start Brazilian Jujitsu training.

It is just a sport - a sport that requires great skill, from what I have seen. My sons watch cage fighting. One of my son’s friends is also training to be a fighter.

Thanks for the helpful answers guys. I agree with both of you.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is actually my primary art, so if you have any questions or ever need any tips or walkthroughs feel free to PM me!

Thanks again guys,
God bless :slight_smile:

I’d say you’re good to go. You’re right that this type of sport runs a greater risk of allowing your actions to be motivated by a sense of anger or hate and so you might have to work harder at making sure you keep your head on straight and ensure that doesn’t happen. But the fact that you’ve already acknowledged that danger I think indicates that you’re prepared to handle it.

The only concern you may want to meditate on is the nature of the presentation. I.E. as the sport progresses, if the presentation becomes more corrupted and immoralized or sexualized (and I’m referring to girls holding signs, the type of commercial advertisement support and the general theme of the sport in its entertainment aspect) then you may need to reconsider whether or not it is a field to which you want to contribute at all.

Other than that, a sport is a sport is a sport…

MMA is based on the base skills of boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).

Boxing has a long tradition as a Catholic endeavor. (I learned to box in the old Catholic Youth Organization amateur boxing program, and my coach was our parish priest.) The succeeding waves of Catholic immigrants to America (Irish, Italian, Mexican, Filipino, etc.) traditionally had a lively interest in the sport. Catholic colleges have traditionally fielded strong boxing and wrestling teams. As a sport, if done with due concern for your opponent’s safety and with good sportsmanship, there is no problem with it for a Catholic. If anything, MMA is safer than boxing as one can tap out if at risk of injury, whereas a boxer usually cannot quit in the middle of a match. The MMAist’s ability to change level and shoot in for a takedown also makes the sport safer, as one can change the fight to grappling if one is soaking up too many punches or kicks.

BJJ is also a great and fun sport (I’ve been doing it since 1996, off and on), which originated in the largely Catholic country of Brazil (most Brazilian teachers I know are Catholic). It lacks the mysticism of many Asian martial arts, and is based on scientific principles of balance, leverage, and technique. Its philosophy is based on the traditional western sports principles of hard work, conditioning, respect for your opponent, and sportsmanship, not badly recycled Shintoism or Buddhism. As a sport that favors grappling, it allows for someone who is attacked to defend himself with a minimum of damage to the opponent by taking him to the ground and controlling him with a legally (and morally) defensible use of force by pinning, controlling, or applying a submission hold. I think BJJ is much better for children to learn than, say, Tae Kwon Do, as the zero-tolerance policies in schoolyards will punish a child severely for striking back against a bully by punching or kicking him, whereas with BJJ a child can take a larger bully down, obtain a superior position on the ground where he can control the bully and avoid injury, and wait for a teacher to separate them.

It’s likely than St. Paul was trained as an MMAist, by the way. Although Jewish, he was sent to a Roman gymnasia by his dad, where the usual course of scholastic instruction included wrestling, pugilism, and the pankration, the Greek “all powers” style of MMA. Paul scatters sports metaphors throughout his epistles (especially foot-racing), and seemed to take some pride in his athleticism. The Corinthians were fond of the Isthmian games (which included Pankration), and like any good preacher, Paul used home team sports metaphors when addressing his flock. He seemed to refer to the shadow-boxing of boxers when he said, “I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave” (1 Corinthians 9:26)."

MMA and martial arts (Jujitsu, BJJ etc) are all completely compatible with being a good Catholic, male or female. :slight_smile:

Definately a sport. I hope you know or you may find out that being angry will have a negative effect on your performance.

My wife and I are big UFC fans.

I wish you the best in your pursuit.

I just don’t think something is a sport if the goal is to physically injure your opponents body. There are plenty of sports where this is not the goal. I think football and boxing and all forms of MMA are degenerate. Injuring other people should not be considered a fun form of entertainment. If you want to train to defend yourself against people who intend you harm, that is fine, but don’t make a sport out of it. You don’t have to intend to brutalize another person’s body. There are forms of martial arts competitions where you are not supposed to hit with a lot of force, you are merely supposed to make light contact to receive a point. This is more tolerable but I honestly don’t think something like this should be made into competitions. Amateur wrestling is even more tolerable. That is just a test of strength.

If you want to be a genuine Christian, you should respect other people’s bodies. To go into a ring with the intention of damaging your opponent’s body to win a competition is disrespectful of your own and other people’s bodies. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but really I don’t think this stuff is any good. I don’t think MMA or any competition where you can win by physically damaging your opponents body is a sport. It is actually a form of Roman colliseum bread and circuses gladiator games.

I love martial arts. I’ve been training for nearly 14 years. My primary art is karate and I train judo as a supplement to that. I used to compete and went to Nationals and Jr. Olympics for karate when I was younger. I trained in a full-contact style for a bit and taught it as well, but never ended up competing in that style.

I’ll probably stir the pot here with this, but as much as I like BJJ (I’ve trained in it a little also), it is kosen judo with a different name.

Our town has an MMA studio (I used to teach yoga for them and take Muay Thai). They also run a church out of the dojo. They’re pretty conservative. They’re Protestant, but they are pretty hardcore when it comes to Christianity.

