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Paul_D's picture
What can MMA learn from TMA?

I would guess that most of us have some sort of rule in our licence which states that if we do anything to bring our club or our art into disrepute our membership will be cancelled.

MMA doesn’t seem to have anything like the same level of accountability though.  And I’m not just talking about the professional’s that generate millions for their organisations, I’m talking local amateurs too, although I’m not going to go into detail there.  Suffice to say if a TMA student did the same thing, they would be kicked out.

Neil Babbage
Neil Babbage's picture

The challenge is defining "disrepute" - it can be used as a way to eject anyone that you don't like out of an association or club, or can be so loosely defined that it never catches anyone. John Kreese would have kicked a student out for bring his club into disrepute by "showing mercy" in a fight; Kesuke Miyagi would have kicked his student out for the exact opposite reason. So in the end it's about the club owner / coach or the club membership and what they consider acceptable rather than what an outsider looking in thinks.

Jeb Chiles
Jeb Chiles's picture

I've kicked people out of MMA for: fighting illegally, conduct at fights, being abusive, etc... I expect them to show the same courtesy and respect as my TMA students. Many MMA instructors are very conscientious about their reputation and keep great discipline but a few bad apples can certainly cause problems for everyone.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

While we TMA types may like to believe that a martial “honour code” is something all seek to adhere to and the upper echelons universally enforce, an objective look at things shows us it’s far from the truth. I can think of many heads of group who did things that were extremely dishonourable including fraud, sexual assault, child abuse, bigamy, etc. The bottom line is people are people and martial arts practise (of all kinds) are not guarantees of good character.

I don’t think there is a stark MMA / TMA split when it comes to good character. There’s both in both.

What may mark the difference is the entertainment / business side of high level MMA where people tolerate, even encourage, “controversial” behaviour because it sells tickets. That may say something about us as a society, but I don’t think it says anything about the inherent nature of mixed marital arts and the characters of the rank and file practitioner.

I know loads of great people within the martial arts, but I’ve also seen enough poor behaviour to know that the claim traditional martial arts automatically build character is not one I’ve seen evidence for.

"Karate aims to build character, improve human behaviour, and cultivate modesty; it does not, however, guarantee it." – Yasuhiro Konishi

All the best,


J Coder
J Coder's picture

I see it as a karma thing. Karma will sort itself out. Your reputation will follow you. It doesn't matter whether your reputation is good or bad, either way, it will follow you. The karma thing takes time so you have to be patient. If you have a good reputation the word will get out and good things will happen.  If you have a bad reputation the word will get out and bad things will happen. It's kinda simplistic but I think that's how it happens.