As taekwondo is a sport that combines both upper body and lower body attacks, it has inevitably made its way into other sports with its influence. MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) are two of the most popular combat sports in the world right now, and with good reason! They’re fast, quick, technical, difficult and a whole host of other descriptions which require any competitor to be at the top of their game.
As taekwondo is one of the best martial arts for flexibility and agility, many MMA/UFC fighters have practised it at some stage during their lives. Of course, not all taekwondo is appropriate for these other variations as much of the higher kicks would give opponents the opportunity to catch you and take you down to the mat. However, many of the punches, kicks and roundhouses that can be performed from a standing position can and are useful to aspiring competitors.
Anderson Silva, Anthony Pettis and Mirko Cro-Cop have all had a taekwondo background from their fighting pasts, with many holding black belts to a decent dan level. Pettis, for instance, is 3rd dan, whereas Silva began his journey with martial arts when he was 14 by joining a taekwondo class!
This just goes to show that anyone who belittles the sport should think again, as it sets up the perfect framework for people to go on and learn more.
Although martial arts share some principles, there are huge differences to what competitors can and can’t do – and this would severely affect a person’s performance.
As we said before, becoming skilled in taekwondo doesn’t happen overnight, and it is an art that you will need to work on for many hours to get the hang of. Now imagine knowing a huge amount about a specific fighting style and then adapting it to another’s rules. In short, it would be very difficult for a complete taekwondo master to enter a MMA/UFC fight and dominate with no prior training.
As MMA/UFC are likely to become even more popular over the coming months and years, we expect more and more people to move away from taekwondo to other areas. However, our sport is rich in history and will never be forgotten by all those who practise it on a regular basis.
The best way to begin your fight journey is to experience as many different styles as possible, make your decision about which you want to continue, then get your head down and work hard.
If you stay positive and focussed on your goals, the achievements will be just around the corner for you to soak up. We hope that you enjoy taekwondo as much as we do, but even just going for that first session is good enough for us. You never know how good something is until you give it a try!