I would have to agree with Joshrp on this one.

The answer regarding the legitimacy of MMA is I find pretty simple when you look at the sport: people paying to watch 2 people fight each other into submission. This does not sound like something that a child would look at and find it “good”, as we are called to be like children.

There are other things that people do, willingly, for money, such as porn… consenting adults participating in sex for the viewer. Many of the arguments used by Christians and Catholics to legitimize their sport of MMA are similar to the ones of non Christians legitimizing pornography: We have 2 consenting adults, it is sanctioned by law, it is over viewed by doctors, so what’s wrong with it? Especially for the viewer, it believe watching MMA is a type of “porn violence” where there is some satisfaction in watching one man pound into submission the other.

It does not matter how much “technique” or “skill” is involved either. These are arguments that I find are used to cover up what is really going on during the fight. Similarly, there is much technical prowess and cinematographic expertise in some gory violent movies such as Saw, or again pornography - but that does not make it right.

I have watched several matches of MMA, and frankly at first I found it intriguing. However, over time it made me uncomfortable, and I really questioned why I was just siting there, watching this in front of me - 2 men beating at each other. It was not a question of taste, but a question of conscience. The other Christian guys I was with would sometimes turn away from the screen as well, others would not. They would say that at first it was rougher to watch for them as well, but there was something exciting and gripping in the sport, not to mention the technique. Proudly they were sharing that now they are able to watch it, and really pick apart the moves, and the strategy involved. Then and there it was clear to me that I did not want to become another fan of something that I needed to “get used to” or curb my initial reaction of self-protection, honoring human dignity and ultimately loving the fighter in not participating in watching the match.

I have sadly found that when speaking with Christians who trivialize the practice, encouragement and marketing of MMA is that they are so convinced that there is nothing objectionable about it, it makes me wonder how the seed of non-violence that Christ has taught us, and wishes us to practice has really taken root? What eyes are we looking at the sport with? One can rationalize anything. But we are not debtors - we are followers of Jesus.

I’ve seen that argued for years on BJJ/Judo/MMA sites…:rolleyes:

I’ve done both judo and BJJ, the bottom line is that there are only a limited number of ways to move the human body, or produce torque on a joint. The inventiveness and openness to innovation has made modern BJJ a much more complex style than Kosen Judo (which is essentially university Kodokan Judo with an emphasis on newaza, and which tended to be much more codified than BJJ). It’s a little ironic that it arose out of the Japanese university system, as newaza traditionally is something old judoka (like me) specialized in, as the effects of years of hitting the mat messes up your knees and newaza is a lot less punishing. Personally, I think the huge range of techniques developed for tournament BJJ has made it fun to watch but works to the detriment of BJJ as a self-defense style. Maybe I just can’t remember so many techniques, and so many forms of Guard, as I get older. Increasingly, I like the streamlined, but very sophisticated, combatives methodology that Ryron and Rener Gracie are doing - back to basics, like BJJ was taught back in the 1980s, and a lot like Kosen probably was.

It’s all good, though. What style of karate do you practice?

Very interesting. Do you have a link or the name of a book where I can read more about St. Paul and his pankration training?

OP, ignore posts such as these.

Shindo Jinen Ryu is my karate style, which I’m actually not training at the moment. I’ve switched to BJJ since the instruction at my gym tends to be better than the instruction at the judo club I was training at (plus the 35-40 minute drive was wearing on me as opposed to 5 minutes to BJJ). Should be up for my blue at our next belt promotion, hopefully.

The kosen judo thing was kind of a joke :wink: Judo, BJJ, sambo, catch wrestling, collar and elbow wrestling (a little known Irish form) are all pretty close to the same. In my area, BJJ is the most popular and the usually the easiest to find good instruction.

I trained a little bit in Sambo with a Bulgarian national champion. Those guys trained HARD! They didn’t want you to tap until the ligaments were already tearing.

I think George Washington was a champion in a collar and elbow form of wrestling, too. Different forms of jacket wrestling were probably a lot more common in the old days as men didn’t wrestle without their shirts on. There’s a style of Icelandic wrestling (Glima? something like that) where you can only grab their belt to throw them, I think.

Bulgarians are crazy with their training for everything :smiley: Have you taken a look at their Olympic lifting team’s program? Although, they did get into trouble for doping, though, since that whole style of training is basically based around being on steroids.

I hadn’t heard that about George Washington…that’s pretty neat. I know Theodore Roosevelt was a judo brown belt (just saw he was actually the first American brown belt) and I just read he used to spar boxing with John Sullivan.

Yep, if you read his letters to his children, he talks a lot about training and about setting up MMA bouts between wrestlers and boxers and judoka in the White House. The loss of one of those bouts by a judoka/jiujitsu (the terms were still used interchangeably then) to a wrestler led to one of his students barnstorming around the world as a prizefighter to regain the art’s honor, and winding up in Brazil where he taught the Gracies…so TR was more or less responsible for the creation of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. He also liked full-contact stick fighting, like the Dog Brothers do, and used to practice with General Leonard Woods.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit